Strong demand for Pop-art and Op-art at Bonhams Post War and Contemporary sale


LOVE by Robert Indiana. Picture credit: Bonhams

There was strong demand for Pop-art and Op-art works at Bonhams’ 33 lot Post-War and Contemporary Art sale in New York on 12 May, which raised more than $3.5 million.

Robert Indiana’s iconic work, LOVE outstripped expectations and fetched $653,000, racing past its high estimate of $250,000. The winning bid was placed in the room after a prolonged bidding war. The image is one of Indiana’s most recognizable and is still ubiquitous even half a century after its creation.

Victor Vasarely’s optical works sold well: OND-III, a 1968 acrylic on canvas, achieved $251,000, over two times its high estimate of $120,000; and Attam, a 1979 acrylic work realized $155,000, over 2.5 times the high estimate.

Jeremy Goldsmith, director of Post-War and Contemporary art at Bonhams commented: “We saw competitive bidding for Robert Indiana’s LOVE painting, which brilliantly illustrates the strength and depth of the market for iconic Pop-Art. Furthermore, the energetic bidding that realized prices well over the high estimates for works by Victor Vasarely demonstrated a renewed and revitalized interest in the artist and Op-Art in general.”

The auction’s highest-selling lot was Alexander Calder’s sculpture, The Mountain (1960) that sold for $845,000, past its high estimate. Additional high points of the evening include Homage to the Square: Suspended, a 1953 work by Josef Albers, which realized $485,000; and a stainless steel and aluminium sculpture by Frank Stella called Lejak that achieved $102,500, surpassing its high estimate of $70,000.

The next Post-War & Contemporary art sale will be held in London in July.