On Friday, October 12, 2012, Sothebys
will present its October Contemporary Art Evening Auction, which coincides with Frieze Art Fair in London. In addition to Gerhard Richters masterwork Abstraktes Bild from the collection of Eric Clapton, which is estimated at £9-12 million**, the auction will be led by an exceptional Yves Klein piece, a remarkable and rare sculpture by Eduardo Chillida, and five important works by Andy Warhol which encompass the scope of his output. The sale also includes a strong British Art section, with works by Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach and Bridget Riley. The auction will also feature contemporary art from around the world, with artworks by artists from Brazil, India, Iraq, China and Tibet. The 55-lot auction is estimated to realise in excess of £30million.
Alex Branczik, Senior Director and Senior Specialist, Sothebys Contemporary Art Department, commented: We are extremely pleased with the quality and variety of works to be offered in our forthcoming October Contemporary Art Evening Auction, which will present collectors with the opportunity to acquire works spanning seven decades of artistic production, from the 1940s up to 2008/9, by artists from across the globe, including - among others - Germany, England, the US, Brazil, India and China. With the inauguration of Frieze Masters this year, it is the first time in London that masterpieces from previous centuries will be exhibited and offered alongside cutting-edge contemporary art during Frieze Week, and we very much assembled this sale with that in mind.
The sale will be headlined by an abstract masterwork by Gerhard Richter. Fresh to the market, the artists 1994 oil on canvas, Abstraktes Bild (809-4), is estimated at £9-12 million ($14.1-18.8 million) and comes from the collection of Eric Clapton. Produced as part of a concise series of four works numbered 809 in Richters catalogue raisonné, one of which is housed in the joint collections of Tate and National Galleries of Scotland, Abstraktes Bild (809-4) ranks alongside the very highest tier of the artists Abstracts.
Another important highlight of the sale is RE 9-I by Yves Klein. Representing the very quintessence of Klein's outstanding legacy, this work utterly exemplifies the artist's most sought-after body of work, the Relief éponge. Encompassing 18 individual natural sponges compacted on to the intimate dimensions of the panel, RE 9-I is an undeniably ethereal and potent masterpiece. Executed in 1961 and designated number 9 in the sequence of 45 listed in Paul Wembers catalogue raisonné, this work ranks among the most exquisite of the Relief éponge for its seductive scale and full, rich articulation. A historic work that could only have been conceived during a momentous epoch, RE 9-I's execution belongs to the year that John F. Kennedy was elected president, the Berlin Wall was constructed, the trial of Adolf Eichmann took place in Jerusalem, and Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into Space. 1961 also witnessed the retrospective exhibition Yves Klein: Monochrome und Feuer mounted at the Museum Haus Lange in Krefeld. Due to Klein's tragically short career, this was the only museum exhibition dedicated to his astounding artistic production during his lifetime. RE 9-I alludes to the fantasies of other, unearthly territories. In light of innovations in space travel during the early 1960s, Klein's own notes from around this time show that he was very much engaged with an evocation of the extra-terrestrial. It is estimated at £2-3 million.
Eduardo Chillidas Ikaraundi is universally considered a masterpiece from the artists early career. With all other examples notably housed in the collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Museé de Grenoble; and the Museum Chillida-Leku, the present work stands as the last from this astounding corpus to remain in private hands. Cast in bronze after an iron proof, Ikaraundi marks an important turning point in the trajectory of Chillidas astounding sculptural vision. Executed in 1957, this magnificent work denotes the pivotal year in which Chillida returned to his native San Sebastian and crucially set up his metalworking forge amidst the rich legacy of blacksmithing culturally entrenched within the Basque region of Hernani. Interestingly Chillidas work has played a critical role for some of the profoundest thoughts explicated on space in the history of 20th century art theory. The meeting of Chillida with the great existential philosopher Martin Heidegger in 1968 incited a significant dialogue that would form the central thesis behind Die Kunst und der Raum. Ranking among the most important early works of Chillidas career Ikaraundi carries an estimate of £900,000-1,000,000.
Leading the British section of the sale are works by Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach:
Lucian Freuds Chicken on a Bamboo Table, rarely seen even in reproduction, has remained in the same collection since it was acquired from Sothebys in 1965 for £50, as a wedding present. It belongs to the same career-defining year in which Freud held his first exhibition (1944) and is remarkable for the razor-sharp economy of line which anticipates his later treatment of the human form. The dead chicken a masterpiece of empirical observation and uncompromising graphic austerity brings together two salient, recurrent themes of the artists early draughtsmanship: birds and cadavers. Freud kept two sparrow hawks in his Paddington studio, and birds - such the emblematic dead heron of 1945 - preoccupied his early drawn output. Yet it was as cadavers, as here and as taxidermy the famous Zebra head, dead monkeys from Palmers Pets Stores in Camden that animals became the artists trademark, enthralling Freud for their placidity and as unlikely subjects for the psychological scrutiny of his pencil. Chicken on a Bamboo carries an estimate of £400,000-600,000.
An excellent group of Frank Auerbach works from an Important European Private collection are also included for sale: Mornington Crescent-Dawn (est. £400,000-600,000); EOW (est. £250,000-350,000); JYM (est. £200,000-300,000); and Seated Model (est £200,000-300,000). Mornington Crescent-Dawn is central to a grand cycle of works that depict the architectural vista of Auerbachs London, from which comparable examples are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and The London Jewish Museum. EOW, one of the very last occasions Auerbach portrayed his seminal sitter and lover Estella West, is exceptional in carrying a signature for Auerbach on the canvas (rarely if ever, does one find this in his paintings). In the only instance - across the Auerbach portrait canon - of text appearing on the canvas, the artist has boldly inscribed ELLA and HA (Helmut Auerbach), so testifying to the bond sustained over 20 years between sitter and muse.
The auction, which has an international flavour this season, includes works by artists from Brazil, Iraq, India, Tibet and China:
Dança dos Reis typifies the virtuoso compositions for which Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes is so revered. Executed in 1998, it is thematically and stylistically companion to Succulent Eggplants (1996) in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and The Beach (A Praia) (1997) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Dança dos Reis, estimated at £400,000-600,000, emblematises Brazils so-called cannibalism of foreign, colonial, and native cultures into a rich and idiosyncratic polyphony. Milhazes regards Matisse as her first and permanent reference and cites Bridget Riley as a subsequent inspiration. Milhazes combines elements of 1960s psychedelia, Victorian ephemera, Baroque colonial art, Retablo, and eastern arabesques into a highly refined and coherent idiom. After making preparatory sketches on the canvas, she paints individual sheets of plastic and cuts them into the required shapes once dry. She then transfers the paint onto her canvas using glue, pulling the sheet away for potential reuse. The result is uncannily smooth.
Executed in 2011, Endless Knot is a prime example of Gonkar Gyatsos uniquely pioneering Tibetan modernism, demonstrating his ascendance to the thoroughly transnational stage of contemporary art. Negotiating the cultural influences from his time spent in Chinese state-sponsored art school, traditional Tibetan artistic training, and finally on a full scholarship at Central St. Martins School of Art, London, Gyatsos hybrid aesthetic bespeaks a wide cross-fertilisation of references and techniques. In Buddhism, the Endless Knot is a closed, graphic ornament composed of intertwined lines. It is one of the eight auspicious symbols, each representing a different quality of enlightenment and thus bringing good luck. In Tibetan and Indian Buddhism, the Endless Knot signifies the intertwining of religious teachings and secular concerns, as well as the union of knowledge and compassion. Within the Chinese Buddhist Huayan school, the Endless Knot took on a wider and more metaphysical meaning, illustrating the doctrine of interpenetration. The work comes from a private American collection and is estimated at £150,000-200,000.
Colliding Indian and global signifiers, whilst referencing Pop, Surrealist, and even minimalist traditions, Cheap Rice by Subodh Gupta is a shining articulation of this celebrated and important talent. Executed in 2006, the work, which is estimated at £200,000-300,000, is steeped in the artists incisive critique and exhibits his tantalizing visual aesthetics. In one respect, the present work evokes distinctly Indian understandings of food and spirituality: devotional Hindu gestures being intermingled with the process of cooking, the sacred and the profane meld in the vessels used to contain and transfer holy water and nourishment alike. Coalescing the artists dazzling aterials and conceptual concerns into a single sculpture, Cheap Rice emblematises the very best of Guptas oeuvre.
Untitled by Ahmed Alsoudani displays masterful rendering of the harsh reality of war. Executed in 2008, Untitleds painterly energy belies its intricate, architectural composition. Born in Baghdad in 1975, Alsoudani fled to Syria at the age of 20, after committing a youthful act of anti-government graffiti, harshly punishable by Saddam Husseins dictatorship. While Alsoudani has never returned to Iraq, his family remains along with a sense of personal ownership and belonging. An elegy to corporeal and spiritual suffering and visualising the difficulties engendered by viewing and knowing from afar, the present work is one of Alsoudanis most paradigmatic achievements. It is estimated at £150,000-200,000.
Kelley Walkers Untitled plays with our accepted notions of appearance and reality, wittily subverting preconceived concepts of interior against exterior as well as that of painting versus photography. Depicting various sections of vertical and horizontal brick walls conjoined through means of a New York Times collage, Untitled, estimated at £200,000-300,000, encourages the viewer to consider the myriad possible meanings inherent in an everyday object: the brick, elevated by Walker to the status of artwork in the manner of a Duchamp ready-made. Born in Columbus, Georgia, in 1969, Walker moved to New York in the mid-1990s, and the urban environment in which he lives and works is a clear source of inspiration for this series of works featuring brick walls, one of his most exciting recent artistic innovations. Digital media plays a key role in the creation of his works, and Untitled was put together through skillful manipulation of scanning and Photoshop techniques.
Double Stretch by Mark Bradfords is an excellent example of the artists critically acclaimed early practice: a socio-cultural discourse rendered in delicate material assemblage of found paper aesthetic that asks comparison with Robert Rauschenbergs early combines. Saturated in associations with the artists hometown, urban landscape, Double Stretch is ingeniously constructed around a skeletal mesh support - physical evocation of urban street plan geometry. The piece is estimated at £200,000-300,000. The auction will also feature Untitled by Jacob Kassay, an acrylic and silver deposit on canvas, which carries an estimate of £80,000-120,000.
*Estimates do not include buyers premium