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Christie's Host a Week of Exhibitions and Auctions to Celebrate Frieze Week in London
Peter Doig (b.1959), Pine House (Rooms for Rent), Painted in 1994. Estimate: £1.5 million to £2 million. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2009.

LONDON.- To coincide with Frieze Week in October 2009, Christie’s announces a series of exhibitions and auctions dedicated to Post-War and Contemporary Art. The leading highlights which will be on public view at Christie’s include significant works by Peter Doig, Martin Kippenberger, Lucio Fontana, Damien Hirst, Gerhard Richter, Pino Pascali, Raqib Shaw and a rare, early rediscovered drawing by Lucian Freud. The auctions of Post-War and Contemporary Art featuring The Italian Sale and Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale are expected to realise £16,218,000 to £22,980,000.

Francis Outred, International Director and Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe: ‘For one week in October, London becomes the focal point for the contemporary art market. To coincide with the fair we are pleased to be offering almost 10 days of exhibitions and auctions focused on contemporary art. The public exhibitions will showcase the giants of contemporary painting including Gerhard Richter, Peter Doig, Martin Kippenberger, Neo Rauch and Luc Tuymans alongside a poignant installation by Dash Snow, the first of a new body of work by Raqib Shaw and a previously unrecorded drawing by Lucian Freud. Including an impressive selection of market-fresh works with low estimates from £1,000 to £1.5 million, auction highlights include major photographs by Andreas Gursky, a video by Bill Viola and an extraordinary fur sculpture by Pino Piscali. We look forward to hosting this exciting week of events at Christie’s, and to welcoming international collectors and the public to our rooms from 8 to 17 October.’

An auction to benefit Laurence Graff’s charity; F.A.C.E.T.
Public Exhibition: 8 to 12 October 2009

The week of events begins on Monday 12 October 2009, when Graff and the charity F.A.C.E.T. (For Africa’s Children Every Time) will hold a charity art auction at a reception at Christie’s in London. In 2008 Laurence Graff, Chairman of Graff Diamonds, set up F.A.C.E.T, a charity that will function to raise money for the education, health and wellbeing of the children of Africa from where Graff sources many of its beautiful stones. This is the first major fundraiser for F.A.C.E.T. which will seek to work with appropriate charities such as the Canadian NGO, Help Lesotho, with whom it is setting up a series of Graff Leadership Centres, the first of which is in Leribe, Lesotho, where there will be programs for youths and orphans in literacy and pre-employment skills.

The exhibition and auction will offer the chance to see and acquire The Mild-Eyed Melancholy of the Lotus Eaters 1, the first of a new body of work by celebrated artist Raqib Shaw which won’t be officially exhibited until 2011 (illustrated above). The charity auction will also include works by Ed Ruscha; Marc Quinn; Damien Hirst; Anselm Reyle; George Condo; Jeff Koons; Marc Newson; Tom Friedman; Tracey Emin; Do Ho Suh; Richard Pettibone and Banksy. Laurence Graff has donated a pair of exquisite diamond earrings called “Khotsa Nala” which in Basotho (language of Lesotho) means Peace Prosperity.

Post-War and Contemporary Art featuring The Italian Sale
Public exhibition: 14 to 16 October 2009 (highlights on view: 10 to 13 October)
Auction: 16 October 2009 at 7pm

This Post-War and Contemporary Art section of the auction will offer 25 lots with an estimated value of £6,780,000 to £9,490,000. The leading highlights include two important works by Martin Kippenberger; Paris Bar, 1991 (estimate: £800,000 to £1,200,000) and Kellner Des… (Waiter Of…), 1991 (estimate: £500,000 to £700,000) and Pine House (Rooms for Rent), 1994, by Peter Doig (b.1959) which is expected to realize £1.5 million to £2 million. Another leading highlight is Dark Coat II, a rare, early and previously unrecorded drawing from 1948 by Lucian Freud (b.1922) which is expected to realize £100,000 to £150,000.

Since Martin Kippenberger’s untimely death at the age of 44, his reputation as one of the most influential Post-War artists has continued to grow. This has most recently been recognized by major Retrospectives at Tate London, MOCA, Los Angeles and MoMA, New York. Paris Bar, 1991, is a monumental work measuring over 2 meters by 3.8 meters.

The painting is almost life-size and depicts the interior of his friend Michel Würthle’s Paris Bar in Berlin, which became Kippenberger’s second home and synonymous with his name. The Paris Bar was Berlin’s cultural hub and other notable visitors included David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Andy Warhol. Paris Bar hung in the restaurant for 13 years since the year of its completion and was recently returned to its original home in a preview exhibition organized by Christie’s. Kippenberger painted another version of this work in 1993 which depicts the interior of the Paris Bar with the present painting dominating the wall. This later version was sold at auction in London in 2006 and is currently on exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice. When the present work first left the Paris Bar, Daniel Richter painted a direct copy in order to replace it which will be on view at Tate Modern, London, as part of the Pop Life exhibition from 1 October 2009. An exceptionally important work which is being offered at auction for the first time from an important European private collection, Paris Bar is expected to realize £800,000 to £1,200,000.

In the last six months Christie’s has established two of the three highest auction prices for a work by Peter Doig; in May 2009 at Christie’s New York, Night Fishing, 1991, sold for $4.7 million and in June 2009 in London, Night Playground, 1997-98, realized £3 million. The auction in October will offer another important work by the artist; Pine House (Rooms for Rent), 1994, which was exhibited at the artist’s first solo show in New York in 1994, the year in which the artist was nominated for the Turner Prize, and more recently at the artist’s Retrospective at Tate Britain in 2008. It is expected to realize £1.5 million to £2.5 million.

A large scale painting, it measures 1.8 meters by 2.3 meters and shows a disused rooming house which the artist had chanced upon some years earlier in Cobourg, Ontario, and which he later found had been turned into condominiums. As a reaction to this change, he was encouraged to paint an ode to the existence of the original building.

On the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the auction will offer Stellwork (Signal Box), by Neo Rauch (b.1960), one of the artist’s greatest musings on the subject (estimate: £350,000 to £450,000). Born in Leipzig, East Germany, in 1960, Rauch is one of Europe’s foremost contemporary painters and his works reflect his experiences of growing up under the communist regime of East Germany and his subsequent exposure to Western culture after the wall came down. The present work was executed in 1999 and is painted on a vast canvas measuring 2 x 3 meters. The composition is divided diagonally through the heart of the painting, typifying the artist’s interest in the divide between communism and capitalism.

A previously unrecorded drawing by Lucian Freud (b.1922) is expected to realize £100,000 to £150,000. Dark Coat II (illustrated below) was executed in 1948 and seems to refer directly to the important painting ‘Girl in a Dark Jacket’ which portrays Kitty Garman, the artist’s first wife. Early drawings by the artist are rare at auction and the present example is an exciting addition to the artist’s oeuvre.

Further highlights of the sale include Italienische Landschaft (Italian Landscape), 1966, and Abstraktes Bild, 1981, by Gerhard Richter (b.1932) which are each estimated to realize £500,000 to £700,000; Pigeons, 2001, by Luc Tuymans (b.1958) which was executed in the same year that the artist represented Belgium at the Venice Biennale (estimate: £200,000 to £300,000); Cuban Sugar, 2006, the first work by Li Songsong (b.1973) to be offered at an international Post-War and Contemporary art evening sale (estimate: £300,000 to £400,000); and Peinture 81 x 60cm, 21 mars 1961, 1961, by Pierre Soulages (b.1919) who is the subject of a Retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in October 2009 (estimate: £200,000 to £300,000).

The Italian Sale
This section of the auction will offer 38 lots with an estimated value of £6,530,000 to £9,400,000 which showcase the best of 20th Century Italian art from Giorgio Morandi to Francesco Vezzoli. It is led by Concetto spaziale, Attese, 1968, by Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) which is expected to realize £500,000 to £700,000. Further highlights include impressive works by Pino Pascali, Jannis Kounellis, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mario Merz and Alberto Burri.

Mariolina Bassetti, International Director in the Post-War & Contemporary Art Department and Co-Head of the Sale: “The growing interest of international collectors has seen 20th Century Italian Art experience enduring success at Christie's sales. The Italian Sale in London offers a remarkable group of works created by some of the most renowned and sought-after Italian artists. Not only Fontana, who -well-deservedly- achieved a status equal to that of the most appreciated international artists of his time, but also maestri such as Alberto Burri and Giorgio Morandi, or younger, though not less noteworthy, artists such as Pascali, Penone and Kounellis.”

Pino Pascali (1935-1968) continues to attract international interest, and the artist’s Ponte, which was offered at last year’s auction of Italian Art, was acquired immediately following the auction by MoMA in New York. This year’s auction will offer Pelle Conciata, 1968, a rare work created shortly before the artist died at the age of just 33, and exhibited at the Venice Biennale in the same year (estimate: £350,000 to £550,000). A synthetic bear skin dyed blue, the work is an exceptional example of the artist’s exploration of the contrast between the prehistoric and modern, industrial society.

Further highlights include Tavola a spirale, 1982, an installation by Mario Merz (1925-2003) which is offered at auction for the first time having been acquired directly from the artist by the present owner (£400,000 to £600,000); 4 works from Lucio Fontanta’s celebrated Concetto Spaziale series, including Concetto spaziale, Attese, 1968, (estimate: £500,000 to £700,000); Concetto spaziale, Attese, 1961 (estimate: £250,000 to £300,000); Concetto spaziale, Attesa, 1964-65 (estimate: £350,000 to £500,000); and a terracotta work from the series, Concetto spaziale, Attesa, 1951-52, which is expected to realize £40,000 to £50,000. Megaré, 1953, an important work by Alberto Burri (1915-1995) in which the artist uses oil, collage and burlap on canvas in a work which is related closely to the renowned series, Sacchi (estimate: £400,000 to £600,000).

Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale
Public exhibition: 14 to 16 October 2009
Auction: 17 October 2009 at 11am

The Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Sale will offer 145 lots with estimates ranging from £1,000 to £180,000. It is expected to realize a total of £2,908,000 to £4,090,000. A leading highlight is This Was Your Life, 2005, a poignant installation by Dash Snow (1981-2009) who tragically died at the age of 27 in July this year. This is an exceptional example of the artist’s work about which he once said ‘People were saying that I do sculptures. I prefer to call them situations…’ The assemblage of objects placed on a tattered sofa offers an insight into the artist’s life; indeed, the sofa was given to the artist by his great friend, the photographer Ryan McGinley.

Further highlights include Last Port, 2006, a tattooed and taxidermied pig by Wim Delvoye (b.1965) (estimate: £50,000 to £70,000). Self Portrait of You + Me (Steven Morrissey), 2007, is by the Turner Prize winning artist Douglas Gordon (b.1966), and has been donated by him to Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres. It is being offered with an estimate of £25,000 to £35,000 and proceeds will support Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres which provide free information, support and care to anyone affected by any type of cancer.

Christie's | Post-War | Contemporary Art | Damien Hirst | Francis Outred |

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