Bonhams is all set for Monday’s sale of important works by key artists of the twentieth century – including the only portrait Auerbach ever made of Freud –, estimated to make £1,853,000-2,725,000
According to Benedetta Ghione-Webb, Head of Sale, each lot has been ‘carefully selected because it shows the very best of the artist’. Pride of place will be Frank Auerbach’s 1960 portrait of the late Lucian Freud, which, despite the fact that the two artists were close friends, was the one ever made. Having remained in private hands since its purchase in 1975, this is the first time that the work has been exhibited in public or come up for auction. Estimated at £300,000–500,000, this is, of course, the perfect time for such a work to come to auction, thanks to the major exhibition of Lucian Freud’s Portraits taking place at the National Portrait Gallery. Described by Anthony McNerney, Head of Department, as ‘a particularly unique artwork’, it provides the perfect counterpoint to such an exhibition – ‘a rare glimpse of the artist as sitter.’
Other highlights of the sale include: a diptych of cibachrome prints by the newly-late Mike Kelley, juxtaposing a plaster statue of astronaut John Glenn with a chainsaw statue of Big Foot; a 1964 canvas work by the even-more-recently-late Antoni Tapies, in which the torse of a female figure has been built up using sand and cement; Requiem – The Dream is Dead, a 2007 silver skull by Damien Hirst, the artist about to stage a major retrospective at Tate Modern; one of Richard Prince’s earliest Girlfriend ektacolour photographs; Jack Pierson’s 2004 You Rotten Prick, spelled out with mismatched signage letters salvaged from derelict businesses; a surreal sculpture by Urs Fischer, endowing a chair with a mouth and anus and Chris Burden’s giant Police uniform – a symbol of power blown up to a size that is in equal measure comic and terrifying.
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