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Sotheby's To Spearhead its Contemporary Art Sale with Andy Warhol's Skulls Series
Andy Warhol, (1928-1987), Skulls. 5,000,000—7,000,000 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- Sotheby's will follow its record-breaking series of Contemporary Art sales in recent years with its October Contemporary Art sale, to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair. Following the stunning success of the Beautiful Inside My Head Forever sale of Damien Hirst’s work, Sotheby’s will offer a selection of top contemporary works on 20 October, 2008. The sale will include an unprecedented selection of Andy Warhol’s iconic Skulls series (est. £5,000,000-£7,000,000), as well as works by Gerhard Richter, Richard Hamilton, Anish Kapoor, Anselm Kiefer and Gilbert and George. Also to be included in the sale is a selection of works to be sold in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Institute of Contemporary Arts by artists who have donated them for the event, including Howard Hodgkin, Jake and Dinos Chapman, John Currin, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor and Barbara Kruger.

The highlight of the October Contemporary Art sale is Andy Warhol’s series of ten skull paintings, a group that brings together an unprecedented number of the finest of one of Warhol’s most important series. At once iconic and aesthetically brilliant, these ten hand-selected canvases provide the perfect assemblage of replication. Presenting a striking commentary on death and mortality, Skulls occupies a central position in the artist’s oeuvre and offers a fascinating insight to one of Warhol’s most important relationships. The series was compiled by Thomas Ammann, a Swiss art dealer and close friend of Warhol, whose remarkable selection combines a series of identical images each with varying levels of detail and colouration. Discussing the sale, Sotheby’s senior international specialist Oliver Barker said, “The optimism and vitality of the colours only serve to underline the transience of life pitted against the omnipotence of death. Warhol’s point – ever concise and brilliantly pithy – is that even death, the nemesis of humankind, becomes mere lurid mundanity when perceived through repetition and familiarity.”

Gerhard Richter’s oil painting of the Middle Eastern landscape Jerusalem (est. £5,000,000-7,000,000) is one of the artist’s most important landscape pieces and represents one of the most significant uses of an identified landscape in his entire canon. In this haunting work the only element in any kind of detail or focus is a tree-enclosed car park. Jerusalem demonstrates the central importance of landscape in Richter’s output, not only as a vehicle to take on questions of perception and visual communication, but in this exceptionally rare case it provides the platform to address themes of a wider politico-social context.

Richter’s strong presence in the sale is continued with the abstract work Abstraktes Bild (Rot) (£3–4 million). Belonging to the monumental project of Abstract painting that Richter had initiated in 1976, this work demonstrates the astounding diversity and artistic range that characterizes this great artist. Sotheby’s specialist Michael Macaulay comments, “This work achieves a sublime chaos, becoming less an art object and more an experience in itself.”

Anish Kapoor's Untitled (est. £360,000-480,000), introduces the play of opposites between light and dark, inner and outer, past, present and future, defining a moment of transition as if between two worlds. Rooted in its physicality, the visual orchestration of the present work is based on a harmony of these opposing elements and their co-existence in the same space and materials. Its earthy surface has an aura of deeper purpose within its luminous core; one that displays the dual conditions of presence and absence, which inspires in the viewer contemplation of the infinite.

Peter Doig has actively sought-out, observed and embraced the many incidents, situations and atmospheres that he has been exposed to on his extensive travels, and the present work, Pelican (est. £70,000-90,000), bears witness to the ongoing exchange and development of the ideas and experiences that continue to shape his creative sensibilities. Pelican is a subject he has reworked in numerous formats over the past five years since moving to live and work in Trinidad in 2002. Both ambiguous and specific in mood, personal to the artist yet somehow familiar to the viewer, Pelican embodies the unique manner in which Doig's paintings explore the ambiguous and complex nature of emotions, experience and memory.

Indian artist Subodh Gupta is known for using his works to challenge our preconceived ideas about Indian society. In his sculpture Cow (est. £250,000–300,000) he takes two powerful symbols of modern India, the bicycle and the milk churn, and uses them to hint at an Indian worker in transit with the precious commodity from that most sacred of animals.

Also included in the sale is a strong section of works by American artists such as Robert Indiana, Tom Wesselmann and Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as some important works by Indian contemporary artists including TV Santhosh, Ravinder Reddy and Rashid Rana.

As part of both the Contemporary Art Evening and Day sales, Sotheby’s will auction a selection of works donated by the artists to the Institute of Contemporary Arts in celebration of its 60th anniversary. The selection, comprising many brand new pieces, includes works by Howard Hodgkin, Jake and Dinos Chapman, John Currin, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor and Barbara Kruger. The works have been generously donated by the artists in recognition of the ICA’s impact on the contemporary art landscape and in acknowledgement of the support that the institution has shown new artists at crucial stages in their careers; many of the artists involved had their first exhibition at the ICA and now wish to support the next generation of artistic talent with the funds raised through the auction.

The most important highlight among the works to be offered to benefit the ICA is the oil on board, Ekow, a newly created painting by the artist Howard Hodgkin. The artist - Vice President of the ICA - first showed at the ICA as part of the exhibition Pop Painting, 1960 and then again in the two-person show Two Young Figurative Painters, 1962, alongside Allen Jones. The painting is an abstract portrait of the ICA’s Artistic Director Ekow Eshun, who visited Hodgkin’s studio to sit for the work, and is estimated at £150,000-200,000.

One Day You Will No Longer Be Loved is a new painting donated by Jake and Dinos Chapman (est. £35,000-45,000) from a series based on eighteenth and nineteenth century aristocratic portraits, doctored by the brothers to include ghoulish deformations. Other works from this series were included in a recent exhibition at White Cube.

Domain by Antony Gormley (est. £100,000-150,000) has been created specifically for the ICA auction and forms part of the Domain series which the artist started in 1999, a breakthrough in sculpture that substitutes space and light for mass and structure and described by Gormley as “an attempt to separate the subtle from the material body, to abstract an attitude and expose it to light and space.”

Last Week News

October 7, 2008

Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms Opens at The Hayward Gallery in London

1914! The Avant-garde and the Great War Opens at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

Dynamic Exhibition of Modern British Prints on View at Metropolitan Museum

Christie's Fall Sale of 19th Century European and and Orientalist Art Offers Discoveries of the Exquisite

Tampa Museum of Art Hires Todd D. Smith as Executive Director

Dali Foundation Presents Metamorphosis of Narcissus on Loan From Tate Gallery

All Aboard Eastman House for TRAINS! Photography Exhibitions

Chain of Office Given to One of Henry VIII's Closest Advisors to be Offered at Christie's in November

Sotheby's Sale of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings Brings US$9,165,947

Magnificent Medals from Brandenburg-Prussia on View at Kunsthistorisches Museum

Sotheby's Announces Plans to Open an Office in Qatar

Willard Wigan MBE Exhibition is Extended at Hard Days Night Hotel Gallery

Journals of the Days: Jacobshagen Notebooks Tour Nebraska's Arboreta

New Woodrow Wilson Presidential Memorial Exhibit Open to the Public

BRC Imagination Arts' Bob Rogers to Receive The Order of Lincoln, Illinois' Highest Honor

October 6, 2008

Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome Opens Major Monographic Exhibition on Giovanni Bellini

Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert to Show Early Works from 1939-1954 by Lucian Freud

MoMA's International Festival of Film Preservation Showcases Newly Restored Masterworks

Baltimore Museum of Art Presents Rarely Shown British Landscapes

The Art of Italy in the Royal Collection: The Baroque to Open in November

Sotheby's Print Auction on October 30 and 31 to include Edvard Munch's Iconic Work The Scream

Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection on View Next Year in Manchester

Contemporary Art Biennial Opens in Seville Including Works by Nam June Paik and Bill Viola

Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam Opens Audrey Corregan: Obviously

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Welcomes Spared from the Storm

Classic 1930s Street Photographs of New York City on View at Metropolitan Museum

British Artist Charlotte Mann Creates Stunning Mural for The School of Life

Beside the Seaside: Snapshots of British Coastal Life, 1880-1950 on View at the National Maritime Museum

Weighing and Wanting: Selections From the Collections Opened at Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego

October 5, 2008

Impressionist Masterwork by Edgar Degas to be Sold By Sotheby's in November in New York

Rich Legacy of African Textiles on View in Metropolitan Museum Exhibition

Tradition in Transition: Russian Icons in the Age of the Romanovs Opens at Memorial Art Gallery

Sotheby's New York Sale of 19th Century European Art to be Held on October 23

Allan Ramsay Self-Portrait Leads Christie's Auction of Scottish Art in October 2008

Pieter Hugo: The Hyena & Other Men at Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam

One-of-a-Kind Salvador Dali Dedicatory Drawings Collection

Extraordinary Diverse Work of Ana Maria Pacheco to be Shown at The Herbert in Coventry

Sculptor Jesús Moroles to Create Reflecting Pool Installation for Joslyn Art Museum

DAR Museum Showcases Antique Toy Collection in New Exhibition

Exhibition Featuring Work of Leonardo da Vinci to Open at High Museum in October 2009

Avant-Garde China: Twenty Years of Chinese Contemporary Art on View at National Art Center

Raident Technology, Inc. Establishes Scholarships at Academy of Art University San Francisco

National Museum of the American Indian Presents Major Retrospective of Fritz Scholder's Art

Unique Temporary Printing Machine Highlights Ephemeral Nature of Digital Data

Christie's New York Announces European Decorative Arts Month

AT & T Donates $500,000 in Artwork to Community organizations in California

October 4, 2008

Statuephilia Opens Today at The British Museum; Kate Moss in Gold By Marc Quinn Unveiled

Mint Museum of Art Presents Major Andy Warhol Exhibition

Sotheby's To Auction One of the Greatest Modern Paintings Ever Offered for Sale

Miro, Calder, Giacometti, Braque: Aime Maeght And His Artists Opens at Royal Academy of the Arts

Darwin's Garden: An Evolutionary Adventure Opens at The Huntington Library

The Fluidity of Glass - Etsuko Ichikawa: Traces of the Molten State

Christie's Spanish Art Sale in Madrid Totals $7.7 Million

Hong Kong International Arts and Antiques Fair Opens

Tate St. Ives Presents Heimo Zobernig and the Tate Collection

Moderna Museet Presents Time & Place: Los Angeles 1957-1968

The Andy Warhol Museum Opens 1958 Exhibition

L.A. PAINT Opens at Oakland Museum of California

American Artists from the Russian Empire Opens

Gallery of the New York School of Interior Design Hosts Two Art Deco-Era Exhibitions

International Russian Exhibition to Premiere at University of Oklahoma Art Museum

Knoxville Museum of Art Presents American Masterpieces of Southern Craft and Traditional Art

Edinburgh College of Art Opens New Print Workshop With Exhibition

Wild Beauty: Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge, 1867 - 1957

The Many Faces of David Diaz at The Joslyn Art Museum

Art.Fair 21 Opens in Cologne

New Bamboo: Contemporary Japanese Masters Opens at Japan Society

Act/React: Interactive Installation Art Makes its World Premiere at the Milwaukee Art Museum

October 3, 2008

All the Histories of Art: Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna Exhibit at Guggenheim in Bilbao

Nude Portait of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin Unveiled in Chicago

Paris/New York: Design Fashion Culture 1925-1940 Opens

Meijer Gardens Opens Largest Exhibition by Jaume Plensa

Brooklyn Museum Presents Retrospective of Work By Artists Gilbert & George

Exhibition Celebrates the 125th Anniversary of the Dutch Rembrandt Association

Lino Tagliapietra in Retrospect: A Modern Renaissance in Glass (Renwick)

Demuth Museum to Mount Two-Part David Brumbach Exhibition

VMFA Great Hall Is Reinstalled With Focus On 17th Century Age of Magnificence

First Museum Exhibition for Anthony Lepore at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

John James Audubon: American Artist and Naturalist Opens

Treasures from the Garden of Eden: Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry Opens

Hannah Wilke: Gestures Opens at The Neuberger Museum of Art

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Displays Zen Paintings and Calligraphies From the Gitter-Yellen Collection

Avocats Sans Frontieres Presents "Room for Justice"

Canada's Only Major Modern and Contemporary International Art Fair Returns to Toronto

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden Launches Major Project Researching Provenance

Tony Gill - New Work 2008 Opens at Idea Generation Gallery

George Nakashima's Family Gifts Famed 20th-Century Furniture Designer's Archives

New Museum Announces Stuart Regen Visionaries Fund

October 2, 2008

Joseph Beuys: We are the Revolution Gives Shape to Artist's Large Expanse of Ideas

Princeton University Art Museum Premieres Jasper Johns Exhibition

The Mingei Spirit in Japan From Folk Craft to Design at Musee du Quai Branly

Watercolours from the Stadel Museum Collection on View in Germany

Le Petit Palais in Paris Shows Images and Fashion by Patrick Demarchelier

Zaha Hadid's Portrait in Changing Colors Shown at National Portrait Gallery

Georg Baselitz: Prints 1964 to 1983 to Open at The Alte Pinakothek in Munich

Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art

The 2008 Sovereign European Art Prize Exhibition Opens at the Embankment Galleries

Cartoons & Coronets: The Genius of Osbert Lancaster on View at The Wallace Collection

Serbian-Born Sculptor John David Brcin's Monumental Sculpture Sioux Warrior Realized for Joslyn Art Museum

Le Corbusier - The Art of Architecture Opens at The Crypt in Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Aspen Art Museum Presents Artist Lisa Anne Auerbach's Non-Partisan Political Knit Sweater Exhibition

New Art Trust Names John R. Lane as President and CEO

Make me a Home! The Northsore Development Partnership Launches International Architectural Competition

Arts Leaders Converge on Technology in the Arts from October 9-11, 2008

The New York Transit Museum Presents a Screening and Discussion

RIBA to Launch International Chapters

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

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