The market continues to storm ahead, ravenous for great works by great artists. This sale – one of the most exciting London sales in a decade – provides plenty to feed that appetite, with definitive works by Bacon and Doig presenting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for collectors.” says; Alex Branczik, Head of Contemporary Art, London
Next week, at its flagship Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 30 June, Sotheby’s London will present some 59 works encompassing the great names of the recent past and present – Bacon, Warhol, Klein and Doig – as well as some of the most exciting artists in their nascent years on the secondary market including Cindy Serman, Gilbert and George and other leading artists. In total, the evening sale is expected to achieve in excess of £68 million ($109m). Please see information about each of the highlights below.
FRANCIS BACON Three Studies for Portrait of George Dyer (on light ground) – est. £15-20m A museum-quality work, and one of the very best of all Bacon’s triptychs, this is full of the painterly exuberance that marks out the artist as one of the greatest painters of the 20th century. Rarely seen in public it has remained in the same collection since 1970, and has never before been offered at auction. The painting depicts George Dyer the love of Bacon’s life and a defining inspiration for his work – who, according to popular myth, Bacon first met when he broke into the artist’s home in 1963. Hailing from the East End of London, Dyer had received little formal education, and served several short prison terms for theft and petty crime. This is one of very few lifetime depictions of Dyer who, in 1971, was found dead in the Parisian hotel suite he was sharing with Bacon just hours before the opening of the artist’s major retrospective at the Grand Palais where this work was exhibited. In all likelihood, this is the first painting for which Bacon used the legendary photographs by his friend John Deakin as source material for a painting of George Dyer. Bacon famously rarely painted from live models.
ANDY WARHOL Dollar Sign (Yellow) – est. £3-4m One of the most instantly recognisable Warholian themes, the dollar sign provides an insight into the artist’s enduring fascination with American commodity culture, and into the artist’s own apotheosis from unknown commercial artist to international high-art superstar. This monumental in scale work, Dollar Sign (Yellow), executed in 1981, is rendered with the immaculate clarity of Warhol’s Silkscreen technique, which had reached the peak of perfection by this mature phase of the artist’s career.
YVES KLEIN Untitled Blue Monochrome (IKB 271) – est. £2.5-3.5m. A flawless example of Klein’s monochrome paintings in his trademark celestial IKB Blue
An endeavour to master a physical manifestation of infinity, the work expunges any trace of the human hand – it is an untouched and pristine evocation of infinite space. Made it 1960, the artist dedicated the work to its first owner, the Italian artist Gianni Bertini.
PETER DOIG Country-rock (wing-mirror) is one of the most important works by the artist ever to appear on the market, est. in the region of £9m
Depicting a much-loved Toronto landmark: the rainbow tunnel which mysteriously first appeared alongside the city’s Don Valley Parkway in 1972 when the artist was growing up in Canada One of three works from the artists legendary series of Country-Rock paintings, and the first to appear at auction Has remained in the same collection since 1999 – the year it was painted.
CINDY SHERMAN Untitled #145 One of the most important works ever to come to auction from Sherman’s theatrically grotesque Fairy Tales series created for Vanity Fair in 1985. Depicting a central facet of the fairy tale genre – metamorphosis – Sherman presents herself as a waxen, androgynous being who appears to melt and morph into the rocky ground. Has been shown in nine international exhibitions. Another work from the series, Untitled #153 made a record price for the artist at auction in 2010 and is now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
GILBERT & GEORGE Bummed, An apocalyptic vision of a city from the artists’ definitive Dirty Words Pictures series which featured in the acclaimed exhibition of the same name at the Serpentine Gallery 2002. Only two works from the series have come to auction before Executed in 1977, the year the anti-establishment punk rock movement was born and a year of political and social unrest in England. Gilbert recalls: ‘England was so totally run down in 1975, 1976, 1977, it was totally anarchic, with big piles of rubbish lying in Leicester Square, with super-flies and super-rats…’ Other works from the series are held in prestigious museum collections including the Tate, London; the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; the Arts Council Collection, London and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Est. £700,000-900,000.
All the works from Sotheby’s Evening & Day Auctions of Contemporary Art will be on view to the public at New Bond Street from Friday 27 June until noon on Monday 30th June