Masterworks on Paper from the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Collection at Sotheby’s NY
NEW YORK, 28 September 2017 – Sotheby’s is honored to announce that masterworks on paper from the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Collection will lead our November sales of Impressionist & Modern and Contemporary Art in New York.
Drawings and works on paper are the most spontaneous and essential of all artworks, often underpinning everything that an artist subsequently applies to other media. And yet, it is extremely rare for collectors to engage so totally with the creative process by focusing their attention on this medium. Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and Ambassador Carl Spielvogel have meticulously built an unprecedented collection, which offers unique insight into the creative spirit and personality of an impressive array of artists working across the 20th and 21st centuries.
From intensely-worked pastels, watercolors and gouaches to the most elemental pen and ink or charcoal drawings, the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Collection celebrates the primacy of works on paper, with a strict emphasis on the highest quality and rarity throughout. Together, these works highlight the diverse contributions made to the medium by artists ranging from Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and Joan Miró* to Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Cy Twombly, Roy Lichtenstein and Lucian Freud**. The collection is distinguished further by the incredible depth in which the Spielvogels collected a number of artists: seven works by Jasper Johns capture many of his signature images and techniques such as the American flag and numbers, while five pieces bookend Pablo Picasso’s career from 1901 to 1971 and depict multiple of his muses.
Full proceeds from the sale of works from the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Collection will benefit a charitable foundation of the same name, which was established to support causes that the Spielvogels have actively championed throughout their lives, including: science & medicine, educational reform & innovation, and cultural projects.
A significant selection of highlights from the collection will travel the world this fall, including exhibitions in Hong Kong, London, Paris, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. The full collection will be on public view for the first time in Sotheby’s New York galleries in an extended and dedicated exhibition opening 27 October – a must-see event for collectors and connoisseurs during this marquee moment for the global art market. Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel commented: “Works on paper are the most profound expression of the artist’s intent, I believe. There are many parallels between the visual and literary arts, well beyond their shared use of the medium – both pursue the elusive, and require discipline and astute thinking in order to successfully articulate the author’s intent. We have enjoyed years of undiluted pleasure living with this collection because of the singular artistic abilities of the artists represented. Consistent with our long-held view that we are, each of us, temporary custodians of all we possess, we must treat stewardship with great care. It is our hope that future collectors will experience genuine delight from the works presented, and that through the Diamonstein Spielvogel Foundation, the artists represented will derive great satisfaction from the fact that many others will benefit for many years to come from the future exchange of ideas, staunch adherence to intellectual and cultural excellence, and a healthy disregard for the impossible.”
Lisa Dennison, Chairman of Sotheby’s Americas, said: “For nearly five years, Sotheby’s has been in discussion with Barbaralee and Carl about the future of their collection and their philanthropic intentions. Therefore, it is now a great privilege to work on their behalf to fulfill their goals and to present masterworks on paper from the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Collection at Sotheby’s. As a writer and scholar at heart, who has been in dialogue for decades with many of the artists represented, it is fitting that Barbaralee is so drawn to paper as an artifact of process. The true diversity of drawing is illustrated throughout the collection, with each artist approaching their work with different objections – whether working through details for larger compositions, making studies for paintings, or creating complete compositions in their own right. The consistent high quality across the collection is unparalleled, which is a testament to Barbaralee and Carl’s passion, scholarship and sophistication.”
DR. BARBARALEE DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL & AMBASSADOR CARL SPIELVOGEL
The quality of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Collection and the charitable plans for all its proceeds are natural extensions of two lives devoted to scholarship, service and professional success.
Throughout her career, Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel has served as a leading voice on some of the defining urban issues of our time, including the preservation of the historic built environment of our country. She serves as a model for civic and cultural engagement, having demonstrated unparalleled commitment to the arts, architecture, design and public policy through numerous roles including: White House Staff Assistant, the first Director of Cultural Affairs in New York City, the first woman Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts in its 109-year history, the longest-serving New York City Landmarks Preservation Commissioner, the current Chair of the New York State Council on the Arts, and Commissioner of the American Battle Monuments Commission. A steadfast champion of many cultural and historical organizations, she has received countless awards, holds four honorary doctoral degrees, has authored 23 books, and served as the curator of eight international traveling museum exhibitions.
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