An Open Window

Window Shade Collages by Robert Moskowitz

While living in London in late 1959, Robert Moskowitz noticed a large window shade covering the skylight of his studio. The artist removed it from the window, cut a piece of the shade and affixed it to a canvas with rabbit skin glue. He recalled, “I thought it had a lot of character and history….It had weathered fifty or sixty years. I wanted to show that in someway.” Upon returning to New York, Moskowitz continued to incorporate shades into his works, producing about thirty-five window shade paintings between 1960 and 1962. The series marked a turning point in his career, and Moskowitz was invited to participate in The Art of Assemblage exhibition at the Museum on Modern Art in 1962. Leo Castelli also featured several of his works in an exhibition the same year. Moskowitz reflected on the experience, “I remember seeing my window shades in the back room next to a Pollock, which was really exciting….I remember walking into the unemployment office and saying it was okay, that I no longer needed their money.” 

The present lot is an early iteration from the series and features the original, artist's frame. 

Rolf Nelson

A Dealer's Collection

Rolf Nelson at the Rolf Nelson Gallery, ca. 1964–66. The Getty Research Institute, Gift of Rolf G. Nelson, 2010.M.38. Image courtesy Jerry McMillan and Craig Krull Gallery, Santa Monica. © Jerry McMillan

In the mid-1950s when Abstract Expressionism began to give way to Minimalism, Rolf Nelson was there. A resident of Coenties Slip, a rundown seaport turned art colony at the lower tip of Manhattan, Nelson became friendly with fellow inhabitants Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Indiana and Agnes Martin. The cheap rent, large loft spaces and views of the East River made the Slip an attractive locale for artists, writers, and the budding gallerist. In the late 1950s, Nelson was hired by Martha Jackson Gallery and cut his teeth in the contemporary art world alongside Claes Oldenburg and Allan Kaprow. In 1962 he moved across the country to set up the Los Angeles branch of San Francisco Dilexi Gallery, and opened his eponymous gallery on La Cienega Boulevard just one year later. 

Nelson’s impact on the art world still resonates today, and his albeit brief time spent on the West Coast helped launch the careers of many visionary artists.

Nelson quickly established himself as a central figure in the vibrant Southern California art scene, exhibiting both emerging and established artists including Llyn Foulkes, George Herms, Irving Petlin, Robert Indiana, Ron Nagle and H.C. Westermann. In 1965 Nelson hosted the first solo show of Midwestern artist Judy Gerowitz, dubbing her Judy Chicago because of her thick accent. The same year, David Hockney started a portrait of the gallerist (completed in 1968 and published in 1975), a lithograph with pink hand-colored cheeks. The Rolf Nelson Gallery was short-lived however, and in 1966 Nelson moved back to New York to work as a private dealer. Before closing, he held a single-painting exhibition of Georgia O’Keeffe’s masterpiece Sky Above Clouds IV, now at the Art Institute of Chicago. Nelson’s impact on the art world still resonates today, and his albeit brief time spent on the West Coast helped launch the careers of many visionary artists.

The selection offered here comes from Rolf Nelson's personal collection and is comprised of works he admired and gifts from artists he represented, but also called friends.

Works from the Collection of Rolf Nelson