Sotheby’s is to offer for sale a magnificent and encompassing assembly of Post-war & Contemporary art on 26 June. Headlining the auction, Francis Bacon’s Study for Self-Portrait is the penultimate self-portrayal in the artist’s pivotal corpus of intimately scaled portrait heads. Executed in 1980, this deeply reflective painting delivers a remarkable exemplification of the principle engagement of Francis Bacon’s oeuvre: the Self-Portrait. This work is accompanied by an extraordinary group of paintings by Frank Auerbach. Dedicated to portraying the likeness of Ruth Bromberg, these magnificent eight paintings span the entire seventeen years of Ruth’s stalwart dedication as a sitter.
Striking an intriguing parity to these works is Glenn Brown’s pivotal Atom Age Vampire from 1991. Appropriating yet flattening Auerbach’s signature impasto surface this painting heralds the very beginning of Glenn Brown’s obsession with canonical works from art history. What’s more, constituting the most significant work by Brown ever to come to auction, The Tragic Conversion of Salvador Dalí (After John Martin) not only stands at the very apotheosis of the artist’s extraordinary corpus of monumental sci-fi panoramas but also ranks as perhaps the most magnificent work of Glenn Brown’s entire creation.
Complementing these works as highlights of the sale are three outstanding paintings by Gerhard Richter, an iconic cartoon enamel by Roy Lichtenstein, a magnificent Achrome by Manzoni and three major works by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Charting the rise of Basquiat’s meteoric career, these important paintings chronicle the principle years of the artist’s mercurial creativity between 1982 and 1986. The sale also includes a concise yet exceptional group of works by Louise Bourgeois and a comprehensive group of early works by Damien Hirst. Building on the tremendous excitement and eager anticipation accompanying Hirst’s Tate Modern retrospective, this nuanced collection of rare early pieces chart a succinct survey of the artist’s controversial rise to prominence: works include a Medicine Cabinet from the artist’s very first series, iconic Spot, Spin and Butterfly Paintings and an early Pill-Painting.
Outstandingly rich and inclusive, the Evening Auction traverses a fascinating and truly international course across the past seven decades of art history. Ranging from early iconic works by Louise Bourgeois and Joseph Beuys, IKB works by Yves Klein, two exquisite mobiles by Alexander Calder through to 1960s silkscreens by Warhol, the sale concludes with recent works by Chris Wool, Urs Fischer and Allora & Calzadilla. Illustrated: Roy Lichtenstein 1923 – 1997 GIRL IN MIRROR 1964 est £2200,000 – £2800,000