The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Personal Collection of R.B. Kitaj at Christie's
R.B. Kitaj (1932-2007). © Christie's Images Limited.

LONDON.- On 7 February 2008, Christie’s will pay tribute to R.B. Kitaj (1932-2007), a celebrated artist and the originator of the ‘School of London.’ The Collection of R.B. Kitaj comprises over 50 works from the painter’s personal collection, the majority of which were created by artists he associated with the ‘School of London’ such as Lucian Freud, Frank Auerbach, David Hockney and of course Kitaj himself. The works pay a moving and insightful testimony to the friendships between Kitaj and these fellow artists, many of whom are now major fixtures in the Post-War and Contemporary Art field. This highly personal collection includes rare works, some of them gifts from the artists, and many of them appear at auction for the first time including oil paintings, drawings and prints; the collection is estimated in the region of £3 million.

“Christie’s is honoured to offer such a personal and important collection. R.B. Kitaj was an artist whose works dwelled upon and were fuelled by personal and collective experience and memory. Many of these pictures reveal his connections with his friends, friendships and the artists whom he respected and adored,” said Amy Cappellazzo, International Head of Post War & Contemporary Art at Christie’s.

“Kitaj was the first artist to identify a 'School of London' and so it is fitting that his collection is being offered in London, a city that he loved and which provided the backdrop for so many of his works and so much of his career,” says Pilar Ordovas, Head of Post War & Contemporary Art at Christie’s London.

In 1976, American-born R.B. Kitaj curated an exhibition entitled The Human Clay. In his catalogue essay, he referred to himself as a member of the ‘School of London’, a term that then sparked both debate and denial but which now has come to evoke the works of a select group of artists which includes Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Leon Kossoff, Frank Auerbach and R.B. Kitaj.

Within this group, one of the most legendary friendships was that between Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, who both were close friends of Kitaj. Early on Bacon had declared Kitaj to be the most promising young artist of his day. During the early 1950s, Bacon and Freud were almost inseparable, two forces to be reckoned with both on the Post-War British art scene and in the bars and nightclubs of London. Francis Bacon, 1951 (estimate: £100,000-150,000) by Lucian Freud (b. 1922) is a fascinating drawing showing a contemplative Bacon standing in a self-conscious and carnal pose.

The Collection of R.B. Kitaj includes 14 works by Frank Auerbach (b. 1931). These provide insight into the friendship between the two artists and into the private world of Auerbach himself such as the frank and arresting charcoal Self Portrait, 1958 (estimate: £100,000-150,000). Auerbach has long preferred to paint the people in his own tight circle, often rendering the features of the same person again and again. Helen Gillespie was a preferred early subject, featuring in at least three oil portraits by Auerbach painted during the early 1960s including Portrait of Helen Gillespie I (estimate: £400,000-600,000). Other personal works include Catherine Lambert, 1983 (estimate: £200,000-300,000) and Head of Paula Eyles, 1972 (estimate: £200,000-300,000).

Kitaj’s own pictures convey a strong sense of personal experience and memory: his Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, 1982 (estimate: £30,000-40,000) shows the artist paying knowing tribute to the history of art and self-portraiture. Similarly, Marynka Smoking, 1980 (estimate: £70,000-100,000), an exquisite pastel, is a beguiling representation of the female nude that ties into Kitaj’s complex inter-layering of memory, experience and his own visual and literary learning.

Kitaj’s own features are shown in an absorbing portrait by his former classmate, David Hockney (b. 1937), Ron Kitaj outside the Academy Vienna (estimate: £25,000-35,000). Kitaj’s influence on many of his classmates at the Royal College of Art in London was vast. This older, profoundly literary and figurative artist was, in the late 1950s, fighting against the prevailing currents. His example profoundly influenced a great number of artists, including Hockney himself. It is telling that almost two decades later, Hockney’s intimate portrait shows Kitaj outside the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, where he had studied under Schiele’s friend Albert Paris von Gütersloh.

A further selection of works from the R.B. Kitaj Collection will be offered in the London Prints sales in March and June 2008.

Today's News

January 3, 2008

Royal Academy Confirms From Russia: French and Russian Master Paintings Exhibition

The Personal Collection of R.B. Kitaj at Christie's

ROM's New Age of Dinosaurs and Age of Mammals Galleries Open

Master Drawings from the Yale University Art Gallery at the Smart Museum of Art

Sotheby's Americana Week 2008 - Property from the Estate of J. Welles Henderson

PULSE Miami 2007 Reports Strong Sales and Attendance

Markus Schaller "Formen Sprache" at Guardini Foundation Berlin

Ron Griffin: Forgotten Paper Opens in Santa Monica

Robert Jack - Before and Aftermath at Josée Bienvenu Gallery

Swedish Ertist Hans Johansson Featured at Broadway Gallery

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Conservation reveals Wellington Collection work was painted by Titian's Workshop

2.- New dinosaur discovered after lying misidentified in university's vaults for over 30 years

3.- Unseen Texas Chainsaw Massacre outtakes and stills sold for a combined $26,880

4.- National gallery reveals conserved Italian altarpiece by Giovanni Martini da Udine

5.- London's Tate Modern evacuated after child falls, teen arrested

6.- Bavarian State Minister of the Arts restitutes nine works of art

7.- Boy thrown from London's Tate Modern is French tourist visiting UK

8.- Child thrown from London gallery has broken spine, legs and arm

9.- £10 million Turner masterpiece may leave British shores

10.- Tourists banned from sitting on Rome's Spanish Steps

Related Stories

Important Judaica and Israeli & international art bring a combined $7.9 million at Sotheby's New York

Tunisia to auction ousted despot's treasures

Andy Warhol's Mao portraits excluded from the Beijing and Shanghai shows next year

China criticises French Qing dynasty seal auction

Christie's announces auction marking the first half century of the popular and luxurious interiors shop Guinevere

Nine new exhibits debut at San Diego International Airport

Rembrandt masterpiece "Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet" back on display at National Museum Cardiff

Amber: 40-million-year-old fossilised tree resin is Baltic gold

Egyptian artist Iman Issa wins the Ist FHN Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona Award

The main chapel of the Basilica of Santa Croce open for visits after five year restoration

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful