Wojciech Fangor, M37. Photo Courtesy of Bonhams.

Post-War & Contemporary Art

Over the course of many years we have represented a Midwestern family in the valuation of an extensive and highly diverse collection formed by the patriarch, a prominent attorney and entrepreneur. This gentleman had traveled extensively on business, and during his travels he often visited art galleries and museums, steeping himself in many fields of collecting, including Asian art, furniture, automobiles, watches and books. Above all he was an avid collector of Contemporary art.

In this field he proved to have an excellent eye and sound judgment. One artist who captured his interest was the Polish abstract painter Wojciech Fangor, who enjoyed a period of fame and recognition in the 1970s with shows at The Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. He was one of the leading figures in the Op-Art movement. But he slipped into the shadows and remained largely ignored by the art market until his death in 2015. The attorney acquired a number of Fangor's works through the artist's New York dealer, displaying them in his various homes.

Recently the family embarked on a sale plan of the collection that brought four of their Fangor oil paintings to the auction salerooms. Amidst a strong resurgence of interest in Op-Art, three of these works achieved the top three prices in auction history for the artist. The initial record of $319,500 achieved in New York for M35, well above its estimate of $70,000-90,000, was soon shattered at a sale in London.

There the monumental NJ-15, a diptych measuring 96 x 96 inches, established the world record price of $537,500. In a fitting tribute to the work, and to the collector, the painting was featured on the cover of the auction house's international magazine.