The Dr. Martyna Miskinis Collection

As a medical doctor caught between converging Soviet and German forces in her home country of Lithuania during World War II, Dr. Martyna Miskinis fled the country eventually emigrating to the United States in 1949. Dr. Miskinis was awarded her medical degree during the first year of the War in 1939. In an effort to escape the military occupation of her home country and aid those in need, she worked as a doctor in European refugee camps in Germany.  Her humanitarian efforts led her to Dresden, where she narrowly escaped the infamous bombing that would contribute to the end of the War. Four years later, she would move to Detroit, become accredited to practice medicine in the United States, and open her own family practice.

If the early life of Dr. Miskinis was contextualized by the turmoil of Europe, her later life can be characterized by the devotion to her family life, patients and the arts. She was an avid member and supporter of both the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Smithsonian Museum’s Archives of American Art. Dr. Miskinis also purchased art from local galleries and dealers, amassing an expansive collection of works by contemporary artists. 

The Miskinis collection privileges formal intensity while maintaining a refreshing light-heartedness. Warhol’s portraits and Flowers have long been lauded as central to American Pop, a movement that favored the repetition of popular images saturated in bright hues. Alex Katz’s Pink Petunia #1 appears to be a simple rendering of a flower, but unfolds as a complicated play on perspective. The color and line quality of the waving figure in the rare Calder gouache is so direct that the viewer is easily distracted from the nuanced line-play that traces the features of the protagonist. Finally, an early Michelangelo Pistoletto mirror similarly captures the viewer in a visual double entendre, both as actor and audience.

A highlight in the provenance of the collection is the J.L. Hudson Gallery, the modern art wing of the eponymous department store. Headed by Albert Landry, a former director at Galerie Villand-Galanis and gallery owner in New York, the department store exhibited works by Andy Warhol, Emil Nolde, Albert Giacometti, Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Hans Hoffman and many other important artists. At a time when department stores were experimenting with bringing high art to their audience, Landry’s selections were remarkably prescient.   

If a collection is a representation of the collector, then Dr. Miskinis made every effort to celebrate the joy of life in her home. We are deeply thankful to her children for introducing us to the legacy of their mother.     

Andy Warhol 1928–1987

Born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to an impoverished immigrant family, Andy Warhol became an icon of the Pop Art movement and one of the most prolific artists of his time. Though he suffered from physical ailments throughout childhood, he went on to study fine arts at the Carnegie Institute of Technology and shortly thereafter moved to New York in 1949. His career in commercial illustration took off creating whimsical designs for Glamour, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and The New Yorker magazines. In the early 1950s, he began exhibiting his work in the city and received his first solo show at the Hugo Gallery in 1952 featuring his earliest depictions of actress Marilyn Monroe.

The 1960s ushered in a wave of his iconic work pioneering the dialogue between high and low art. His screen printed, painterly images established his reputation commenting on popular culture with subject matter including celebrities, politics, advertisements, and parties. In 1964, Warhol rented a studio that became known as “The Factory” where his work was mass produced by a team of assistants. During the middle of the decade, Warhol focused on filmmaking and performance art, creating approximately 600 films. He later collaborated with musicians including The Rolling Stones and The Velvet Underground, published several books, produced televisions shows, and founded Interview Magazine in 1967. After experiencing a near-fatal shooting at The Factory, he became more reserved and his body of work shifted into commissioned portraits, and in his final years he focused on religious subject matter. Andy Warhol died in New York City in 1987 after facing postoperative complications.

A few years following his death, The Andy Warhol Museum was opened in Pittsburgh and in 2002 Warhol’s achievements were honored with an 18-inch stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service.

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Upcoming Lots Andy Warhol

Auction Results Andy Warhol