In Focus

Prindle's Collecting Eye

Take a look at Litchfield Auction's dazzling survey of works from the collection of renowned American art collector John "Parker" Prindle.

Words by
Published on
September 07, 2022
Richard Anuszkiewicz, Squares (1969)
Lot 117 Richard Anuszkiewicz, Squares (1969)

In discussions of John "Parker" Prindle's life and legacy, his passions for art and history invariably shine through. When he began collecting art in the mid-20th century, his interests revolved around Italian art glass, mid-century ceramics, and art deco metalware. However, unfailingly curious about the world of art, Prindle soon expanded his tastes to encompass contemporary prints and beyond. When browsing the collection, Prindle's discerning eye is clear. He approached collecting as a series of exciting opportunities: to learn, to unearth hidden treasures, and to share his discoveries with the larger world. Prindle developed a reputation as a renowned collector, contributing to the permanent collections of institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Harvard Art Museums. 

Sonia Delaunay, Untitled Abstract
Lot 29 Sonia Delaunay, Untitled Abstract

Prindle's collection is remarkably varied, spanning a multitude of mediums and styles. Among this plethora of spectacular artworks, Romare Bearden's Cattle of the Sun God manages to stand out. The artist's oeuvre defies categorization: over the course of his life, Bearden gathered inspiration from diverse sources such as Cubism, Surrealism, and Mexican muralistists. This screenprint, created at the height of the artist's career, exemplifies the bold blocks of color present in Bearden's famed collage works. From his Odysseus series, this screenprint uses allegorical elements to draw connections between Homer's epic poem and contemporary African American culture. In doing so, the artist creates a metaphorical collage of modern and classical culture via this literal collage. Another impression of this print is also held in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Art.

Romare Bearden, Cattle of the Sun God (1979)
Lot 54 Romare Bearden, Cattle of the Sun God (1979)

Several stunning examples of Robert Cottingham's urban landscapes are also featured in this colossal collection. Crowded with symbols of Americana such as neon signage and movie marquees, the works are full of nostalgia. The influence of Pop art on the artist's work is palpable in these paintings, which are often focused intently on typography and commercial messaging. By isolating individual letters or phrases through close cropping, Cottingham invites the viewer to recontextualize images from the everyday. The artist's work has been celebrated in exhibitions at many prominent museums around the world, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Serpentine Gallery in London. 

Robert Cottingham, One Way (1984) Peter Shire Vistosi, Glass Bone Sculpture (1990)
From left: Lot 1, Robert Cottingham Letter B; Lot 19 Robert Cottingham One Way (1984)

Sol Lewitt's Tondo 2 acts as yet another demonstration of John Prindle's keen collecting eye. A leader in Minimalist and Conceptualist movements, the artist's contributions to modern art history are difficult to overstate. Among his diverse body of work, which spans mediums from drawing to photography and installation, geometric compositions like this one have become icons of Lewitt's legacy. Despite its simplicity and linearity, the work accomplishes a smooth sense of movement and energy. 

Sol LeWitt, Tondo 2
Lot 5 Sol LeWitt, Tondo 2

This collection, in places whimsical and in others rather cerebral, tells a story of John Prindle's lifelong commitment to exploring and celebrating fine art of all kinds. Below, take a look at more highlights from this exciting sale.

Alfredo Barbini, Inciso Vase
Lot 240 Alfredo Barbini, Inciso Vase
Howard Hodgkin, In Tangier (1991)
Lot 106 Howard Hodgkin, In Tangier (1991)
Alessandro Mendini, Superego Vase
Lot 567 Alessandro Mendini, Superego Vase
Robert Natkin, Redvale Press (1986)
Lot 114 Robert Natkin, Redvale Press (1986)
Herman Miller, Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, Olivier Mourgue for Airborne, Djinn Chaise Lounge (c. 1960s)
The sale includes many pieces from Prindle's furniture collection, such as Herman Miller's iconic Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman as well as a Djinn Chaise Lounge by Olivier Mourgue.
From left: Lot 159 Herman Miller, Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman; Lot 193 Olivier Mourgue for Airborne, Djinn Chaise Lounge (c. 1960s)
Howard Hodgkin, Indian View I (1971)
Lot 96 Howard Hodgkin, Indian View I (1971)
Terry Winters, Illustrated Set
Lot 110 Terry Winters, Illustrated Set
Pat Steir, Kyoto Chrysanthemum (1982)
Lot 14 Pat Steir, Kyoto Chrysanthemum (1982)
Ettore Sottsass/Raymor, 5 pc. Ceramics (1960)
Lot 536 Ettore Sottsass/Raymor, 5 pc. Ceramics (1960)

Litchfield lauches its first session of The Prindle Collection on September 20th at 10:00AM ET with the second session to follow on September 21st at 10:00AM ET. All property ships from Litchfield, CT. Click below to view more of the spectacular pieces included. 

Bid now or bid live on the Prindle Collection Day 1 via CapsuleLive
View Day 2 of the Prindle Collection Sale

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