Jun 06, 2024 - Sale 2671

Sale 2671 - Lot 49

Price Realized: $ 4,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500

Oil on acrylic on board, 1969. 285x357 mm; 11½x14¼ inches. Signed and dated in ink, lower left recto.

Provenance: Gifted by the artist to Gerald E. Lieberman, New York (friend of the artist); thence by descent to the current owner, private collection, Florida.

Seliger (1926-2009) was an Abstract Expressionist artist, born and raised in Manhattan. He was one of the original generation of Abstract Expressionist artists connected with the New York School and was one of the youngest artists to exhibit at Peggy Guggenheim's The Art of This Century Gallery, New York (the forerunner to the Betty Parsons Gallery). In 1943, Seliger met and befriended Jimmy Ernst the son of Max Ernst (married to Peggy Guggenheim at the time), and who at the age of 23 years was just a few years older than Seliger. Drawn into the circle of the avant-garde in New York through his friendship with Ernst, Seliger's paintings attracted the attention of Howard Putzel who worked with Peggy Guggenheim. At 19, Seliger was included in Putzel's groundbreaking exhibition "A Problem for Critics" at the 67 Gallery, New York. Also in 1945 he had his first solo show at the Art of This Century Gallery. Seliger showed his paintings there until 1947 when Guggenheim closed the gallery and returned to Europe (the representation of her artists was taken over by Betty Parsons). At the age of only twenty Seliger's oil painting Natural History: Form within Rock, 1946, was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, for the permanent collection.

Seliger was known for his small, jewel-like paintings (unlike most artists from the New York School who worked in large-scale formats). He was a veteran of more than 45 solo exhibitions at important contemporary galleries and museums. In 1950 he joined the Willard Gallery, New York, who represented important contemporary artists of the time including David Smith, Morris Graves and others. He formed close friendships with many of the Willard Gallery artists, including Mark Tobey, Lyonel Feininger and Norman Lewis. Seliger had his first museum exhibition, at the De Young Museum, San Francisco, in 1949. In 1986, he was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.