Among the top lots in Phillips upcoming Photographs sale on October 14 at the house’s New York headquarters is a unique 1976 triptych featuring New York dealer, collector and socialite Holly Solomon by Robert Mapplethorpe. The work is expected to achieve a price of $100,000-200,000.
Featuring the late dealer smoking in repose, framed by floral designs across three slides, the work was last on view at London’s Marlborough Contemporary showcase of Solomon’s collection in 2019, and previously exhibited in the traveling show “The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene, 1974-1984,” which exhibited at the Grey Art Gallery at New York University and the Andy Warhol Museum in 2006. The work was also shown in Mapplethorpe’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1988.
Having resided in the Solomon collection since its commission in the mid-1970s, this is the first time the work has come to the market. It is being sold by the dealer’s son, Thomas Solomon. No exact comparable of the triptych exists. A single edition of the third image is in the joint collection of the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
In 1969, Solomon opened an alternative art-performance spaces in New York, 98 Greene Street Loft, with her husband Horace Solomon. From there, the couple amassed a collection of Pop art, including commissioned portraits by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Christo, Robert Rauschenberg, and Richard Artschwager, among others. Roy Lichtenstein’s portrait of her resides at the The Broad in Los Angeles. Warhol’s portrait of her sold for $5.5 million in 2001 during her estate sale at Christies.
According to the work’s catalogue essay, Solomon was responsible for launching the photographer’s early career. She included the Mapplethorpe in the “Summer Group Show, Animals,” and “Surrogrates/Self-Portraits” exhibitions in 1976 and 1977, and featured him in two solo exhibitions in 1977. She also organized his Documenta 6 exhibition in Kassel, Germany the same year.
Other works by Mapplethorpe featuring art world figures have achieved top prices. His 1987 portrait of Andy Warhol sold for $643,200 against an estimate of $200,000 for at Christie’s in 2006.
Other highlights in the sale include works by Ansel Adams and large-scale edition by Andreas Gursky titled São Paulo, Sé (2002), valued at $400,000-600,000.