Vija Celmins' Burning Plane valued at $1.2m ahead of contemporary art sale

Vija Celmins' Burning Plane (1965) is the headline lot of a sale of contemporary art at Sotheby's on September 24, with a $900,000-1.2m valuation.

The lot is one of a number of works by the Latvian-American artist in the sale, titled: Good To Go: Property From The Collection Of Joni Gordon Of Newspace Gallery.

Vija Celmins plane
Vija Celmins produces photo-realist paintings

Celmins is best known for her photo-realist paintings, the most celebrated being those she produced between 1964 and 1966.

The works of the series take violence as their subject matter, reflecting the mood of the era, and were recently shown together in a Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) retrospective titled Television and Disaster.

Burning Plane is drawn from this series and is the only example still available on the market. It shows a second world war B-17 bomber that exploded on the runway.

Scott Nussbaum, Sotheby's vice president of contemporary art, commented: "In addition to being instrumental to the development of the Los Angeles art scene, Joni Gordon used her brilliant vision and personal friendships with artists to build a formidable personal collection.

"Nowhere is this more evident than with the exceptionally rare works by Vija Celmins which can be considered amongst the most important of the acclaimed artist's career."

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