Description

    Robert Preusser (American, 1919-1992)
    Circus, 1947
    Watercolor and ink on paper
    13 x 20 inches (33.0 x 50.8 cm) (image)
    Signed and dated lower center: Robert Preusser 47

    PROVENANCE:
    The artist;
    By descent to the present owner.

    Robert Preusser was born in Houston and studied there with McNeill Davidson as well as at the Institute of Design in Chicago, at the Newcomb School of Art in New Orleans, and at the Art Center School in Los Angeles. Preusser is generally acknowledged as one of the earliest Texas artists to produce and show abstract expressionism. However, Circus, 1947 is a rare example of his interest in more figurative subjects. It highlights daring feats and exotic sites which greeted circus-goers of the time, including clowns, acrobats, and bareback horse riders, as well as giraffes, lions, and elephants. The dynamic composition uses differing perspectives and rhythmic lines to invoke the frenzy and surrealistic mood of the event. The circus ring in the bottom of the painting has been shown as if you were looking straight down, while the viewer simultaneously looks out through the tent awnings that frame the top of the image. The corresponding curves of the awnings and ring are echoed over and over again as your eye is drawn from one vignette to the next-each one a little gem-while the poles and high-wire add additional structure. The result is charming example of Texas modernism in which he employs the lines, shapes, rhythms, and colors of his better known abstract subjects

    In two Untitled watercolors from 1936 and 1937, Robert Preusser employs a device later used by the Abstract Expressionists. Drips and spatters were laid down first in this composition. Additional colors and other elements followed. These non-objective watercolors from 1936 and 1937 bear no sign of prior planning. There is no pencil drawing underneath. It is total spontaneity and creativity at work. A blank sheet of paper, the artist, and paint. To those basic ingredients add instinct and emotion. The most amazing aspect of this watercolor lies in the age of the artist when it was created (18 years old), as well as its advanced Modernist style. Suffice it to say, these early Preusser watercolors represent the first non-objective paintings in Texas and possibly the Southwest. They predate the Abstract Expressionists such as Pollock and DeKooning by several years. Pruesser would continue to experiment throughout his career -- creating unique drip style paintings such as Cryptography to sculpture reliefs such as #23.


    Condition Report*:

    Sheet measures 15.5 x 22 inches and is partially adhered to mount at center with archival corners for security; vestiges of old tape along margins, not visible when matted; very slight paper discoloration and some foxing, most notably in center of work; matted to 18.75 x 26 inches.  Not framed.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Requires 3rd Party Shipping (view shipping information)

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2016
    29th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 644

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $200,000 (minimum $19), plus 20% of any amount between $200,000 and $2,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $2,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2017 November 30 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction - Beverly Hills.

    Learn about consigning with us

    I couldn't be happier with the smooth and efficient results of consigning material to Heritage Auctions.
    Fred Weinburg,
    Encino, CA
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2017 May 12 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    2017 May 12 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $1,704,510