BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – A spectacular selection of original art from the collection of Musee d’Art Moderne in Beverly Hills will be auctioned at the gallery’s Los Angeles-area grand opening on May 20, with absentee and Internet live bidding available worldwide through LiveAuctioneers. The expertly curated offering, which will be presented by nationally renowned King’s Auctions Inc., includes premier paintings by some of today’s most sought-after artists, including Tony Scherman, Gertrude Abercrombie, Bill Traylor, and David Park. Additionally, the grouping includes extremely hard-to-find works by noted street artists King Robbo, Invader, and “the Russian Banksy,” Pavel Pukhov.
The 55-lot boutique auction incorporates a charitable component benefiting a highly respected Southern California nonprofit: Our Big Kitchen Los Angeles. Known as OBKLA, the 4,600-square-foot industrial kitchen is a joyful place where volunteers from local charitable organizations can prepare delivery meals for those in need throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. Founded with the financial backing of the Feder Family, OBKLA is bolstered by the support of many private and corporate sponsors – including DoorDash – and will receive a donation of 10% of the net profits from the May 20 auction.
Four significant paintings by Tony Scherman (Canadian, 1950-2023) are among the top lots to be auctioned at King’s event. Scherman’s work is seen in dozens of museums and public collections internationally, including the Los Angeles County Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla; The Library of Congress, and the Pompidou Centre, to name but a few. His original encaustic painting titled Virginia as Liberty is a prime example of his unique portraiture style. It measures 84 by 96 inches and is estimated at $750,000-$800,000. The opening bid is $375,000.
Gertrude Abercrombie’s (American, 1909-1977) name has been lighting up auction rooms over the past few years, with prices rising dramatically. Three original 1954 paintings by the magic realism pioneer and “queen of bohemian artists” will be offered at the sale. Two are oil-on-board works, the first titled Cat and the second, Gramophone. Each measures 8 by 6 inches and is artist-signed and dated. The works will be sold consecutively as Lot 1 and Lot 2, with each carrying a $50,000-$75,000 estimate and opening bid of $25,000. Lot 20 is an Abercrombie oil on Masonite sized 4 by 6 inches and titled Stairs from the Deep. Artist-signed and dated, it has a $50,000-$70,000 estimate and an opening bid of $15,000. All three Abercrombie works were acquired in the mid-1970s in Chicago, where the artist spent most of her life. They passed by descent to the present owner.
The top-selling self-taught artist in today’s marketplace is Bill Traylor (African American, 1853-1949), and while his finest work seems to be held by collectors with no intentions of selling, there will be an opportunity on May 20 for bidders to acquire Rabbit Hunt, an outstanding example of his work. Deceptively sophisticated with a lively color palette, this painting’s line of provenance includes Galerie Perlita, and the private collection of Patricia Lynn Beebe. The auction estimate is $200,000-$250,000, and the opening bid is $100,000.
Three artist-signed and dated (1960) oil-on-canvas paintings by David Park (American, 1911-1960) will be presented. They are: Female Nude, $350,000-$400,000, with an opening bid of $175,000; Two Faces, $300,000-$350,000, with an opening bid of $150,000; and The Thinker, $200,000-$250,000, with an opening bid of $100,000. Rooted in the style of pure abstract expressionism, Park found his sweet spot in figurative expressionism after being encouraged by fellow California School of Fine Art students Elmer Bischoff, Hassel Smith and others. His trademark exploration of the human body and its relationship to its surroundings is exemplified by the three exceptional Park paintings in this auction.
Street art is a global sensation, and bidding is expected to be intense on several lots, in particular. There are two wood-tile-on-canvas artworks by the anonymous French street artist Invader (b. 1969-) that were inspired by the classic arcade game Space Invaders. Alien Boy, a depiction of a standard ship in the rainbow spectrum, measures 36 inches by 47 inches and is estimated at $500,000-$600,000. The required opening bid is $250,000. Invader’s Pink Invader, a depiction of a lesser ship in the highlighter spectrum, measures $400,000-$500,000 and has an opening bid of $200,000. Both works were constructed for exhibition use only and are accompanied by a Certificate of Origin from the artist.
King Robbo (né John Robertson, British, 1969-2014), was a street artist whom some regarded as an arch-rival of Banksy. His 39-inch-square painting on canvas titled Son of Robot is artist-signed at the lower left and dated 2011. This piece was constructed for promotional exhibition use and comes with a King Robbo Certificate of Origin. The pre-sale estimate is $250,000-$350,000, and the opening bid is set at $125,000.
Pavel Pukhov (1983-2013) was considered by his fans and contemporaries to be “the Russian Banksy.” Very few of his artworks have emerged in the public marketplace, but his painting-on-board titled The Dog Walker will be available to bidders on May 20. It measures 63 by 23½ inches is artist-signed on verso and dated 2011. With a required opening bid of $125,000, it is expected to command $250,000-$300,000.
Two artists will appear as honored guests at the auction preview: Hovik Kochinian (Armenian, b. 1953-), whose considerable talent is represented in the sale by four graceful fantasy paintings that come directly from his personal collection; and Metin Bereketli, whose 2001 acrylic-on-oil painting titled Diversity 5 would surely be familiar to anyone who has watched the beloved NBC series Friends. Eye-catching and unmistakable, it is the actual painting that was displayed behind the iconic orange couch at Central Perk coffee house. Artist-signed and dated 2001, the 48- by 60-inch (framed) painting is estimated at $85,000-$100,000. Opening bid: $42,000
The May 20, 2023 sale conducted by King’s Auctions Inc., will be held live at Musee d’Art Moderne, 9800 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Doors open at 12 noon Pacific Time for a champagne and hors d’oeuvres preview; if desired, please RSVP online at https://kings-auctions.com/rsvp/.