Last week, Sotheby’s announced it has secured a selection of contemporary and modern works from the collection of New York patrons Sidney and Bernice Clyman. Alongside a major selection of works by top postwar artists and African art masterworks, Sotheby’s is auctioning Wayne Thiebaud’s Toward Twin Peaks from 1976 that is expected to sell for $1.5 million–$2 million.
Purchased by the Clymans at Allan Stone Project’s Thiebaud solo show the same year the painting was completed, Toward Twin Peaks is making its auction debut in Sotheby’s Contemporary art day sale on June 30. Held in private hands for more than four decades, the work has a significant exhibition roster, having been featured in multiple traveling retrospectives dedicated to Thiebaud, showcased at major American institutions such as San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Walker Art Center, among others.
Featuring a coveted cityscape from early in Thiebaud’s San Francisco tenure, the 25¼-by-24-inch painting is typical of the artist’s urban landscapes. Both an observation of urban experience and an imagined dreamworld, the canvas depicts a highly compact sunlit scene from a high vantage, one of the painter’s most valued compositions.
Represented by Allan Stone from 1962, the work comes from the decade following Thiebaud’s rise in prominence. First associated with the Pop art movement, by the 1970s, the artist’s glossy style and echoes of commercial art left him categorized as a regional artist. The highest-selling Thiebaud cityscape sold at auction to date is Hill Street (Day city), dated 1981, from the collection of Richard Hedreen; it sold at a Sotheby’s contemporary evening sale in November 2014 for $4.9 million, doubling its low estimate of $2.5 million. Recently, Civic Center from 1986, another sunlit San Francisco urban landscape, sold this March in Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated sale for $3.3 million.