Phillips announces highlights from the London Spring Sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art

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Phillips announces highlights from the London Spring Sales of 20th Century & Contemporary Art
David Hockney, Self-Portrait on the Terrace, 1984. Estimate: £4,000,000-6,000,000. Image courtesy of Phillips.

LONDON.- Phillips announced highlights ahead of the Spring 20th Century & Contemporary Art sales in London. The Evening Sale is led by British artists Cecily Brown, David Hockney, Hurvin Anderson and Banksy, alongside seminal works by Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Jean Dubuffet, Claude Monet, Nicolas Party, and Ed Ruscha. Emerging and contemporary stars include Jadé Fadojutimi, Cinga Samson, Emily Mae Smith, Shara Hughes, and Tschabalala Self, alongside auction newcomers Lauren Quin and Doron Langberg. The Evening Sale will take place on 3 March at 4pm GMT, followed by the Day Sale on 4 March at 2pm GMT.

Olivia Thornton, Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Europe, said, “We are excited to have assembled a sale which showcases so many international names together, reflecting current collecting tastes across the 20th and 21st centuries. We are particularly excited for Lauren Quin and Doron Langberg’s auction debuts, alongside our tightly curated selection of emerging stars, as well as the extraordinary offering of British art, including the beautiful Cecily Brown and important self-portrait of David Hockney from 1984. On the heels of a record-breaking year for Phillips in 2021, we are seeing significant growth in this season’s sales and look forward to welcoming collectors in to view the works at Berkeley Square.”

British Art Highlights

Among the leading highlights is Cecily Brown’s When Time Ran Out, a masterful example of the visual and referential complexity of the British artist’s most celebrated work. Executed in 2016, the work introduced a new, favourite motif for the painter – the shipwreck. This introduction allowed her to explore her own, strikingly contemporary academism in relation to certain elements of Old Master paintings, most notably in this case Jean-Louis Théodore Géricault’s 19th century masterwork, La Balsa de la Medusa. Replacing the darker palette of Géricault’s iconic painting with bright hues and fleshy tones, Brown radically updates her art-historical reference point, while making a work entirely of her own.

Soaked in a strong, California sunshine, Self-Portrait on the Terrace is an exquisite example of David Hockney’s localised California landscapes, highly unusual in its incorporation of a delicately rendered self-portrait. Painting the areas in and around his Hollywood Hills home, Hockney took great inspiration from the dramatic, expansive landscapes he discovered on drives through the hills above the city. However, amongst his many paintings of open vistas and unspooling ribbons of road, it was the house itself that quickly emerged as a favourite subject. Hockney shows remarkable skill in combining multiple perspectives within the composition, as the viewer looks both outward from the second-story terrace and directly down at the pool. Executed on a large scale, Self-Portrait on the Terrace comes from the Collection of L.A. philanthropists Morris and Rita Pynoos, whose were close friends with the artist.

Hurvin Anderson’s 1998 painting, Untitled (Handsworth Park), is inspired by Handsworth Park, a communal park in the artist’s native Birmingham. It is an important and particularly vibrant representation of the artist’s early work, and its evocative examination of identity, displacement and belonging remains absolutely central to his painting today. Anderson’s work pays homage to his upbringing, and the sense of community within which he lived, as well as his political and cultural forbearers, his parents having emigrated to England from Jamaica in the 1960s. Completed in the same year that he graduated from the Royal College of Art, the monumental Untitled (Handsworth Park) is a foundational work in Anderson’s celebrated oeuvre, articulating his deep and sustained engagement with a history of British landscape painting.

Banksy’s Laugh Now Monkeys with Monkey Placard was notably completed in 2000, a pivotal time in the early part of the artist’s career when he was still relatively unknown. Banksy’s work had been spotted in London by a European club owner who then invited the artist to complete some work for the opening of a new nightclub. Whilst in the city, Banksy produced eight works for the club owner, one of which is the present work.

German Masters

An incredible rediscovery, preserved in the same family collection for over three decades following its acquisition in 1988 by Emily and Jerry Spiegel, Sigmar Polke’s Ohne Titel represents one of the most significant developments in 20th century German art. Executed in 1965, while Polke was enrolled at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Ohne Titel is a prominent and early example of the artist’s Stoffbilder series, in which the artist appropriated materials of everyday life to address cultural and political issues.

Powerhouse painter Gerhard Richter has been a key player in defining the formal and ideological agenda for painting in contemporary art. Richter’s Abstraktes Bild, painted in 1992, is an excellent example of the artist’s vibrant colour palette, blurring the lines between representation and abstraction. One of the most important artists of our time, Richter recently celebrated his 90th birthday, fêted by galleries and institutions worldwide through a series of special exhibitions.

Modern & Contemporary

Jean Dubuffet painted Nos châteaux peu denses in 1957 as part of a very small group of works that focus on a monumental couple. The painting is characteristic of Dubuffet’s experimental approach to materials and process. Moving on from the thicker pastes (hautes pâtes) of his earlier work, he developed the Pâtes Battues that we see here, where a thick layer of white paste was applied to a darker ground with a spatula, before being rubbed down by folded newspapers to create a richly textured surface. The present work has been included in major Dubuffet exhibitions at the Galerie Beyeler in 1965, and in the 1966 travelling retrospective hosted by the Dallas Museum of Fine Art and the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis.

Among the Modern works in the Evening Sale is Claude Monet’s Le Golfe Juan. Painted in 1888, the present work is one of 39 canvases completed by Monet on an important three and half month trip to Antibes. Other examples from this series of works are held in important international collections including The Courtauld, London, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio.

Another highlight is Ed Ruscha’s Huge Conditions. Ruscha’s most iconic works are poetic and deadpan, epigrammatic text with nods to advertising copy, juxtaposed with imagery that is either cinematic and sublime or seemingly wry documentary. The artist’s works are a distillation of American idealism, echoing the expansive Western landscape and optimism unique to the Post-War world.

One of just two pastels presenting an architectural landscape, Houses is a rare example showcasing Nicolas Party’s distinctive visual language. Executed in 2015, the present work demonstrates Party’s preoccupation with arches and eloquently captures the influence of classical architecture on the artist’s practice. Rendered as simplified geometric shapes in saturated colours, Houses oscillates between still life and landscape, representation and abstraction – at once evoking the familiar and the surreal.

Emerging Names

Cinga Samson’s Ubuhle beenkanyezi VIII, 2018 belongs to a broader series of works where the artist has more self-consciously introverted his gaze. Highly stylised, Samson’s portraits feel at once timeless and contemporary, the self-taught artist skillfully blends youthful aspiration and traditional beliefs as he explores his own complex feelings around masculinity, spirituality, and modernity. This is especially pronounced in the present work where the artist is casually dressed in blue denim jeans, a length of rich, gold fabric hanging down across his bare torso, the figure exudes a quiet confidence and self-possession.

A further highlight is Jadé Fadojutimi’s My Blanket has a Possessive Nature. One of London’s most exciting young artists, Fadojutimi became the youngest artist ever to have their work included in the Tate’s collection. Since graduating from the RCA in 2017, Fadojutimi’s work has been exhibited in renowned art galleries, museums and institutions around the world, and more recently the artist was selected to participate in the 2022 edition of the Venice Biennale which opens in April this year. The present work, painted in 2018, is characteristic of the artist’s large scale, colourful compositions which drift between figuration and abstraction.

Auction Newcomers
Lauren Quin and Doron Langberg will make their auction debut at Phillips this season. Israeli-born rising star Doron Langberg draws on a language of everyday intimacy that references Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard. A portrait of Langberg’s friend and fellow artist Amy working in her studio, the work rejects more formal presentations of this traditional motif, focusing instead on the understated ease and familiarity between artist and subject. Although Langberg has exhibited widely in the United States since his graduation from the Yale School of Art in 2012, the recent and critically acclaimed solo exhibition Give Me Love was his first in London. Most recently, the artist’s work was included as part of Living Histories: Queer Views and Old Masters, the Frick Collection’s temporary residence at Frick Madison.

Property from The Museum of Modern Art, New York

A group of two works which have been deaccessioned by The Museum of Modern Art will be offered in the Evening Sale and proceeds will benefit The Acquisitions Fund. Included is a sculpture by Alexander Archipenko. Conceived in 1914 and cast in 1969, the present work is typical of the artist’s small-scale works displaying innovative integration of Synthetic Cubism’s simple geometric shapes and interlocking planes. Created at the height of Archipenko’s Parisian period, the sculpture highlights the artist’s use of concave and convex forms and his refinement of the plastic arts. From the front, the sculpture disappears into flat connecting planes flowing through opposing diagonals from the triangle base to the cone-like head and angular arm.

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

Leading the 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale on 4 March is Georg Baselitz’s Der Kardinal hinter dem Vorhang. Painted in 2015, the work encapsulates Baselitz’s experimentation with ethereal ghostly subjects. This painting heads a strong German section including works by Gerhard Richter, Martin Kippenberger and Günther Uecker. In addition, we have a fantastic example by Sigmar Polke which was painted in the latter years of the artist’s life and exemplifies the artist’s application of raster dots and life-long fascination with colour.

Also presented in the sale is a great selection of works by American artists. Headed by George Condo’s Untitled, a portrait of a woman and child that captures the artist’s unique and provocative painting style, the section also includes works by Richard Prince, Steven Parrino and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Other highlights include works by Yoshitomo Nara, Takashi Murakami x Virgil Abloh (Off White), and a beautiful Pumpkin work on canvas by Yayoi Kusama. Other highlights include works by young female artist’s such as Avery Singer, Chirstina Banban, an exquisite early example from Jadé Fadojutimi’s Slade School of Fine Art degree show, and an auction debut for Antonia Showering. In addition, there is an exciting section of works by emerging African artist’s including Oluwole Omofemi, Isshaq Ismail and Serge Attukwei Clottey.

Phillips also will present a selection of works donated by renowned contemporary artists, including, among others, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Cornelia Parker, and Edmund de Waal. These works have been donated to raise funds in support of the Warburg Institute.

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