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Joseph Cornell
Via Parmigianino (for Allegra)
Sotheby's New York
May 14, 2003

Joan Mitchell
Doyle New York
Nov. 14, 2000

Donald Sultan
Three Lemons, Oct. 4, 1984
bought in (est. $60,000-$80,000)
Sotheby's New York
May 16, 2001

Robert Bechtle
1957 Ford
Christie's Los Angeles
Oct. 14, 1998

Robert Rauschenberg
Territorial Rites (Shiner)
Sotheby's New York
May 14, 2003

Ed Ruscha
Sotheby's New York
Nov. 16, 1995

Neil Jenney
Angled Wood and Angled Wood
Sotheby's New York
May 14, 2003

Jasper Johns
Ale Cans
Christie's New York
May 1, 2002

George Segal
Chance Meeting
Christie's New York
Nov. 14, 2001

Art Market Guide 2003
by Richard Polsky

"Good Deals: Part II"
In "Good Deals Part I," the Art Market Guide 2003 discussed opportunities for buying art priced under $50,000. Now, in "Part II," we're going to look at potential purchases above $50,000. Once again, a few rules apply. The price categories for the recommended works are based on current auction figures. Also, remember that a "good deal" means paying the current market price for a quality work of art by a significant artist. There are no "deals" for great works by great artists.

Contemporary Works, $50,000-$100,000
Dan Flavin -- circular fluorescent fixtures
Why: Flavin has been overlooked for years. The rap had been that the work was significant but too hard to live with. Maybe so, but sometimes you have to stretch a little.

Joseph Cornell -- minimal white boxes
Why: The days of buying Cornell boxes for under $100,000 are almost over. The Cornell estate has been virtually picked clean. These "aged" white spaces capture all of the artist's poignancy without the high price.

Joan Mitchell -- pastels
Why: Mitchell's pastels display all of the loose "brushwork" that makes her paintings so effective, while sacrificing none of her "richness of palette."

Julian Schnabel -- paintings on paper mounted to canvas ("thrown sheets")
Why: Schnabel finally got it right when he started saturating bunched up sheets with paint and then flinging them at various surfaces. The ghost-like apparitions smack of authenticity.

Donald Sultan -- large paintings
Why: Despite the startling crash of the Sultan market during the 1990s, the paintings remain handsome and highly decorative in a positive sense.

Andy Warhol -- 20 x 16 in. "Dollar Signs"
Why: What could be more Warhol than paintings symbolic of U.S. legal tender? The wide variety of tasty color combinations show what an underrated colorist he was.

Robert Bechtle -- paintings
Why: Bechtle remains the unsung Photorealist. His paintings of modest single-family homes are a quiet meditation on the beauty of simplicity. Besides, he's the least prolific of the major practitioners of his genre.

Contemporary Works, $100,000-$250,000
David Hockney -- colored pencil drawings
Why: Hockney's colored pencil drawings are the future market equivalent of Matisse drawings. Fully developed, non-homoerotic subject matter, such as pools, gardens and houses, are the keepers.

Robert Rauschenberg -- "Shiners," "Gluts," "Urban Bourbons"
Why: Rauschenberg's paintings from the 1980s, on shiny metal surfaces, incorporate many of the most desirable features from his best periods: found objects and Abstract Expressionist brushstrokes (the "Combines" of the 1950s) and photosilkscreen imagery (the "Silkscreens" of the 1960s).

Robert Rauschenberg -- transfer drawings
Why: Rauschenberg's transfer drawings were an original development in the history of drawing. The more recognizable images per sheet, the higher the price.

Richard Diebenkorn -- "Ocean Park" charcoal drawings
Why: These black and white works on paper bear witness to the artist's struggles to get it right. With color examples pushing $500,000, the charcoal works look good at $100,000-$150,000.

Ed Ruscha -- "Ribbon Letter" drawings
Why: These gunpowder-on-paper creations show off Ruscha's marvelous dexterity as a draughtsman. Two years ago, good examples were readily available for $50,000-$75,000. Those days are gone. Yet, the work's still a good deal. Especially when you consider how few enter the market -- and that they rank with the drawings of Cy Twombly and Brice Marden in terms of quality.

Mel Ramos-- paintings from 1960s
Why: Ramos's "Nudes with Products," shown a few years back in the context of the John and Kimiko Powers Collection at Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue, hold their own with Pop's biggest names.

Fletcher Benton -- steel "Geometric Form" sculptures
Why: The West Coast-based Benton is the logical successor to David Smith and Anthony Caro. The large outdoor works are the bargains -- conservative but dynamic.

Frank Stella -- "Exotic Birds"
Why: This series of low-relief mixed media paintings on honeycombed-aluminum -- with colorful glitter and French curve forms -- give off a pure exuberance.

James Rosenquist -- "Face/Palm Frond Overlay" paintings
Why: These multilayered images, from the 1980s, are beautifully painted and enigmatic --yet highly accessible. They also represent a return to form by a major artist after his abysmal performance during the 1970s.

Neil Jenney -- "This and That" paintings (non-Atmosphere)
Why: During the 1980s, Jenney was considered a major figure. While this is no longer the case, he did make some highly original paintings. He's also due for a comeback.

Jasper Johns: Ale Cans lithograph, edition of 31, 1964, published by ULAE
Why: To this writer's eye, Ale Cans remains the holy grail of contemporary print collecting. It has extra-historical resonance because of de Kooning's famous statement about Johns's dealer, Leo Castelli: "You could give him a couple of beer cans and he could sell them." The print Flags I may bring more money, but Ale Cans is far more evocative.

Richard Artschwager -- Formica sculpture
Why: Artschwager is a largely unappreciated artist who identified new materials for making both sculpture (Formica) and paintings (celotex). His forms from the 1960s, of household objects such as tables, chairs and mirrors, remains a high-water mark in the history of sculpture.

George Segal -- sculpture
Why: Segal's mysterious figurative tableaux from the 1960s hover over the decade, just waiting for a retrospective. When it comes (and it will someday), watch his prices zoom.

RICHARD POLSKY is the author of the recently released, I Bought Andy Warhol (Abrams). Question and comments can be directed to Richard at