France announces that its second sale of Contemporary Art in 2014 will take place on December 3 & 4. Sothebys France continues its ascension on the international contemporary art scene. The sale will feature rigorously selected, large-format works by artists from the Post-War period until Today many kept in private collections for decades and now unveiled at auction for the first time.
Simon Hantaï, M.B.2 Mariale (1960/1), estimate: 1.8-2.2 million / $2.3-2.8 million, market-fresh masterpiece by Simon Hantaï
Perhaps the sales outstanding work is Hantaïs M.B.2, an extraordinary Mariale from his very rare M.B. series, of which just six works are known: one in the Pompidou Centre, the rest in private collections and therefore commercially inaccessible. This sublime Mariale stands out because of its monumental size (225.5 x 208.5cm), unusual celadon colour and sculptural relief. It is the perfect embodiment of the pliage technique Hantaï perfected in 1960: the surface of the canvas was folded, unfolded, then entirely covered in paint leaving no gaps. Like many Mariales, M.B.2 has never appeared at auction.
Andy Warhol, Ladies and Gentlemen (1975). Estimate: 1-1.5 million / $1.3-1.9 million, bought in 1975 and absent from the market since
Far removed from the transvestite superstars of the 1960s who were an integral part of the Factory, the Drag Queens from Warhols 1975 Ladies and Gentlemen series are considered the apex of Pop Art. Our acrylic/silk-screen on canvas from the Ladies and Gentlemen series constitutes a fine metaphor for the art of transformation which Warhol held so dear. It was bought the year it was produced and has not changed hands since.
Alexander Calder, Untitled (1947). Estimate: 800,000-1.2 million / $1-1.5 million, mobile bought from the artist in 1947 and never seen on the market
The mobile dates from 1947, the year before the historic Calder exhibition at the Galerie Louis Carré, and counts among his most sought-after designs. It was given to a New York doctor and has never left this collection. Far more than a simple sculpture, this is an abstract work of art that moves in space, audaciously integrating the notions of void and weightlessness. As a virtuoso of the art of balance, Calder juggles with moving forces by placing skilful counterweights to prevent his machine spinning out of control. This is an archetypal Calder mobile one whose amazing formal simplicity produces an hypnotic aerial ballet.
Kazuo Shiraga, Chishusei Kanchikotsuritsu (1961). Estimate: 1-1.5 million / $1.3-1.9 million, the first time this large canvas has appeared at auction
After the world record 3.9m obtained for his 1969 Gekidou Suru Aka in June, Sothebys are now offering another masterpiece by Japanese artist Kazuo Shiraga: Chishusei Kanchikotsuritsu. This large painting (161 x 130cm), never previously seen at auction, dates from 1961, a watershed year for Shiraga: prices for his works climbed sharply thereafter. That rise has accelerated over the last two years, with eight new auction records set for Shiraga in 2013 and 2014.
This baroque composition, with its rich impasto, is freely inspired by the 14th century novel Shui Hu Zhuan (Water Margin) one of the greatest works in Chinese literature and features Shiragas hallmark searing reds offset by dramatic black highlights.
François-Xavier Lalanne, Gorille de sûreté I (1970/1984). Estimate: 500,000-700,000 / $640,000-895,000, monumental market-fresh sculpture made under the artists supervision
Gorille de Sûreté I was designed in 1970 and produced in 1984, in gilt-patinated bronze over a steel frame: one of the few versions made under François-Xavier Lalannes personal supervision, and kept in the same collection ever since. This stately security gorilla, with its ample forms, unexpectedly harbours a safe in his mighty chest. This surprising feature mischievously addresses the hybridization of genres and narrow boundary separating major arts from those sometimes dubbed minor. As a militant fantasist, Lalanne proclaims the right to create in a world existing outside accepted norms, where one form can give birth to others. He excels in the art of metamorphosis, producing works that combine technical prowess with the aesthetic appeal of noble materials, polished surfaces and precious patinas. This Gorilla captures the essence of Lalannes poetic art: a wild animal tamed and transformed into an elegant and civilized Protective God.