Art News & Views

Auction Reports : what's forthcoming

Forthcoming Auctions


Rare 1890s Munch Masterpiece to go under hammer

May 4
Edvard Munch's Fertility (estimate: $25- 35 million) - one of the most important works by the artist remaining in private hands  will be the cover lot of the upcoming Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on May 4. Painted in the late 1890s, Fertility was originally purchased in 1902 by Dr. Max Linde, the German patron responsible for helping Munch establish his career in Germany. Since 1918, the large-format painting has remained in private collections in Scandinavia, with periodic loans to prestigious museum and gallery exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States. The upcoming sale marks the first occasion that the work has ever been offered at public auction. A controversial figure whose ground-breaking style was at times harshly received by critics in his native Norway, Munch is now recognized as one of the most important artists of the Modern era. Though he had not yet joined the Expressionist movement at the time he painted Fertility, the work represents a pivotal moment in Munch's journey toward capturing universal truths in his art.

Yves Klein in New York

May 11
Christie's will offer a large-scale masterpiece by Yves Klein at the auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art in New York on the evening of 11 May 2010. ANT 93, Le Buffle (“The Buffalo”), 1960-61, s a monumental work from the artist's celebrated Anthropométrie series that stands over 9 feet wide (70 x 110 3/8 in. / 177.8 x 280.4 cm.). Offered at auction for the first time, the work is expected to realise in the region of $10 million. The sale coincides with the first major American retrospective of the artist's work for 30 years, Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers which will be held at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., from 20 May to 12 September and The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, from 23 October to 13 February 2011. The strength of Klein's market was demonstrated at the London sales held this February, where the works of Yves Klein achieved a combined total of $25,576,169, with $15,988,406 sold at Christie's alone. The particularly buoyant results that have been realised by Klein reflect the current wave of vested interest in the Art Zero Movement, of which ANT 93, Le Buffle (“The Buffalo”) is a perfect example.

The Michael Crichton Collection

May 11
Finally, the date has arrived. The much awaited Michel Crichton collection, will be on offer this month. Boasting of 50 highlights with key works by Andreas Gursky, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Claes Oldenburg, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Mark Tansey, Wayne Thiebaud and Andy Warhol, this will be the first time that works of these masters will come under the hammer as part of a single collection. With the amount of interest the public exhibitions of this collection, that includes Jasper Jones' iconic painting of the American Stars and Stripes, in March, this is the most awaited auction of May.

Maxfield Parrish's most significant work ever assembled at auction

May 20
The highlight of the Important American Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture auction  in New York will be the most significant collection of paintings and illustrations by the beloved American artist Maxfield Parrish ever to be offered at auction. Major works from all periods of Parrish's long career as an illustrator and painter are represented within the group, including Daybreak (1922), Parrish's most celebrated painting. The complete collection of twelve paintings and illustrations is estimated to exceed $15 million.

Chinese Classical Paintings and Calligraphy

May 28
Christie's Hong Kong will hold its Spring sale of Fine Chinese Modern Paintings and Fine Chinese Classical Paintings and Calligraphy on May 28 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, showcasing over 400 rare and exceptional works from the masters, valued in excess of HK$350 million (US$45 million). Steeped in philosophy, religion and literature, Chinese paintings are unique in fusing poetry, calligraphy and art throughout the ages. The Fine Chinese Classical Paintings & Calligraphy sale will feature important works by artists active before the late Qing Dynasty (19th Century), including Ming Dynasty painters and calligraphers such as Wen Zhengming, Dong Qichang, Lan Ying and Shen Zhou; important Qing artists such as Hua Yan and Yuan Yao. The Fine Chinese Modern Paintings sale will present a body of magnificent works by renowned 19th and 20th Century masters such as Qi Baishi, Xu Beihong, Fu Baoshi, Zhang Daqian,Lin Fengmian, Gao Jianfu, Gao Qifeng.

Finest & Rarest Wines in Hong Kong in Spring 2010

May 29
An outstanding array of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne from elite vintages and impeccable cellars, with excellent provenance and in superb condition will be presented on May 29 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. The sale will be divided into two sessions at 10:30am in the morning and 2:30pm in the afternoon. Highlights include The Liquid Gold Collection which provides a unique opportunity to acquire Château d'Yquem vintages spanning three centuries, from 1825 to 2005 (estimate on request) and an extensive selection of Château Lafite-Rothschild featuring a very rare Double Magnums, Jeroboams and Imperials of 1959, Jeroboams of 1961 and various formats of the stellar 1982 vintage. The sale will feature over 350 lots, which are expected to realize in the region of HK$30 million.

Rare work by 19th century Javanese artist Raden Saleh

Hong Kong Spring 2010 Sales, May 30
Javanese landscape, with tigers listening to the sound of a travelling group (estimate: HK$10,000,000  14,000,000 /US$1,282,000  1,795,000), has an impeccable provenance dating back to 1849, when the Raden Saleh gave this painting to his patron His Highness Ernest II, Duke and ruler of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and brother to Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. Over the next 156 years, the work was with the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family and in a private European collection until 2005.

In 2005 the painting was offered at auction but was withdrawn due to its similarities to another work attributed to Raden Saleh that had sold in 1999. The work sold in 1999 presented a broadly similar composition but with marked differences, especially in the execution of the foreground and inscribed with the artist's name incorrectly spelt 'Raden Salh'. Subsequently a 'Raden Saleh Colloquium' was held to compare the two works, conducted in London in two sessions in 2008 and 2009, under an independent legal arbitrator. Both sessions reaffirmed the authenticity of this current lot and that it was painted by the artist in Dresden in 1849. As works by Raden Saleh are rarely offered at auction, this particular masterpiece, with its proven authenticity and royal lineage, offers international collectors an opportunity not to be missed.

Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

May 31
The 14th Hong Kong sale of Imperial Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art illustrates is the result of in-depth reserches into this rich and vibrant area of Asian Art. The sale is tailored to the specific tastes of the world's most discerning collectors. The top lot of this sale, a magnificent Imperial early Ming gilt-bronze figure of Amitayus, is an exceptional example from a group of exceedingly fine gilt-bronze sculptures commissioned by the Imperial court during a brief period in the early 15th century, during the Yongle (1403-1435) and Xuande reigns. Emperor Yongle actively courted Tibetan hierarchs and persuaded them to visit China, resulting in the development of Chinese style gilt-bronze Buddhist images. This figure of Amitayus, the 'Buddha of Infinite Life', is one of the most significant large imperial Ming gilt-bronzes of its type. The Imperial ceramics offered at Christie's in spring 2010 celebrate the superb enameled works from three generations of Qing dynasty emperors: Kangxi (r. 1662- 1722), Yongzheng (r. 1723-1735) and Qianlong (r. 1736-1795). Ceramics from the Kangxi period are renowned for their innovative style combined with the adoption of techniques developed during the Ming period. A good example is the elegantly shaped baluster green and yellow 'dragon' vase from the Kangxi period (estimate: HK$7,000,000-9,000,000 / US$900,000-1,200,000).

Rhino Horn Carvings

May 31
Following the success of Important Chinese Rhinoceros Horn Carvings from the Songzhutang Collection Part I sold in May 2008, Christie's Hong Kong is all set to offer a further selection of 30 magnificent rhinoceros horn carvings from Part II of the collection, 'The Pine and Bamboo Studio'. One of the finest known private collections, passionately assembled by a connoisseur over 30 years, this auction provides institutions and private collectors with a historic opportunity to obtain exceedingly fine, museum-quality, examples of this treasured and honoured art form. Unique in their designs and execution, the works illustrates a range of forms, motifs and techniques. The rich variety of subjects depicted comprise landscapes and figures, plants and insects, fish and birds, as well as scenes from daily life, plays on auspicious subjects, and themes taken from literary works of the time. Spanning the 16th, 17th and 18th century, with estimates ranging from $6,500 to $520,000, the collection is expected to realise in excess of $3,900,000.

For centuries, rhinoceros horn carvings have been considered among the most valued of ancient Chinese works of art; combining great rarity, skill and beauty with socio-cultural and historic significance. Highly prized for medicinal and mystical powers, the horn material was extremely precious and expensive to obtain, making carvings such as the present examples very difficult to acquire and commissions rare. Native Chinese rhinoceroses were extinct by 500BC and the majority of surviving horns were special imports, brought as exotic gifts from Africa, India, Java and Malaya and fashioned by Chinese craftsmen for emperors and the social elite. Today, surviving examples are scarce and highly sought-after, with a maximum of 4,000 works believed to exist.

Leading highlights from the collection include themes which are seldom seen on rhinoceros horn carvings, such as an exceptionally rare, crisply carved, 'Hundred Boys' libation cup, depicting boys occupied with various playful pursuits in a landscape scene (estimate: HK$3,500,000-4,000,000/US$450,000-520,000), dated to the late Ming dynasty, early 17th century.


Henri Matisse's Emotional Celebration of the First Bastille Day on sale

May 5
The evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York will feature Henri Matisse's spectacular Bouquet pour le 14 Juillet 1919, the artist's emotional celebration of the first Bastille Day following World War I (est. $18/25 million). The present work also heralds the fresh and colorful style that would define Matisse's career from 1919 onward, and signals the artist's renewed sense of optimism following one of the most troubling periods of his career. The large and ambitious masterpiece (45 1/2 x 35 in, 116 x 89 cm) was presented by the artist to his dealers Bernheim-Jeune shortly after its completion and it remained in Bernheim's family collection until it was sold at auction in France in the early 1980s. At that time, the picture achieved a record price, and since then, it has been in the same private collection for over a quarter of a century. Prior to exhibition and sale in New York, the painting will be shown in Hong Kong and London.

Spring Sales of Impressionist and Modern Art

May 5 - 6
Works by a range of artists including Monet, Picasso, Matisse, Feininger, and Modigliani, many from esteemed private collections and estates are fresh to the market. Representations of female beauty feature prominently among the sale highlights. Pablo Picasso's Femme au Grand Chapeau, Buste, 1965, (est. $8/12 million) is inspired by Jacqueline Roque, the last love of his life, who he married in 1961. Though Jacqueline never posed formally as her husband's model, her essence permeates his later work. The love that Picasso felt for his wife is reflected in the passionate vitality and excitement radiating from the work. Amedeo Modigliani's beautiful Jeanne Hébuterne au Collier has not appeared at auction in nearly 70 years (est. $8/12 million). Painted in 1916-17 at the beginning of their relationship, the work is believed to be the very first portrait of Modigliani's future wife and muse, Jeanne Hébuterne. By the time he started depicting Jeanne, the artist had developed his mature style, and his portraits of her from the last three years of his life are among his greatest masterpieces, including the world record ($31.4 million) achieved by Sotheby's New York in 2004. Kees Van Dongen's Jeune Fille au Chapeau Fleuri, painted 1907-09, will also be featured (est. $4.5/6.5 million). His elegant portraits became coveted status symbols among the grandes dames of Paris.

The Evening Sale also contains great examples of sculpture. An exceptionally rare lifetime cast of perhaps the most celebrated sculpture of all time, Auguste Rodin's Le Penseur (conceived 1880-81) (est. $4/6 million), will also be offered. Created in the same scale as his original clay model, this bronze bears a beautifully modulated patina that was probably applied by the artist's preferred patineur, Jean-François Limet. A cast of the same size, date and foundry is in the Musée Rodin, Paris.

Masterworks by Rembrandt Bugatti from the S. Joel Schur Collection

May 5-6
Another highlight of the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening and Day sales will be the Property of the S. Joel Schur Collection-- perhaps the finest collection of masterpieces by Rembrandt Bugatti in private hands. Bugatti was a singular figure whose vision was devoted to unique and powerfully modern sculptures of exotic animals. The group comprises eleven sculptures to be offered in both the Evening and Day sales, and will feature such iconic masterworks as a Babouin Sacré Hamadryas (est. $2/3 million), a male and female Lion and Lionne de Nubie (est. $1.5/2 million and $1.2/1.8 million, respectively) and a Grande Girafe Tête Basse (est. $1/1.5 million).

Iconic Warhol self partrait on sale

May 12
An iconic and rare Self Portrait by Andy Warhol, executed in 1986 just prior to his unexpected death the following year, will be offered by Sotheby's on the evening of 12 May 2010 in a sale of Contemporary Art. The painting is from Warhol's final series of Self Portraits - widely acknowledged as the most important of his career. The monumental canvas, measuring 108 x 108 in., is one of only a handful executed by the artist and one of only two that are known to be privately held. Estimated to sell for $10/15 million, the painting will be shown in Hong Kong and London prior to its exhibition and sale in New York.

This superb Self Portrait is a rare example of an important theme in the artist's oeuvre: the complicated dichotomy between the public and private persona. From the outset of his Pop Art career, Warhol's use of popular media images of celebrities in his 1962-63 portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Elizabeth Taylor was a vehicle for exploring themes as diverse as individual mortality and the universality of popular culture. Almost immediately, Warhol became a public celebrity in his own right and self-portraiture joined his subject matter in 1963. Content and painter were never more intricately linked in the history of self-portraiture, and his own persona became the most potent avenue for exploring celebrity, vulnerability and death.

Rare Masterwork by Brice Marden

May 12
Sotheby's will offer the most important work by Brice Marden ever to appear at auction, Cold Mountain I (Path). Executed in 1988-89, the masterwork was the first in the artist's acclaimed series of six monumental (108 x 144 in.) canvases named for Han Shan, known as Cold Mountain, a legendary 8th or 9th century Chinese poet. The series marked the culmination of Marden's journey toward a new style of painting leading away from his monochromatic, multi-panel, beeswax paintings of the 1960s and 1970s. It is the only painting from the series of six than has ever appeared at auction and is estimated to sell for $10/15 million when it is offered in Sotheby's spring Evening Sale of Contemporary Art in New York.

Ethnic works of art from the studio of Enrico Donati

May 14
Comprising approximately forty lots of works from Donati's New York studio housed in
Gainsborough Building on Central Park South, the sale will be exhibited alongside the various owners sale of American Indian Art at Sotheby's New York galleries from 8 May. The actual sale is scheduled to take place at 2 pm on May 14. Leading the selection of works is a rare Eskimo Polychrome Wood Mask, Yup'ik or Anvik (est. $300/500,000). The mask would likely have been used for both festival dancing and shamanistic activities. However its specific meaning remains an enigma, the mystery of which is part of the strong attraction Donati and his Surrealist compatriots had for Eskimo art during the middle of the 20th century. In his studio, Donati mixed Eskimo masks and kachina figures with his own work, works of his contemporaries, found objects, stones, fossils, and the mystical mandragora root to create an entirely new world, and a fountain of inspiration. In the Smithsonian Institution of oral history, Donati discussed his studio, “Then I have surrounded myself, as you see, by my stones and masks and objects and things so that I'm absolutely distant from what goes on. I believe it's another world. This is my world and the one outside I don't even think about when I work. I don't recognize it.”

African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art on sale

May 14
Sotheby's spring sale of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art will offer collectors a selection of tribal arts from important American and international private collections. The auction comprises an especially rich offering of Oceanic works of art, many of which are icons of the field. Prior to the auction, the works, which are estimated to bring more than $5.1 million, will be exhibited to the public at Sotheby's New York galleries beginning 8 May 2010.

The auction will comprise works from the JOLIKA Collection of Marcia and John Friede, led by the sale's star lot, a Biwat (Mundugumor) Male Ancestor Spirit Figure from a Sacred Flute, wusear, Papua New Guinea (est. $1/1.5 million). No figure as complete or of such high quality is known ever to have appeared at auction.

Among the African works on offer is a Banda Ancestor Figure from the Ubangi Region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that is attributed to the Master of Mobaye (est. $250/400,000). For a traditionally anonymous art form such as African Art, the notion of an individual artist is rare, and only a handful of artists are known by name. Only eight figures have been attributed to the Master of Mobaye, who was active in the second half of the 19th century. The Pre-Columbian section features a rare Taino Wood Snuffer, Haiti, ca. AD 1300-1500, (est. $80/120,000), one of only three known examples, as well as A Large Vera Cruz seated figure, Classic, ca. AD 450-650, of the El Zapotal style, a form which rarely appears at auction (est. $125/150,000).

Phillips de Pury

Hasley Minor Collection on sale

May 13-14
The Halsey Minor Collection will be presented as a single owner evening sale on May 13 at 7 pm. Immediately following the sale will be PDP's Contemporary Art Part I auction. Additional works from the collection will appear May 14 in the Contemporary Art Part II day sale and in the Design auction on June 9th. The collection comprises a total of 96 works. Two of the important Highlights of the sale are Richard Prince's Nurse in Hollywood and Marc Newson's Lockhead Lounge.

Other contemporary art highlights include John Baldessari's Pink Pig (1996), estimated at $400,000  600,000; Walton Ford's The Loss of the Lisbon Rhinoceros (2008), estimated at $550,000  750,000; and Mark Grotjahn's Untitled (White Butterfly) (in two parts) estimated at $800,000  $1,200,000; Florian Maier- Aichen's Above June Lake (2005), estimated at $100,000  150,000 and Takashi Murakami's important, Po + Ku Surrealism Mr. Dob (1996) estimated at $700,000  $1,000,000.


Oswald Mosley's Wine for sale

May 13
Ten bottles of wine previously owned by the 1930s British Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley will be on sale in the Fine and Rare Wines auction at Bonham's, New Bond Street.

Mosley was a British politician primarily known for being the founder of the British Union of Fascists. He was married twice first to Lady Cynthia Curzon, and then to Diana Guinness neé Mitford with whom he had several children. After WWII Mosley moved to Ireland where the wines have since been kept. They were stored at the Bishop's Palace, Clonfert, Co. Galway and Ileclash, Co. Cork until 1963 and then at Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford, home of the Dukes of Devonshire until the present. There they were forgotten about until their recent rediscovery, and they are now being offered for auction by Mosley's grandson. The wines on offer are: Four bottles of Volnay 1937 (estimate £160-220), three bottles of Chateau Cheval Blanc 1934 (estimate £300-360), a bottle of Château Cheval Blanc 1952 (estimate £200-260), a bottle of Château Mouton Rothschild 1952 (estimate £200-260), a bottle of Château Mouton Rothschild 1953 (estimate £400-480).

Biggest work by Bouzianis on sale

May 18
The biggest work ever to appear at auction by the major Greek expressionist painter Georgios Bouzianis entitled 'Frau mit Tisch und Stuhl', measuring 138 x 105 cm, is expected to sell for £200,000  300,000 at Bonhams' 16th Greek Sale at New Bond Street. The biannual sale features a mixture of paintings and sculpture by some of the most famous 19th century, modern and contemporary Greek artists. 145 lots are being sold with prices ranging from £2,000 - £300,000.

This sale - the first Greek Sale of 2010 - follows last year's remarkable performance totalling over £7 million, which further established Bonhams place at the forefront of the Greek art market in the UK. Among the most important lots is Matins by Nikiforos Lytras (estimate £200,000  300,000), which has been shown in four exhibitions worldwide including the artist's retrospective show in 1933; a beautiful seascape by Ioannis Poulakas entitled Sailing ship and steamer (estimate £150,000  200,000); and St Marko Church, Tinos by Nickolaos Lytras (estimate £150,000  200,000), which was the image used by the National Gallery of Athens to illustrate his retrospective exhibition in 2008, and features on this sale's catalogue cover.

The auction also features outstanding sculpture by Costas Coulendianos, Georgios Zongolopoulos and Clearhos Loukopoulos.

Vivienne Westwood fashion image to sell

May 20
A photographic commission for Vivienne Westwood's On Liberty collection 1994-5, Donut, Kym, for Vivienne Westwood, 1994, by Dutch duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, which was used in a calendar and advertising campaign, is to be sold for £12,000  15,000 in the first auction for Bonhams new photography department on 20th May 2010 at New Bond Street.

Three images by the leading American fashion photographer Lillian Bassman, who is attracting attention following an exhibition at Wapping Project Bankside, and a forthcoming show at Paul Smith, will also be on sale. The photographs include Jean Shrimpton, 1955 (estimate £3,000  5,000); Nylon: A Natural Traveller, Margie Cato (estimate £2,000 - 3,000), which was taken for Harper's Bazaar; and Park Avenue Woman, Mary Jane Russell (estimate £2,000  3,000).

The top lot is a portrait by the internationally renowned German photographer Thomas Ruff: Portrat (V.Lieberman), 1998. With a pre-sale estimate of £25,000  35,000, the portrait is an excellent example of the precise, tonally exact imagery that Ruff, and his fellow students under Bernd Becher, are famous for.

Other important lots include Thomas Struth's The Ma Family, Shanghai, 1996 (estimate £12,000  18,000); Rene Burri's well-known Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, 1960 (estimate £4,000  6,000) notable here for its unusually large size, rarely seen at auction; and Femme Dans la Baignoire, 2003 (£7,000  9,000) by leading Finnish photographer Elina Brotherus.

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