Op to Pop in L.A. October 9th


Richard Cottingham, House with Awnings, oil on canvas, 1968, est. $80-120,000

LOS ANGELES MODERN AUCTIONS (LAMA) is set to sell more than 400 works from the estate of Richard Dorso, a Hollywood talent agent and later fashion retailer, who died last spring at age 101. A voracious collector who bought what he liked, Dorso acquired his first piece in 1930 at the age of 21, and just kept going.


The emphasis in the October 9 sale is on Pop Art. Dorso and his wife Betty, a former Vogue model, were particularly active in the 1960s. They bought locally, from galleries on La Cienega in L.A. and young artists’ studios, encouraging their entertainment-business friends to do the same.


Warhol is represented, as are Lichtenstein and other famous names, but the bulk of the work is by lesser-known artists such as John Baldessari, Robert Cottingham, Paul Wonner, John McCracken, and Richard Tuttle.



Ilya Bolotowsky, Red and Blue Tondo, seriograph, c. 1970, est. $5-700

Dorso liked “happy pictures,” which may be why I respond to these period images by photographer Grant Mudford of the Dorsos’ apartments in New York and Los Angeles, punchy with reds.


This was a man with an irreverent, confident collecting philosophy. “I always bought new artists who were unknown, and then waited to see what would happen,” he told Peter Loughrey of LAMA, who interviewed Dorso at length for the sale catalogue. “The only reason I bought them was because I liked them.”


Bruce Houston, Untitled (Television Island), mixed media, c. 1980-1995, $5-700

The sale is part of a citywide celebration of art created in the Pacific Time zone in the decades following WWII, ongoing now at museums and galleries throughout the city. As part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980, LAMA is also presenting Collecting in Los Angeles 1945–1980, in three weeks leading up to the October 9 sale. It explores the collecting practices of Richard Dorso and the role of the collector in the evolution of the L.A. art scene, and concludes with the auction of the entire collection on October 9, 2011. Details below.

Preview and Exhibit:

September 19 – October 8, 2011
open daily 10am – 6pm


October 9, 2011
12pm Noon (Pacific)

Auction, preview, and exhibit located at the LAMA Showroom:

16145 Hart St. Van Nuys, CA 91406

Auction, preview, and exhibit are free to attend and open to the public.

Interiors Photos: Grant Mudford

About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
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