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Phillips announces a sale of property from the archives of Edition Schellmann
Dan Flavin, Untitled (to Mary Elizabeth), 1992. Daylight and warm white fluorescent light. Estimate £100,000 - 120,000. Image courtesy of Phillips.

LONDON.- Phillips will move its June Evening & Day Sales of Editions to September, making way for a unique single-owner sale – Fifty Are Better Than One – featuring works from the archives of Edition Schellmann. Striving for an art that is affordable to all, Jörg Schellmann is a renowned German gallerist and publisher of limited edition artworks through Schellmann Art. This auction will celebrate 50 years of his dedication to and collaboration with artists including Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, Christo, Thomas Ruff, and Donald Judd, all of whom he enthusiastically encouraged to explore the creative possibilities of edition-making. The sale comprises 181 works from Jörg Schellmann’s personal archive and is expected to realise in the region of £2 million, including very rare examples and unique colour variants ranging from £1,000 to £150,000. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Ars Publicata project, an ambitious and selfless endeavour spearheaded by Jörg Schellmann to create a global online directory of authentic information on artist editions and their publishers.

Anne Schneider-Wilson, Senior Specialist, Editions and Head of Sale, said: “We are proud and excited to host the definitive European Contemporary editions publisher, with a body of works spanning the past 50 years. The works capture the essence of what Jörg Schellmann as a publisher is about: making artworks accessible in a democratic way and pushing boundaries in terms of material and concept, thereby continually redefining Editions and their relevancy in the Contemporary art market. The synergy between Edition Schellmann and Phillips is what makes this project so exciting as we strive together to elevate the status of Editions and develop new ways to contextualize, display and sell these works. The conceptual Wall Works series, which have never been offered at auction before, particularly illustrate our embracing of radical experimentation within edition-making and selling. This is a special and unparalleled opportunity for the market to take a glimpse of what has been achieved by Jörg Schellmann throughout his career to date.”

Jörg Schellmann opened his first gallery in Munich in 1969 and began publishing limited edition artworks by internationally renowned artists. His first significant collaboration under Edition Schellmann (later Schellmann & Klüser, then Schellmann Art) was with Joseph Beuys, resulting in a creative relationship that lasted until the artist’s death in 1986. Throughout the 1970s, Schellmann published mainly European artists, but his attraction to Pop Art and especially his fascination with the New York art scene drew him to New York, where he published his first Warhol project in 1980: a portfolio of three screenprints of his first artistic partner entitled, Joseph Beuys. Phillips are pleased to offer three unique trial proofs from this moment of collaboration, along with several other unique Warhol trial proofs including Details of Renaissance Paintings (Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1482), 1984 and Neuschwanstein, 1987.

The sale is led by an impressive group of multiples in wood, neon and steel by Keith Haring, Dan Flavin, and Donald Judd, demonstrating immediately the versatility of Edition Schellmann’s publishing. The top value lot, Keith Haring’s Dog, 1986, a unique trial proof of yellow screenprint on black paint (aside from the edition of three colour variants), is one of the many unique pieces that have been housed in Schellmann’s personal archive and are coming to auction for the first time.

Alongside these iconic works, Phillips will present one of the most extraordinary edition series ever undertaken. Titled Wall Works this series is made up of site-specific, and in many cases unique, wall installations in which artists such as Donald Judd, Peter Halley, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Kara Walker created a conceptual design executed on walls of varying sizes and proportions. So far, fifty-one works have been realized, twelve of which are being offered in Fifty Are Better Than One.

The variety and originality of Edition Schellmann’s output is unparalleled and some of the more eccentric and idiosyncratic projects that Jörg Schellmann supported include a fibreglass tree-trunk chair by Franz West, a handmade collage by Ellen Gallagher, and an installation of bathroom cosmetics by Sylvie Fleury. Viewed alongside more traditional printmaking techniques, this collection demonstrates the richness of Jörg Schellmann’s contribution to edition making and publishing, and his continual search for the unexpected and the innovative.

To celebrate the Fourtieth anniversary of Edition Schellmann, a catalogue of their publications was produced, entitled Forty Are Better Than One, in reference to the serial concept of editions and alluding to the Andy Warhol painting Thirty Are Better Than One, 1963, which depicts a series of Mona Lisa reproductions: a tongue-in-cheek comment on the worshipped aura of unique works of art versus the mass-production and global distribution of images in our time. A decade on, Phillips is proud to continue this heritage, presenting the single-owner auction: Fifty Are Better Than One, property from the archives of Edition Schellmann to benefit the Ars Publicata project.

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