An artist renowned for his impeccably slick photographic appropriations of stock symbols of American consumer culture, Richard Prince is represented in the sale by Millionaire Nurse, 2002 (pictured here, est. $3.5/4.5 million). With its vivid, drippy swathes of autumnal red and yellow hues, it is a virtuoso display of svelte painterly expression. The motif of the nurse, gleaned from the covers of the artist’s extensive collection of racy 1960s paperback pulp-fiction, is first transferred onto canvas using an ink-jet print, a process that results in an anonymous facture that was the hallmark of the artist’s earlier oeuvre. In a creative process which is the reversal of Andy Warhol’s celebrated screen-printing technique, this surface is then worked on by smearing deep layers of drippy, acrylic paint onto the smooth, inkjet surfaces, so that layer upon layer of brilliant pastel hues simultaneously obscure and reveal the image that lies beneath, creating a hazy film of paint that consciously allows ghostlike traces of the background to emerge and recess into the mysterious depths of the composition.
Property from the Collection of Helga and Walther Lauffs
Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art, said: “The Lauffs collection, with its seamless range of important examples of works from every major American and European art movement of the 60s and 70s, creates a uniquely coherent ensemble. At the same time, Helga and Walther Lauffs added a personal touch and distinctive direction to the body of works. The melding of these components plus the remarkable collaboration with their percipient friend and advisor, Paul Wember, forge the key to this extraordinary treasure.”
Acquired in 1968, Yves Klein’s 1960 ultramarine masterpiece, IKB 1, was among the Lauffs’ first purchases (est. $5/7 million). The deeply penetrating and intense International Klein Blue is synonymous with the artist’s proposition that paint was not a surface application but a pure and metaphysical substance, allowing monochromatic color to become pure space and