Ruscha Print Sets New World Auction Record at Bonhams & Butterfields

Bonhams & Butterfields offered Fine Prints on November 3, 2009. Simulcast between the San Francisco and Los Angeles salesrooms, the auction featured a diverse selection of old master, modern, contemporary prints and multiples ranging from the Renaissance to the Present. The highly anticipated fall sale brought over $1-million dollars and established a new world auction record for an Edward Ruscha print when the artist’s Standard Station sold for $170,000 – the highest price ever paid for a print by Ruscha at auction.

Edward Ruscha (American, born 1937), Standard Station (E. 5), 1966. Screenprint in colors on commercial buff paper, signed in pencil, dated and numbered 33/50 (there were also 2 artist’s proofs), published by Audrey Sabol, Villanova, Pennsylvania, printed by Art Krebs, Los Angeles. 19 3/4 x 37in. sheet 25 5/8 x 40in. Est. $30,000-40,000. Courtesy of Bonhams & Butterfields

“We saw strong results and bidder participation throughout all sections of the November sale. Buyers were confident as they acquired works by masters of the craft such as John James Audubon, Georges Braque, Lucian Freud, Pablo Picasso, Edward Ruscha and Andy Warhol,” said Judith Eurich, Director of Fine Prints at Bonhams & Butterfields.

The marquee piece of the fall sale was the auction catalogue’s cover lot, an important mid-century screen print by American artist Edward Ruscha. Titled Standard Station (E. 5), 1966, the work depicted an iconic 1960s-style Standard Oil gas station set in the bright hues of red, orange and blue. Ruscha’s distinct technique can be seen throughout the work in the bold use of color, dramatic angles and textual, flat Pop Art style.

Estimated to bring $30,000-40,000, Standard Station sold for $170,000 – the highest price ever paid for a Ruscha print at auction. The work was published by Audrey Sabol, Villanova, Pennsylvania and printed by Art Krebs, Los Angeles, California.

“Ruscha prints, such as the work offered during the November sale, are highly sought after at public auction. Bonhams & Butterfields is pleased to announce a new world auction record for a print by the artist,” said Eurich.

Additional highlights from the fall auction included an abstract black and white etching on tinted Arches paper by Georges Braque titled Composition (Nature Morte I) (V. 8), 1911 (sold for $18,300); a terre de faïence plaque titled Little Bust of Woman by Pablo Picasso (sold for: $17,080); a contemporary etching of a woman by Lucian Freud titled Head and Shoulders, 1982 (sold for $14,640) and a stunning hand colored engraving by John James Audubon titled Great Horned-Owl. Strix Virginiana. (Pl. 61), 1829, from the Havell edition of The Birds of America (sold for $13,420) among others.

Auctions of Fine Prints at Bonhams & Butterfields continue in May 2009. Works on offer will include decorative prints and posters by Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Andy Warhol, John James Audubon, Jasper Johns and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, among others. Highlights for the spring auction will be available in the weeks preceding the sale.