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Christie's announces highlights from the December Sales of Post-War and Contemporary Art in Amsterdam
Karel Appel (1921-2006), Deux Têtes (Two heads), 1959. Oil on canvas 130 x 195cm. Estimate: €180,000–250,000. © Christie’s Images Limited 2017.

AMSTERDAM.- On 12 & 13 December 2017 Christie’s will hold its biannual sales of Post-War and Contemporary Art at the famous Westergasfabriek, the former gasworks in the magnificent Zuiveringshal West. Christie’s staged the auction preview of the collection sale of the Princes of Liechtenstein here in 2008, which was one of Christie’s most successful sales in its 45 years of auctions in the Netherlands. De Westergasfabriek will be the new venue for Christie’s sales with a new Christie’s office to be opened at Vondelstraat in the new year.

The upcoming sales feature works from American and European masters such as German-born American artist Josef Albers and German Post-War masters Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Günther Förg and Imi Knoebel as well as Dutch and German Zero artists Jan Schoonhoven, Otto Piene and Günther Uecker. Further highlights include works by the recently deceased Dutch artist Daan van Golden and works by the co-founder of the CoBrA group Karel Appel. The works will go on public view at De Westergasfabriek from 8–11 December 2017, open daily from 10am – 5pm.

Leading the evening sale on 12 December 2017 are two large scale works: Günther Förg’s (1952– 2013) monumental 300 x 200 cm painting Untitled (1999, estimate €200,000–300,000) from the artist’s most distinctive series of paintings on lead. The painting was commissioned directly from the artist by the present owner and is offered on the market for the first time. Sigmar Polke’s work Untitled (2005, estimate: €320,000 - 400,000) measures 200 x 150cm and beautifully showcases the artist’s experimentation with unusual pigments. The work is covered in shimmering pigment, which changes with light and includes both a pattern of raster dots, and scattered hand-painted spots – a motif which has defined Sigmar Polke’s work.

Further highlights include a rare painting form the Dutch artist Daan van Golden, who passed away earlier this year aged 81. Van Golden, who represented the Netherlands at the at the 1999 Venice Biennale and had his first solo shows in the USA (Greene Naftali) and the UK (Camden Arts Center) in 2009, aged over 70, was notorious for producing only 3 to 4 pieces a year. The 2003 painting Heerenlux (estimate: €120,000 – 160,000) is from Van Golden’s most distinctive series, which features a pattern Van Golden painted from a found piece of fabric, deliberately omitting light and shade.

Minimal Art is very well represented in this sale by German, Dutch and American artists, including Imi Knoebel, Josef Albers and Jan Schoonhoven. Otto Piene’s painting Rasterbild (1959-1960, estimate: €150,000 - 200,000) a great example of German ZERO art, from the period when the Zero group was most active, with Piene participating in exhibitions alongside Günther Uecker and Heinz Mack. Rasterbild, which was acquired directly from the artist by the present owner’s family and is for the first time offered at auction, showcases the famous Rasterbild technique - a series of raised dots which seem to actively vibrate, animating the surface of the work.

From Karel Appel, the co-founder of the CoBrA group, which called for a fresh start freed of convention and espousing the spontaneity of naive art, Christie’s will offer outstanding works in the evening and day sales, including Deux Têtes (Two heads) (1959, estimate: €180,000–250,000). This gestural and expressive work originates from the period Karel Appel was travelling to the United States and was inspired by Abstract Expressionism. While adapting the free and spontaneous technique of Abstract Expressionism, Appel never quite fully gave in to abstraction and figurative motifs such as in Deux Têtes remained the key drivers behind Appel’s work.

Christie’s Amsterdam Post-War and Contemporary sales have been a success since the inauguration in 2009, with average sell-through rates of 90% season after season. This proven success is a result of a sale concept that differs from the Post-War sales at other sale locations; Christie’s Amsterdam Post-War sales have been the place of innovation, introducing artists such as Günther Förg, Heinz Mack, Otto Piene, Günther Uecker or Imi Knoebel to an international audience for the first time. The success of this model is proven by the most recent sale with 64% of lots selling at their high estimate or above. Today the Christie’s Amsterdam Post-War & Contemporary sales continue to be the go-to destination for works by internationally acclaimed Dutch as well as German and Belgian artists.

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