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Sotheby's Amsterdam Modern & Contemporary Art Auction to Tale Place on 17 May 2011
Anselm Kiefer, Marie-Antoinette, 1986. Photo: Sotheby's.

AMSTERAM.- Sotheby’s Amsterdam will offer for sale on Tuesday 17 May 2011 Marie-Antoinette (1986) by the German artist Anselm Kiefer (1945). Kiefer’s Marie-Antoinette was a gift to designer and interior decorator Benno Premsela from the famous Dutch furniture designer Martin Visser . Premsela received the present work for his help with the negotiations of the bequest of Visser's private collection (including over 20 works by Anselm Kiefer) to the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, The Netherlands. In 1986 Kiefer constructed a large piece in lead (280 by 470 cm.) titled Die Frauen der Revolution (Woman of the Revolution), that consisted of an assemblage of smaller steel frames with dried lilies-of-the-valley and roses under glass. Below each frame he wrote the name of the woman to whom that particular work was dedicated.

The present work shows the French Queen Marie-Antoinette (1755-1793) and is similar to a fragment of the larger Die Frauen der Revolution that is part of the Collection of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) since 1987. In this work Kiefer presented Marie-Antoinette with a rose. With the lead, the dried roses and steel frame, Marie-Antoinette has been given a place in the gallery of honour in Die Frauen der Revolution after all, despite her conviction of treason and the execution of the Queen and her husband on the guillotine on 16 October 1793. With an estimate of €60.000 – 80.000, it is the first time that Marie-Antoinette ever appears on the public market.

At present, Anselm Kiefer is one of Germany’s most well-known and influential artists. He uses materials like straw, ash, clay, lead en dried plants and usually works on a large scale. Historical, mythological and spiritual theme’s define his work, which is represented in all worldwide renowned modern art museums.

Another highlight is a group of works by Jan Schoonhoven (1914-1994), Herman de Vries (1931) and François Morellet (1926). Schoonhoven (1914-1994) was one of the founders of the Nul movement, a 1961 Dutch group that was closely related to Germany's Zero movement, both focussing on 'objective' art. Schoonhoven made the first of his papier-mâché reliefs in the 1950’s, encoded ‘R’ for relief and numbered by year. The earliest of the group of work by the artist offered in this sale is dated 1964.

Schoonhoven's white reliefs are highly appreciated by international collectors. In 2010 a relief from 1962 was sold by Sotheby’s London for a record price of £780,450/ €814,000 (est. £150,000 – 200,000/€167,000 – 223,000). In present work, Relief R73-6, individual elements now thrust more forcefully into the room. This relief by Schoonhoven is estimated at €80,000 – 120,000.

Also highlighting is Anthropology of a Planet (Marble Thinking model / Study 2) by the Belgian artist, Jan Fabre (1958). Cogito Ergo Sum (I think, therefore I am) by philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650), was Fabre’s inspiration for this spectacular 2 meter high marble work, executed in 2008. Jan Fabre is internationally renowned as one of today’s most original and versatile artists. He made his name as a groundbreaking performance artist for over 25 years. Lately, Fabre’s work is shown at (inter)national exhibitions in the Kröller Müller Museum in Otterlo (The Netherlands) and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (Austria). A small version of the present work has been exhibited at the 52nd Biennale of Venice in 2007. Antropoloy of a planet has an estimated value of €90,000 –130,000.

The auction also includes works by other superb artists of the 20th and 21st centuries including: Anto Carte, James Ensor, Lodewijk Schelfhout, Karel Appel, Marcello Lo Giudice, Keith Haring, Carla Klein, Jean Degottex , Max Bill and Bernar Venet among other artists. All the works will be on view from 13 May.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium.

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