Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction will present work by some of the great artists of the 20th Century alongside those currently at the forefront of their artistic practice. The season will be led by Francis Bacons Figure in Movement (1972, estimate: £15,000,000-20,000,000), a seminal work which creates a vivid sense of the transition from life to death, and Gerhard Richters Schädel (Skull) (1983, estimate on request), unveiled for the first time in 30 years. Alongside these are masterpieces by American Contemporary artists Jeff Koons and Mark Grotjahn, as well as the finest examples of European Post-War Abstraction with works by Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Yves Klein, Jean Dubuffet and Pierre Soulages, and German artists such as Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen and Sigmar Polke. Three works from the personal collection of Paul Maenz and 12 works by Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud will be offered, the largest and most diverse selection of works ever offered at auction by the artists. The Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction will be held on 4 October 2018 and is followed by the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Auction on 5 October 2018. All works will be exhibited at King Street from 28 September 2018.
American Contemporary Art
With its monumental scale, vibrant colour, elegant contours and dual mirrored surface, Cracked Egg (Blue) (1994-2006, estimate: £10,000,000-15,000,000), is an icon of Jeff Koonss sculptural practice. A feat of technical virtuosity, engineered to precision over a twelve-year period, it is one of the central works in Koonss landmark Celebration series, taking its place alongside masterpieces such as Balloon Dog and Tulips. Mark Grotjahns Face Paintings combine expressive abstraction and kaleidoscopic hues, with strong connections to the mask-like faces rendered by Picasso and Matisse. Within Untitled (Yellow and Green Low Fall Face 41.80) (2011, estimate: £6,000,000-8,000,000) a palette of whites, greens, yellows, blues and blacks conjures an animated surface of movement and colour. Bright light appears to explode from the centre of intertwined lines that subtly intimate the features of a face.
Works from the Collection of Paul Maenz
Christies will offer three works from the personal collection of Paul Maenz: Albert Oehelns Stier mit Loch (Bull with Hole) (1986, estimate: £800,000-1,200,000), Anselm Kiefers Midgard (1983-85, estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000) and Keith Harings Untitled (1984, estimate: £3,000,000-5,000,000). One of the most influential gallerists of his generation, Maenz had a pivotal impact on the international art world during the 1970s and 1980s, introducing new waves of Avant-garde artists to both European and American audiences. Working closely with artists, curators and critics, Maenz gave voice to some of the most pioneering movements of the time: most notably Conceptualism, Arte Povera, Italian Transavanguardia and Neo-Expressionism. The works presented from his collection offer a snapshot of this world during the mid-1980s, capturing the spirit of political subversion, painterly radicalism and restless creative optimism that captivated Maenz during this period.
Beyond the Monochrome brings into focus the seminal achievements of Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni and Yves Klein. United by their far-reaching innovations in relation to the picture plane, the artistic process, materiality, spirituality and transcendence, Fontana, Manzoni and Klein together forged a new era. Concetto spaziale, Attese (1959, estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000) is an early example of Fontanas tagli or slashes, which ruptured the canvas as part of his Spatialist mission to introduce an infinite fourth dimension into the work of art. Made in the same year, Untitled Blue Monochrome (IKB 276) (1959, estimate: £4,000,000-6,000,000) exemplifies Kleins International Klein Blue monochromes, through which art became a portal to the unknown. Manzonis Achrome (1957-58, estimate: £3,000,000-5,000,000) takes the monochrome to absolution, creating a colourless surface of pure, limitless potential
Held in the same collection since the 1980s, and featured in the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Gardens major Jean Dubuffet retrospective in 1993, Madame au Jardin (Lady in the Garden) (1956, estimate: £2,500,0003,500,000) is a romantic large-scale work from the artists important series of Assemblages. Never before seen in public, Peinture 162 x 114 cm, 29 août 1958 (1958, estimate: £1,800,000-2,200,000) is a dramatic large-scale oil painting by Pierre Soulages. It has been held in the same private collection for the last 60 years, and dates from a defining decade in the artists career.
The diversity of German contemporary art is represented by a group of 13 works by Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen and Sigmar Polke. Georg Baselitzs inverted portrait Fingermalerei - Haubentaucher (Finger Painting - Great Crested Grebe) (1972, estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000) is one of the earliest works within his series of Fingermalerei (Finger-Paintings) which encompass birds, trees and self-portraits, some of his most significant motifs. This is presented alongside Baselitzs 11 P.D. Füße (11 P.D. Feet) (1960-63, estimate: £6,000,000-10,000,000), a seminal suite of early works depicting wounded feet. A third work by the artist, Locke (Tress) (1990, estimate: £500,000-700,000), is a totemic example of his sculptural portraits. Anselm Kiefers Die Ungeborenen (The Unborn) (1978, estimate: £700,000-1,000,000) is one of the earliest examples where he explores the theme of a netherworld of unborn people, ideas and creative possibility.
In contrast, the sophisticated psychedelia of Sigmar Polkes Mexiko (1977-79, estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000), depicts saguaro cacti in saturated hues of green and purple against a white ground; at the foot of the foremost cactus is a Jeep, revealed only by its purple shadows while two people stand to the centre. Dreiteiliges Genähtes (Three-Piece Sewn) (1988, estimate: £2,500,000-3,500,000) is a monumental abstraction by Polke, which towers three metres in height, comprised of four pieces of translucent fabric sewn together. Martin Kippenbergers Ohne Titel aus der Serie Krieg Böse (Untitled from the Series War Wicked) (1991-92, estimate: £800,000-1,200,000) is from a seminal series that formed an ongoing conceptual riposte to the high seriousness of Neo-Expressionists. Painted on a dramatic scale, Albert Oehlens Untitled (1989, estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000) is a frenzy of techniques that marks the birth of his abstract period while, Bigote (Moustache) (2003, estimate: £500,000-700,000) is a vast, shimmering and playful work from his series of Grey Paintings.
Stretching over three metres in height, Untitled (2010, estimate: £1,500,000-2,000,000) is a monumental example of Rudolf Stingels Baroque-inspired works. Executed in 2010, its shimmering painterly surface confronts the viewer like a piece of ornamental architecture or a fragment of decorative carpet.
Country Club (2003, estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000) is an early painting from Hurvin Andersons celebrated Country Club series. Poised between figurative and abstract worlds, it depicts a deserted tennis court bathed in tropical heat, inspired by photographs taken on an artists residency in Trinidad, following in the footsteps of his former teacher Peter Doig. Ball Watching IV (2003, estimate: £350,000-550,000) is a deeply personal work that combines Andersons central thematic concerns: the vicissitudes of memory, the presence of the past, the barriers erected between cultures and the mutability of identity.
Unveiled for the first time in 30 years, Gerhard Richters Schädel (Skull) (1983, estimate on request) is one of the highlight works of Christies Frieze Week auction series. Last exhibited in January 1988 at the Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich, Schädel (Skull) is the first of the iconic series of only eight skull paintings created that year.
Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud
Held for 41 years in the prestigious collection of Magnus Konow, Figure in Movement can be placed among an extraordinary group of works painted in the aftermath of George Dyers tragic death the previous year. In addition to this are some of the very first works in Bacons catalogue raisonné, chronicling Bacons formative influences of furniture design and the contemporary innovations of the European avant-garde. The present group includes Painted Screen (circa 1930, estimate: £700,000-1,000,000), the earliest surviving largescale work and a precursor to his famed triptychs.
These are presented alongside early paintings by Lucian Freud including Man in a Striped Shirt (1942, estimate: £1,000,0001,500,000), a portrait of Richard Chopping painted when Freud was just 19 years old, and Head of a Woman (circa 1980, estimate: £350,000-450,000), one of the artists earliest depictions of his friend Susanna Chancellor. Alongside these works is a rediscovered painting, Still Life with Zimmerlinde (circa 1950, estimate: £400,000-600,000), never seen before in public and dedicated to his second wife, Caroline Blackwood. It has been held in the same private collection for 70 years.