Auctions | Freeman's boasts top artists, big lesser-known listings

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A bronze of a woman nursing her child by Mexican sculptor Francisco Zuniga could bring $15,000 to $25,000.

Freeman's sale of modern and contemporary art Nov. 4 will offer more than 200 lots of paintings, drawings and sculpture done by big names, ranging from Picasso to Warhol. But some big prices are expected for lesser-known artists, and a visit during preview hours next week can provide a good survey of what's classic and what's on the cutting edge.

The sale will begin at 2 p.m. with a couple of Renoir drawings with presale estimates in the mid-four-figure range, according to the $35 color catalog. Then it will move on to other European artists, including eight drawings and ceramics by Picasso, three Dalis, almost a dozen Chagalls, and more than a dozen Miros, notably a signed and numbered color etching titled Grand Triptyque Noir that is expected to sell for $25,000 to $40,000.

The most unusual lot among the European offerings is by a German artist named Hans Bellmer (1902-1975). Titled La Demi-Poupee (The Half-Doll), it is a painted-wood and mixed-media assemblage consisting, as its title suggests, of a single arm, a single breast, a bald, eyeless head, with the hint of a cleft in the skull and a single leg that ends in a single white sock and one Mary Jane shoe ($25,000 to $40,000).

Other non-American artists represented in the sale include the Indian Jamini Roy (1887-1972), whose gouache on paper, Balkrishna, Nalaram Amidst the Cow, is expected to sell for $15,000 to $25,000; the Russian Oscar Rabine (born 1928), whose still life with flowers and violin is expected to sell for $20,000 to $30,000; and the Mexican sculptor Francisco Zuniga (1912-1998), whose bronze of a mother nursing her child is expected to sell for $15,000 to $25,000.

The auction's top prices are likely to go for works by U.S. artists. They include five Harry Bertoias, four of them wire sound sculptures with presale estimates ranging from $40,000 to $80,000, and a less characteristic bronze titled Spill that was acquired by its owners directly from the artist ($20,000 to $30,000).

There are 11 Warhols in the sale. His bound book titled 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy, consisting of 18 watercolors over offset lithographs, is expected to bring $60,000 to $100,000.

The other Warhols include sketches for children's magazines done about 1959, a time described as his "pre-pop" period ($6,000 to $10,000), and a limited-edition screen print titled Karen Kain ($3,000 to $5,000) that comes from Deux Cheminees restaurant in Center City.

Several of the artists in the sale have local connections. There are four Alexander Calders, notably two gouache-on-paper abstracts expected to sell for $25,000 to $40,000, and four works by Frank Stella, who is an occasional visitor to Philadelphia and whose works have often been exhibited at the Locks Gallery on Washington Square. (Stella and Gene Locks, son of the gallery's founder, were a year apart at Princeton.)

The auction will offer four works by Seymour Remenick and an unusual oil-on-panel by Bo Bartlett (born 1955) titled Lamm Gottes (Lamb of God), depicting a young, almost Christlike figure holding a freshly skinned lamb. Dated 1989, it is expected to sell for $5,000 to $8,000.

Previews are from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 3 at the gallery, 1808 Chestnut St. For more information, call 215-563-9275 or go to www.freemansauction.com.

Cars and Christmas. Ron Rhoads Auctioneer will feature seven luxury and classic automobiles, including four Jaguars from the late 1980s, at a sale beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Rhoads & Rhoads Gallery in Spring City.

The auction also will offer a large quantity of Christmas items, including Santas and Belsnickels, and old and new decorations. A classic brass National Cash Register will also be featured.

Preview is from 1 to 4 p.m. tomorrow at the gallery, 20 Bonnie Brae Rd. For more information, call 610-385-4818 or go to www.echant.com.


Contact David Iams at daiams@comcast.net.