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Major Dubuffet and early Auerbach masterpieces at Bonhams Post-War and Contemporary Art Sale
Mire G 13 (Bolivar) by Jean Dubuffet. Estimate: £180,000-250,000. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- Figure on a Bed II, an early masterpiece by the British painter Frank Auerbach, leads Bonhams Post-War and Contemporary Art Sale in London on Wednesday 27 June. Offered at auction for the first time, it is estimated at £800,000-1,200,000.

Figure on a Bed II, was painted in 1967, and is one of a series of pictures executed in the latter part of the 1960s. They all portray the professional life model Juliet Yardley Mills (referred to as J.Y.M. in the title of some of the artist’s works) sitting or reclining on a bed. The work glows with brilliant red, green turquoise and yellow.

Other highlights of the sale include:

• Lichtscheibe by Günther Uecker (b.1930). One of the very rare motorized pieces by the German ZERO artist, the three-dimensional work constantly challenges the interplay of shadows and alternating forms creating an almost hypnotic effect. Using densely hammered nails and a rotating canvas, it is one of the finest examples of the artist´s iconic nail works. It dates from 1967, from the artist´s most sought-after decade, and is being offered at auction for the first time. Estimate £ 350,000 – 550,000.

• Mire G 13 (Bolivar) by Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985). Part of the Mire series, created between 1983 and 1984, Mire G 13 (Bolivar) is among Dubuffet’s final works. It marks a culmination of a career that would see him radically re-think the previously established definition of art, making him one of the most important and influential artists of the Post-War period. Estimate: £180,000-250,000.

• Shock Red 165 by César (1921-1998). One of the final works of the French sculptor's career, Shock Red 165 – a glittering liquid-red compression of a Fiat Bravo – is from the Suite Milanese series. It is the final synthesis of the artist's lifelong mission to overturn the traditional definition of sculpture by incorporating everyday objects into his work. Estimate: £100,00-150,000.

• Kreuz by Arnulf Rainer (b.1929). Rainer’s preoccupation with religious theories and practices runs through much of his oeuvre. The image of the cross first played a significant role in his work in the mid-1950s. Since then, he has approached the subject from a variety of viewpoints - theological, art historical and personal. The finished works reflect both his own artistic non-conformity, and the central role of the cross in European history. This example dates from 1991-92, and is being offered at auction for the first time. Estimate: £100,000-150,000.

Bonhams Global Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Ralph Taylor said:” In a strong sale we have two powerful late pieces by seminal figures in 20th century art, Jean Dubuffet and César; and three important works which have never before been offered at auction – Frank Auerbach’s masterly Figure on a Bed II, Lichtscheibe by Günther Uecker, and Arnulf Rainer’s Kreuz.”

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