Check Out These 5 Can’t-Miss Lots Heading to Auction at New York’s Showplace in May

Showplace's Important Fine Art and Design takes place on May 22.

Stuart Davis, Street Signs (1938). Courtesy of Showplace New York.

The spring auction season will be in full swing this May, with major artworks hitting the block at auction houses around the world. For savvy collectors, New York’s Showplace is a hidden gem, sourcing from many of the New York metropolitan area’s most important collectors. The auction house’s upcoming “Important Fine Art & Design” on May 22, 2022 is dotted with treasures. 

The 145-lot sale spans centuries, bringing together fine art by Joseph Henri Baptiste Lebasque, Salvador Dalí, Stuart Davis, Edgar Degas, Ken Price, Yvonne Thomas, and many others. Decorative art and design are also prominently represented with furnishings by Philip and Kelvin LaVerne and glass pieces by Louis Comfort Tiffany. For horology enthusiasts, the sale features several Patek Philippe timepieces. 

We’ve scoped out the sale and found five lots we don’t think you should miss.

Ken Price
Cubist Cup (1973)
Estimate: $80,000–$120,000

Ken Price, "Cubist Cup" (1973). Estimate $80,000–$120,000.

Ken Price, Cubist Cup (1973). Estimate $80,000–$120,000.

Throughout his career, American artist Ken Price has often returned to the form of the cup in his ceramic experiments with form and color. This particular “Cubist” cup has a particularly intriguing provenance. The work was first exhibited by Nicholas Wilder, a prominent art dealer and a central figure in the Los Angeles contemporary art scene of the 1960s and ’70s. He was Ken Price’s dealer at the time of the work’s creation and he exhibited the piece in a one-person show, where it was purchased by the late influential collector and L.A. patron Betty Asher. When she acquired Cubist Cup, she was working as a curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and was one of the most fervent supporters of the Los Angeles school of ceramic artists. 

Joseph Henri Baptiste Lebasque
Femme au Collier
Estimate: $50,000–70,000

Joseph Henri Baptiste Lebasque, Femme au Collier. Courtesy of Showplace Auctions.

Joseph Henri Baptiste Lebasque, Femme au Collier. Courtesy of Showplace.

This work by French Post-Impressionist artist Joseph Henri Baptiste Lebasque depicts a fashionable young Black woman likely in Bohemian Paris in the 1920s. She dons an Art Deco costume comprising a blue cloche hat, reddish-orange flapper dress, gold earrings, and coral necklace. The stylish work is signed on the lower right and housed in a giltwood frame. 

Edgar Degas
Pastel Drawing of a Woman Ironing
Estimate: $30,000–50,000

Edgar Degas, Pastel Drawing of a Woman Ironing. Courtesy of Showplace.

Edgar Degas, Pastel Drawing of a Woman Ironing. Courtesy of Showplace.

Aside from his fascination with ballet dancers, horse races, and bathing, Edgar Degas was artistically intrigued by scenes of domestic labor. Throughout his career, he painted several pastels and paintings of “laundresses.” This gestural polychrome pastel drawing on blue paper, for instance, depicts a laundress busy with the task of ironing. The work features a Degas estate stamp in red ink on the lower right and is housed under glass in a carved and painted wood House of Heydenryk frame with scalloped edges.

Martin Johnson Heade
Tropical Landscape
Estimate: $20,000–30,000

Martin Johnson Heade, Tropical Landscape. Courtesy of Showplace.

Martin Johnson Heade, Tropical Landscape. Courtesy of Showplace.

Nineteenth-century Hudson River School artist Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904) is famed for his depictions of the Southeastern American landscape, particularly salt marshes, seascapes, tropical birds, and flowers. This vibrant painting, Tropical Landscape, Florida, shows marshes and trees beneath pink and purple clouds at sunset and is signed with the artist’s initials on the lower right.

Yvonne Thomas
Spring Vase
Estimate: $20,000–30,000

Yvonne Thomas, Spring Vase. Courtesy of Showplace Auctions.

Yvonne Thomas, Spring Vase. Courtesy of Showplace Auctions.

French-born American artist Yvonne Thomas was among a handful of women artists at the center of the first generation of the Abstract Expressionist movement. Her painting Spring Vase is a bright and energetic mix of greens, yellows, oranges, and pinks. Another painting by Thomas, Cinema, is also featured in the auction. 

Showplace’s auction Important Fine Art and Design will take place on May 22.


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