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FAAM Puts a Great Wall of Op Art on the Auction Block

What do Brit badboy Banksy and Chilean master Modernist Roberto Matta have in common? How ‘bout Cuban cross-culturalist Wifredo Lam and French lensman Henri Cartier-Bresson? Or the irrefutably-recognized Colombian Fernando Botero and Italian Transavanguardian Sandro Chia?

These collosal visualists, along with the likes of Picasso, Miro, Lichtenstein and Matisse, have all gone on the block under the auspices of ace auctioneer Frederick Thut and his Fine Art Auctions Miami (FAAM).

Rhod Rothfuss “Untitled” (1950)

This weekend Thut and his impeccably-pedigreed FAAM family are retaking the Design District’s historic Moore Building and mounting another in their series of Important Art auctions. This time however the focus will be on the mid 20th Century phenomenon known as Op Art. We’re talkin’ ‘bout the works of Victor Vaserely and his high optic, geometrically-obsessed contemporaries, including a serious slew from Latin America, all of whom will be bid upon by some of the most astute collectors in the world.

Before the awe-striking artworks can be sold, of course, they’ve gotta be seen, which means this weekend’s doings also include a de facto exhibition of spectacular proportion. So even if you’ve not got pockets deep enough to walk away with a masterpiece, you’ll have a chance to get up close and personal with some of the most representative wonders from one of Art’s more remarkable Schools.

Tropicult asked auctioneer Thut to provide some lowdown, on FAAM and on this weekend’s wowsome display and sale; you can read what the man had to relay after the jump:

Victor Vaserely “Tridim” (1968)

Just what is Fine Art Auctions Miami who are the firm’s core founders?

Well, we formed Fine Art Auctions Miami back in 2011 to respond to an increasing demand for an Auction House that can keep pace with the city’s rapid and constant expansion of art fairs, museums, institutions, private collections etc. FAAM has offices in the Design District, New York and Paris, and we’re staffed by a team of globally-trained experts. As our site says, that combination gives FAAM the chance to offer clients the convenience of a local establishment, with the work ethic and experience of internationally-renowned operations.

How frequently does FAAM hold auctions and is there any particular recurring criteria?

FAAM holds approximately eight auctions per year and the recurring themes generally fall under the headings Street Art (every year in February), Modern and Impressionist, Latin American and Contemporary Art.

C/Would you please cite a few of the highlights from the most recent Major Street Art Auction?

Sure. A work by Kai sold for $22,500, which is a world record for the young yet established artist from L.A. Speedy Graphito’s artworks also sold for solid amounts, respectively $22,500 and $31,500. Graphito’s French considered one of the pioneers of the French Street Art movement, and he’s known for his references to pop culture images and animated characters.

Then there’s Head in the Wall, by Mark Jenkins, a human-sized work bringing Urban Art to life and ultimately creating a reaction from its audience, which sold for $15,000.

Speaking of Major Street Art, haven’t past Major Street Art Auctions found FAAM auctioning off numerous works by Banksy?

Yes, FAAM has sold more than a few iconic pieces by Banksy over the years, including Kissing Coppers, which went for $575,000 in 2013.

C/Would you please now cite a few of the highlights from the last Important Paintings and Sculptures Auction?

Here are some record-breakers from our records: Valentin Aleksandrovich Serov, Portrait of Oskar and Roza Gruzenberg, 1910, tempera on canvas ($4,673,500 in 2013); Claude Monet, Voilier sur le petit bras de la Seine, Argenteuil, 1872, oil on canvas ($9,265,500 in 2012); Robert Indiana, LOVE Sculpture ($1,045,500 in 2012); Mubin Orhon, Composition, 1959, oil on canvas ($200,000 in 2013); Wilfredo Lam, Untitled, 1969, oil on canvas ($193,500 in 2013); Fernando Botero, The beach, 2009, oil on canvas ($1,000,000 in 2014); Pablo Picasso, Le peintre et son modele, 1965, oil on canvas ($2,200,000 in 2014); and Roberto Matta, Rencontre fortuite, 1957 ($135,000 in 2015).

Care to share some details on a few of the most likely record-breakers slated to gavel this weekend?

I’d be delighted! I’ll even provide the Lot #’s and base estimates in order to make it easy for the bidders to go to war without bother!

As you know, FAAM’s sixth annual April sale is focused around an Optical and Geometrical Collection, which means of course Op-Art, and the legendary school’s various progeny.

Of the likely record-breakers is David Burliuk, Train, ca 1927, oil on canvas (Lot 6/est: $150,000 – $200,000); Joan Miro, Figure (Personnage), 1971, Bronze with green patina (Lot 14/est: $80,000 – $100,000); Victor Vasarely, Rixa, 1991, acrylic on canvas (Lot 62/est: $100,000 – $150,000); Rhod Rothfuss, Untitled, 1950, acrylic on wood (est $150,000 – $200,000), Carmelo Arden Quin, Collage, 1949, collage and oil on cardboard (Lot 29/est: $40,000 – $60,000); Gyula Kosice, Hidroluz (Lampara de Pie), 1975, Plexiglas, light, motor, and water in wooden case (est: $60,000 – $80,000); Julio Le Parc, Ondes, 1974, acrylic on canvas (lot 54/est: $40,000 – $60,000).

Where’d all this Wow come from?

The works are sourced from two major European collectors — a Swiss banker who’s passionate about the relationship between the intellect and Op Art (especially with Vasarely, who features heavily in his collection), and a Paris-based industrialist who’s spent over 50 years amassing optical and geometrical artworks, from all over the world (including in Latin America, which will be considerably represented, via Op Art and otherwise).

Won’t Latin Americans also be represented aside from the Op-Art?

It will indeed, especially by Modern Chilean Master Roberto Matta and Contemporary Cubans such as Enrique Toledo, Roberto Fabelo, Cundo Bermudez and many more.

Fine Art Auction Miami

Optical and Geometrical Collection – Important Paintings and Sculptures from the 20th Century

Previews April 25-29 10:00 am ~ 7:00 pm. Auction April 29 5:00 pm ~ 8:00 pm. The Moore Building, 191 NE 40th St. Miami Design District.