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Cowans + Clark + DelVecchio Modern Ceramic Art and Craft Auctions Legends: Material Masters
October 25, 2011  | 

"When we introduced a regular ceramics auction last year, it was a first for the field. Now, our Legends: Material Masters auction adds another new event that is a regular auction for objects and craft materials from high craft and high art"
-Garth Clark, Clark + DelVecchio
Following the success of Cowan's + Clark + DelVecchio's June 4, 2011 ceramics sale, we are pleased to announce our third ceramics auction to take place the weekend of November 4-5, 2011. The two day sale will be held at Hotel 71 in Chicago. The event features pieces from well-known ceramics and craft artists from around the world. The sale is divided into two sections.  The first section, held on November 4, features Legends: Material Masters, and will be limited to 50 masterworks post-1945. Highlights in the sale include a Kenneth Price Geomtric Cup, and a stack pot by Peter Voulkos titled Siguirilla. The second section, on November 5, is titled Modern Ceramic Art and Design and will consist of primarily studio ceramics from such artists as Lucie Rie, Wayne Higby, and Rick Dillingham. 
A Kenneth Price Geometric Cup (image below) is estimated to bring anywhere between $100,000/150,000. A well known American ceramic artist, Kenneth Price studied ceramics under Peter Voulkos. Price is best known for his abstract shapes constructed from fired clay. The cup has been a fascination for Price since he began making functional pottery in Los Angeles in the early 1950's, eventually joining Voulkos at the Otis Art Institute in 1957. Price's series "Geometric Cups", to which this work belongs, was created in Taos, New Mexico between 1972 and 1973 and is considered to be on the top rung of this artist's oeuvre.
"The most sought after of Ken Price's works are his geomtric cups and none have come to the auction market for several years. We are very excited to be offering this one in our November 4 auction".  -Garth Clark
A Stack Pot by Peter Voulkos titled Siguirilla, (image below) 1999, is estimated to bring $70,000/120,000. Voulkos' Stoneware Stack Pot titled Gash set a world record in Cowan's + Clark + DelVecchio's November 6, 2010 sale, selling for $105,575. Peter Voulkos' work is found in museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
A sculpture titled Folded Cross, Grey-Green by John Mason (image below) is expected to bring anywhere from $30,000/60,000. This work is the result of two strands of inquiry that stretch through Mason's oeuvre. One is his use of the cross form, a shape, together with "X", that has fascinated the artist from the start. The other strand is conceptual mathematics, which in part produced the intriguing complex geometry of this work.
A lamp by Dan Dailey titled Nude Surprised in the Garden (image below) is estimated at $65,000/85,000. This work is from a small group of lamps that Dailey made in 1997-98. He tried to create a feeling in each piece that has to do with the presence of character in the particular figure, in this case a posturing in a way which suggests a proud and independent atttitude.
A piece by David Smith titled Plate with Nude, (image below) is estimated at $35,000/50,000. The plate is a unique work, painted and drawn into the green-hard porcelain directly from a life model. Smith went to great lengths to ensure that the composition of the figure within the round format of the plate was appropriate, dragging a huge steel pipe into the studio and posing his models inside.
Another sculpture by Peter Voulkos titled Standing Bull, is expected to sell for $25,000/45,000. Standing Bull is an exceptional muscular work by Voulkos that was not previously known to exist. It is an exciting addition to the artist's oeuvre. It was authenticated in a 2003 letter from Rudy Autio to the current owner. The bull appears in drawings on early pots and later in 1954 when Voulkos was appointed Professor of Ceramics at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angelos.
Garth Clark notes, "One of the great things about an auction is that it flushes out the attic and in this case there are 3 pieces by Voulkos that have not been seen before, most notably this "Bull" sculpture.
A pair of Jackson Pollock Bookends are estimated to bring $10,000/15,000. One who is mainly known for his abstract expressionist work, Pollock's ceramic work rarely surfaces. Pollock was involved in a battle to win the heart of a fellow student, Alice Crosby, in competition with his close friend at the school, Philip Guston. To woo her, he and Guston drew portraits of Alice and gave them to her as gifts. Three of these drawings, one by Pollock and the others by Guston, are part of this lot. Pollock decided to up the ante and made her a pair of bookends in the ceramics department, which remained in her possession with the drawings until they were acquired by the current owner in 1984.
A Nakashima Floor Lamp (image below) is estimated at $12,000/17,000. Three horizontal holly rings and three vertical walnut uprights surround a laminated rice paper. The main walnut support is connected to a very thick triangular walnut base with a free edge front.
A Glass Head titled Ned by Hank Adams is expected to bring anywhere between $12,000/18,000. Adams has been awarded three Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has been featured in numerous one-man exhibitions both in the US and abroad.
A Bottle Vase with Gold Figures by Beatrice Wood is estimated at $15,000/20,000. Beatrice Wood (1893-1998) was an American artist and studio potter whose work is well recognized across the world. In an elegant, probing, and even moving review of this exhibition, Los Angeles Times art critic, Christopher Knight, refers to her work as "functional objects that would turn an ordinary dinner table into a charged landscape of almost carnal desire, if not a cartoon banquet".
A Josef Albers Tapestry titled Homage (image below) to the Square is estimated to sell for $15,000/25,000. When he joined the Yale faculty in 1950, Albers began his celebrated homage to the Square series. This would become a body of more than a thousand works executed over a period of twenty-five years including paintings, drawings, prints, and tapestries. Albers' tapestries are rare and were made between 1966 and 1967, handloomed in the traditional weaving center Aubusson, France. 
A Janusz Walentynowicz Figure titled Standing Boy is expected to bring $25,000/35,000. As Walentnowicz states in a 1996 interview: "Glass insists that we look into it, that we not stop at the surface of what is shown. The emotional states depicted here are points of easily disturbed equilibriums between inner and outer states. The traces of surface, color, and texture both hold back and reveal clues. You can look past these eternal details of identity right into the scars and stress of experience which are still evident and threatening internally though healed on the surface". (James Yood, Janusc Walentynowicz, Chicago: Marx-Saunders Gallery 1999.)
A piece by Jeff Koons titled Blue Balloon Dog, (image below) estimated at $1,800/4,000, will be offered in the November 5 sale.
A French Curve Teapot (image below) and an Untitled Mystery Ewer (Priscilla) by Adrian Saxe are both estimated to sell for $7,500/8,500 in the November 5 sale. Saxe, born in Glendale, California, is currently a member of the Art Department faculty at the University of California, Los Angelos
About Cowan’s Auctions, Inc.
As one of the nation’s leading auction houses with sales approaching $20 million, Cowan’s has been helping individuals and institutions build important collections for more than a decade.  The company’s seven divisions of American History, American Indian and Western Art, American and European Fine and Decorative Art, Historic Firearms & Early Militaria, Modern Ceramics, Fine Jewelry and Timepieces, and Asian Art hold semi-annual cataloged sales that routinely set records for rare offerings. 

Through its extensive mailing list of more than 35,000 collectors, dealers and institutional clients, each Cowan’s auction typically attracts more than 1,000 bidders from across the globe.  To learn more about Cowan’s visit our website at

About Clark + DelVecchio
Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio founded Garth Clark Gallery in Los Angeles in 1981 and opened a second space in New York in 1983 at 24 West 57th Street. They were soon established as the preeminent international dealers in 20th century ceramics and have organized eight major international symposia on ceramic history and criticism, published numerous books and catalogues and received a slew of prestigious awards, both lifetime achievement and honorary doctorates. In addition Clark was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Art, London and was the only practicing dealer to receive the College Art Association’s Mather Award for distinguished achievement in art journalism.

They now live in Santa Fe, work as private dealers and are in the process of organizing two traveling exhibitions, Christine Nofchissey McHorse and Diego Romero. Clark is finishing two more books (his 52nd and 53rd), Lucio Fontana Ceramics and Homage To R. Mutt: Writing on Marcel Duchamp's Fountain since 1917. For more information about Clark+DelVecchio

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