On February 10th, Hindman
will explore the stories behind figural surrealism and magical realism from Mexico to the Midwest in Figuratively Speaking. Anchoring the 95-lot auction will be 21 avant-garde and surrealist works previously owned by noted artist, collector, critic, and educator Florence Arquin, a close friend of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, from the Carol Williams Collection. The collection features a number of works that Arquin received as gifts, highlighting the important friendships she built with many revered artists during her time living in Latin America. Examples include works by Wolfgang Paalen, Alice Rahon, and Diego Rivera, among others that are from pivotal artistic moments.
Arquin had an extraordinary impact wherever she went, from Chicago to Mexico, and beyond, commented Hindman Vice President & Senior Specialist of Fine Art Joseph Stanfield. She was both a mentor and a friend, and its a privilege to be able to offer a collection that so vividly depicts the connections she made throughout her life.
Florence Arquins Works from the Carol Williams Collection
Arquin spent the majority of her life in Chicago and Mexico, as well as traveling throughout Latin America. During her time in Latin America, Arquin developed a strong community of artistic friends including Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Wolfgang Paalen, Alice Rahon, and Carlos Mérida, among others. Arquin was both a friend and artistic inspiration for Rivera and Kahlo, which is further emphasized in Kahlos record-setting work from this same collection, Diego y yo, 1949. The work includes an inscription to Arquin and her husband Samuel Williams, and first sold at Sothebys in 1990, prior to achieving a record $34.9 million in 2021. Arquins collection included images such as those of Rivera and Kahlo at home, which are now housed in the Smithsonian Museums Archive of American Art and the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico. Following Arquins death, Samuel married Carol Williams, whose collection will be offered here.
Highlights reflecting Arquins close artistic ties include three untitled works by Wolfgang Paalen from 1943 and 1947 (lots 66, 67, 68; estimates: $40,000-60,000, $10,000-15,000 and $6,000-8,000). Alice Rahons 1946 Untitled (lot 55; estimate: $7,000-9,000) and 1943 Le Chat (lot 69; estimate: $5,000-7,000) are additional notable lots. Five paintings by Arquin herself, a drawing by Diego Rivera, and a painting by Carlos Mérida round out the highlights, in addition to works by American artists such as Kathleen Blackshear and Ethel Spears.
Gertrude Abercrombie & Additional Highlights
Top lots of the sale also include five paintings by Gertrude Abercrombie. Hindman is a leader in the market for the sale of works by the late Chicago-based Surrealist artist, setting the world auction record in December 2022. Among these quintessential Abercrombie paintings is her 1953The Mysterious Stranger (Man, House, and Lady) (lot 49; estimate: $60,000-80,000). The somber work is quintessentially Abercrombie with a barren landscape and cat, with the addition of a bearded man who is likely President Abraham Lincoln, a person with whom she had a strong fascination. Additional paintings to be offered include Abercrombies 1964 Coffee Mill (lot 58; estimate: $60,000-80,000), which is the most elaborate example of the works she made depicting this object. As is the case with many of Abercrombies works, this work can almost be seen as a self-portrait, with the coffee mill standing in for the artist in the way that many other motifs in her paintings do.
Rounding out the sale will be inventive figuration by artists Ed Paschke, John Wilde, Jonathan Borofsky, Julia Thecla, Ernest Trova, and John Buck.
The February 10th auction is the second in series of winter thematically curated auctions at Hindman. Bidding for the auction will begin at 10am CT and will be available at Hindmans Chicago saleroom and online via the Digital Bid Room.