Art News & Views

What Happened and What's Forthcoming

Post Auctions



$8.2 Million in Rare World Coins Sell In New York 

January 2-3

Rare gold led the way at the recent World & Ancient Coins Auction realizing over $8.2 million in New York. Over 93% of the lots in this auction have been sold, followed by post-auction buys.

The star of this auction was a Chinese 10kg gold 100000 Yuan 2008. Only 29 examples of this enormous, 321-ounce, gold coin were minted, with this example the only one allocated to the US market. Although this piece did not sell during the floor auction, an astute collector quickly snapped it up when it became available after the auction.

South American gold shone brightly once again. A quintet of Brazilian coins fetched prices in excess of $50,000, with top honors going to a Pedro Regent Prince 4400 Reis counterstamped over a Portuguese 4 Cruzados, which realized $103,500. Apparently there are only two examples of this piece, and the other is housed in a museum and nowhere near as nice as this AU coin. Equalling the aforementioned at $103,500 was an 1813J 8 Escudos from Provincias de Rio de la Plata. This coin was Argentina's first independent gold issue, and is considered one of the greatest South American rarities.

Three Greek coins shared top honors among ancient coin offerings in this auction. An extremely rare silver Carthaginian Second Punic War issue shekel from the time of Hannibal (221-201 BC), perhaps one of five or fewer in existence, sold for $46,000. The possibility exists that this famous type was an early attempt at portraiture, which is remarkable considering that no other portraits of the great Carthaginian general survive from his lifetime. Selling for the same amount was a beautiful gold Mnaieion or Oktadrachm of Ptolemy VI-Ptolemy VIII. NGC graded this coin Choice Mint State, with both strike and surface rated 5/5. This is the highest grade possible for any ancient coin from NGC! Finally, also selling for $46,000 was a silver tetradrachm of Gela, ca. 415-405 BC. This remarkable die pairing, featuring unique types on both obverse and reverse, appears to be the work of a master die engraver and is highly prized.



Banksy's Original Art Work For Greenpeace Campaign Poster Makes £78,000

January 11

An original art work by the legendary street artist, Banksy, for a Greenpeace Save or Delete campaign photographic poster, sold for £78,000 on 11 January 2011 at Bonhams, New Bond Street, as part of its Urban Art sale. The unique piece which was given to the vendor by the artist himself, was among a host of Banksy's that fetched top prices in the sale.

It was commissioned by Greenpeace to highlight the problems of global deforestation as part of their Save or Delete campaign and features some of the main characters from Disney's The Jungle Book transposed onto a picture of a devastated forest. Intended for use on posters, billboards and postcards, it was printed, but never put into circulation because of the protectionist policies at Disney. It is believed that the vendor of this lot is donating a percentage of the proceeds to Greenpeace.

Other Banksy highlights in the sale included Portrait of an Artist, 1998, believed to be the first work that he created for sale, which sold for £60,000; Everytime I Make Love To You I Think Of Someone Else, 2003, which made £42,000; Balloon Girl, 2004, which fetched £12,600; and Rude Copper, 2002, which sold for £9,600.

The sale saw an enormous turn-out and competitive bidding (both on the phone and in the room) following Bonhams' two-year break from holding Urban Art auctions.

Other works to achieve excellent prices included a performance piece (lot 18) created by American graffiti artist, Futura 2000, for punk rock band The Clash'sCombat Rock tour, which sold for £38,400 (estimate £15,000  20,000); French artist JR's Street Kid, Favela Morro da Providencia, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, 2008, which made £31,200 (estimate £15,000  20,000); and the catalogue's cover lot, Shepard Fairey's Peace Goddess on Wood, 2008, which fetched £27,600 (estimate £8,000  12,000). As a whole, Urban Art Sale Realises £455,760 in Total With 91% Sold by Value.


Mao by Warhol drew the attention

January 11-12

A Warhol portrait of Mao punctured by two bullet holes clinched the limelight at auction from Dennis hopper collection. It realised $302,500 setting a record for any single print Mao in world auction.The sale, in total has realised $3,427,413, selling 93% by lot and 96% by value. Another single print by Warhol of Marilyn Monroe was sold at $206,500. The Interiors sale featured near about 300 works of art from Hopper's personal collection, including works by major artists such as Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp, Gerhard Richter, Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, Kenny Scharf, and fellow actor Viggo Mortensen, among others.

is Warhol's Mao: one plate, a full-sheet, framed screenprint of the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong from Warhol's iconic series of the 1970s was accessorized with two bullet holes  the result of a particularly wild night when Hopper mistook the portrait on his wall for Mao himself and shot at it. As the story goes, Hopper later showed the bullet punctures to his friend Warhol, and the pair agreed to call the work a collaboration, with Warhol drawing circles around the two holes and labeling them “warning shot” and “bullet hole”.

Cathy Elkies, Director of Iconic Collections at Christie's comments: “Dennis Hopper's refined taste and curatorial eye resulted in an illustrious sale at Christie's. The unique and varied Collection exhibits that clients aren't simply wooed by the art; they are intrigued by the stories behind the works.”

Forthcoming auctions


Gauguin's Sunflower to create an impression

February 9

The Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Auction and the sale of The Art of the Surreal will take place on 9 February 2011 with a pre-sale estimate of £73,880,000 to £109,060,000 (corresponding estimate in 2010: £56.5 million to £80.8 million). This is the second highest pre-sale estimate for the February Impressionist sales at Christie's in London.

The leading highlight of the sales is Nature morte à “L'Espérance”, an historically important still life painted by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) in 1901 while he was living in Tahiti. The work has been exhibited at over 20 major museum exhibitions including the artist's first landmark Retrospective at the Grand Palais, Paris, in 1906. It is expected to realise £7 million to £10 million. Four works to be sold by the Art Institute of Chicago are led by Nature morte à la guitar (rideaux rouge) by Georges Braque (1882-1963) (estimate: £3.5 million to £5.5 million).

The Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale will offer 46 lots with a total pre-sale value of £54,680,000 to £80,960,000. Other than Nature morte à “L'Espérance”, the auction will also include works by other leading artists of the field including Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Edgar Degas and Fernand Léger, among others.

Other leading highlights include 4 works to be sold by the Art Institute of Chicago led by Nature morte à la guitare (rideaux rouge), 1938, by Georges Braque (1882-1963) (estimate: £3.5 million to £5.5 million). This painting was formerly in the possession of the celebrated collectors Mr. and Mrs. Albert D. Lasker, the parents of Mrs. Brody who owned Pablo Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves and Bust which sold at Christie's New York in May 2010 for $106.5 million.The other paintings offered by the Art Institute of Chicago are Sur l'impériale traversant la Seine, an early painting executed in Paris by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) in 1901 (estimate: £2 million to £3 million); Femme au fauteuil, 1919, a striking portrait by Henri Matisse (estimate: £1 million to £1.5 million); and Verre et pipe, 1919, a cubist jewel by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973).

The Art of the Surreal

The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale will immediately follow the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Auction, and will offer 32 lots with a total pre-sale value of £19,200,000 to £28,100,000 the most valuable pre-sale estimate for any auction of Surrealist art.

Major artists associated with the Surrealist movement include René Magritte, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Giorgio de Chirico, Paul Delvaux and Francis Picabia, all of whom are represented in the sale.

Leading highlights: * L'aimant (The Magnet) by René Magritte (1898-1967) is a monumental canvas painted in 1941 (estimate: £3.5 million to £5.5 million). Offered from a private Swiss collection, it is one of the most important works by the artist to be offered at auction. Magritte refers directly to the work in two recorded letters dated November 1941 and 4 December 1941, in which he states that after '”The magnet” is a female nude with long, blonde hair leaning against a rock, next to a curtain. The folds of the curtain beside the woman faithfully copy the shape of her body' Las Llamas, llaman by Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) is almost 1.5 metres in height and was painted in 1942 during the Second World War. It features a colonnade of one of his most famous and iconic images the burning giraffe and is a grandiose work seemingly addressing the war ahead with an idiosyncratic mixture of Surrealist humour and neurotic fear. It is expected to realise £3 million to £4 million.  Je me faisais semblant (I was Pretending to myself) by Yves Tanguy (1900-1955) is an exceptional dreamscape painted in 1948 and measuring almost a meter in height (estimate: £2 million to £3 million). Acquired by the father of the present owner in 1965, it is offered at auction for the first time.

Another Warhol portrait rediscovered

February 16

Christie's announced the rediscovery of a highly important, monumental-scale self-portrait by Andy Warhol (1928-1987). Executed in 1967 and an addition to an historically important series of 10 self portraits, the picture has been in a private collection since 1974 when it was acquired from Leo Castelli, Warhol's primary dealer. It will be offered at the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on Wednesday 16 February in London and is expected to realise £3 million to £5 million. The picture will be exhibited in public for the first time at Christie's New York from 22 to 26 January 2011.

Francis Outred, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie's Europe said, “I'm incredibly excited at the prospect of offering this rediscovered masterpiece by Andy Warhol. At the time of its execution Warhol was at the peak of his creative powers and this very rare series of works were the largest self-portraits he had made. This work shows a classic image of the artist in an imposing, larger than life scale, with an extraordinary presence of thick, red paint. That 5 of the works from this series are in museums is a testament to their importance.”

The image of Warhol with his hand to his mouth is one of the most representative and iconic images of the artist. Warhol first used the image for a group of works in 1966 painted in a much smaller, life-size scale. The following year he used the same image in producing 11 monumental works in a large-scale format of six foot square, of which the present example is one. Six works from this series were exhibited in the American Pavilion at the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal which was visited by tens of millions of people, and which saw the portraits dominate an exhibition including works by Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Barnett Newman and Robert Rauschenberg.


Francis Bacon goes under the hammer

February 9 

An evocative portrait of Francis Bacon, one of Britain's leading 20th century artists, painted by one of his friends, Louis Le Brocquy, Ireland's foremost living artist, is for sale at Bonhams inaugural Irish Art Sale in London.

The picture is one of the most significant lots to feature in the auction. A watercolour, titled Image of Francis Bacon No 18, it is estimated to sell for £60,000 to £80,000. Although he painted Bacon several times, trying to capture "the Baconness of Bacon", this example is more representational than the other semi-abstract pieces.

Penny Day, Head of Irish Art at Bonhams, says: "It is rare to find an image that combines the names and reputations of two giants of British and Irish art, in this instance as artist and sitter".

Bonhams have a distinguished track record in selling Irish Art over the last 13 years, but 2011 will see a stand-alone dedicated Irish Sale in New Bond Street, that will be marketed internationally through Bonhams offices on four continents.

Father of all Chocolate Labradors

February 16

A painting by Maud Earl showing the black Labrador Peter of Faskally, father of 32 field trial champions and the original blood line for all present day Chocolate Labradors, is to be a highlight of the 'Dogs in Show & Field: The Fine Art Sale' on 16th February 2011 at Bonhams New York. The painting, entitled Portrait of the Black Labrador 'Peter of Faskally' holding a cock pheasant, with his mate Dungavel Jet in a landscape, is estimated to sell for $60,000-80,000.

Owned by the Butter family of Faskally Estate, near Pitlochry, Peter of Faskally was feted as a champion at the beginning of the 20th century. The Butter's were very adept gundog trainers and in the decade running up to the First World War Labrador Retrievers owned and trained by the couple appeared consistently on gundog trial leader-boards. In 1910 Peter of Faskally was the only Retriever to win two open stakes in one season and in 1911 was the first champion to compete in an entry composed entirely of Labradors. His studwork left a significant legacy - no fewer than 32 of his progeny won or were placed in stakes during the following decade and he is known to be the original blood line for all present day Chocolate Labradors.

Maud Earl (1864-1943) was an eminent British-American artist known for her canine paintings. Her father, uncle and brother were also successful animal painters, and it was her father, George, who was her first teacher. She studied at the Royal Female School of Art and later exhibited twelve works at the Royal Academy. She became famous at a time when women were not expected to make their living through working as an artist, but she developed a select clientele and counted Queen Victoria and Queen Alexandra amongst her patrons. In 1916 she emigrated to New York City.


Important Jewels

February 2

From delicate period jewels to bold contemporary designs, the first jewelry auction of 2011 comprises a wide selection of styles to ensure there is something for every taste and occasion. For Valentine's Day, heart-shape jewels are featured in the Important Jewels sale this February, including a beautiful twin stone ring set with entwined emerald and yellow diamond hearts as well as an enameled heart pendant made by Carlo Giuliano in the late 19th century. Amongst the auction's important diamond highlights is a classic Harry Winston ring set with a 16 carat emerald-cut diamond and a 9 carat heart-shape diamond and ruby ring by Oscar Heyman. Complementing the array of diamond engagement rings and timeless jewels from Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, collectors will also find unique jewels by David Webb, Tony Duquette and Michele della Valle in this particular auction but talk of the auction is a platinum and diamond ring from Harry Winston, which is the highest estimated jewellery with an estimation of 300,000 to 400,000 USD.


Masterpiece of African Art

February 17

Sotheby's will sell a rare, newly re-discovered, 16th century ivory pendant mask depicting the head of the Queen mother from the Edo peoples, Kingdom of Benin in Nigeria along with five other rare works from Benin collected at the same time.

Only four other historical ivory pendant masks with related iconography of this age and quality are known all of which are housed in major museums around the world. All of the ivory masks are widely recognised for the quality of their craftsmanship, for the enormous scale of Benin's artistic achievement and for their importance in the field of African art.

Produced for the Oba (or King) of Benin, these ivory pendant masks are testament to the Kingdom of Benin's golden age when the kingdom flourished economically, politically and artistically. The masks rank among the most iconic works of art to have been created in Africa. The mask to be sold at Sotheby's in February is estimated at £3.5-4.5 million. It had been on public view in 1947 as part of a loan exhibition at the Berkeley Galleries in London entitled 'Ancient Benin', and then again in 1951 in 'Traditional Sculpture from the Colonies' at the Arts Gallery of the Imperial Institute in London.

The mask and the five other Benin objects will be sold by the descendants of Lieutenant Colonel Sir Henry Lionel Gallwey (in 1913 he changed his name to Galway) who was appointed deputy commissioner and vice-consul in the newly established Oil Rivers Protectorate (later the Niger Coast Protectorate) in 1891. He remained in Nigeria until 1902 and participated in the British Government's “Punitive Expedition” of 1897 against Benin City.

The faces of the five known pendant masks have been interpreted widely by scholars of Benin art as that of Idia, the first Queen Mother of Benin. The mother of the Oba Esigie (c. 1504  1550), Idia was granted the title of Iyoba (Queen Mother) by Esigie in recognition of her help and counsel during his military campaigns. Idia remains a celebrated figure in Benin, known as the 'only woman who went to war'. The masks were created at least in part as objects of veneration. The worn and honey-coloured surface of the offered mask attests to years of rubbing with palm oil, and surface as well as the style of carving is most similar to the example in The Seattle Art Museum.

The mask comes to auction together with a highly important carved tusk made with a group of other similarly carved tusks for the altar of an Oba who lived in the 18th century. The imagery presented depicts emblems of power and strength which are related to the life of the Oba himself.





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art etc. news & views is a monthly magazine published from India in order to promote art and culture. It intends to raise awareness about art all around India and the world. The magazine covers art exhibitions, auction highlights, market trends, art happenings besides Antique, Collectibles, Fashion, Jewellery, Vintage, Furniture, Film, Music and Culture.