Considered one of the top “pop” artists in the world, Steve Kaufman’s silk-screened canvases should instantly bring to mind the work of the most famous pop artist of all time, Andy Warhol. This is no coincidence. For the better part of a decade, the young Kaufman was a friend and apprentice of the great Warhol, gaining such trust from both the artist and his supporters that Kaufman finished a number of Warhol’s incomplete commissions after the master’s passing. Yet while the influence is undeniable, Kaufman’s work takes the genre’s sophistication a step further, bringing the image into a greater context through a sort of “collage philosophy” that’s apparent in the offered work.
Kaufman’s work reposes in such collections as Calvin Klein’s and Steve Rubell’s, among many other renowned patrons As well, he’s provided commissioned pieces for Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and the Vincent van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
In 1996 Kaufman was commissioned to create limited edition series of Muhammad Ali portraits titled “The Greatest.” Ali himself said of the series, “The style and dynamic color that Steve Kaufman used in these portraits really captures the memory of my boxing career. These are the best I’ve ever seen.” Kaufman creates each print individually with a combination of silk screening and hand-painted touches, allowing for each one to express a greater sense of immediacy and fluid meaning. Offered here is number 23 in the limited edition of 25 as this is an artist proof (AP). Add Ali’s perfect felt tip “10” autograph in gold paint pen – a conspicuous 5-1/2″ long signature – to the exquisite composite, and there’s rendered one of the finest tributes to this sporting hero in the collecting world. Kaufman also added his signature “SAK” and the edition number to the back of the canvas. The display is as it would come from the artist – stretched across a traditional wood setup with only minor creases (that don’t affect the aesthetic quality). The offering measures 31″ x 45.”
Authentication: JSA Auction House Letter.