Phillips' London 20th Century to Now Sale includes items from Collection of Thomas B. Lemann

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Phillips' London 20th Century to Now Sale includes items from Collection of Thomas B. Lemann
Caroline Walker, Reception, 2013.

LONDON.- Phillips is pleased to announce highlights from the London 20th Century to Now sale. Featuring a strong combination of blue-chip 20th century masters and post-war works alongside an impressive array of ultra-contemporary pieces, the sale is comprised of 116 lots that represent the extraordinary depth of this cross-category offering. Leading the auction is an exceptionally striking 1967 white Lucio Fontana painting, from the artist’s iconic Tagli series. Also featuring in this sale is a remarkable group from the collection of Thomas B. Lemann. Contemporary highlights include Elizabeth Peyton’s 1998 portrait of Prince Harry and a Sarah Lucas sculpture from her Bunny series, as well as works by a new generation of artists living and working in the UK, including Antonia Showering, Caroline Walker, Sahara Longe, Emma Cousin, Benjamin Spiers, and George Rouy. The sale will be held at Phillips Berkeley Square on 30 June at 2pm.

Olivia Thornton, Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Europe, said, “We are proud to present our new and highly anticipated June auction format, 20th Century to Now. This single-session sale combines established blue-chip names with in-demand emerging artists, reflecting current collecting tastes and creating a dynamic dialogue between different art categories and periods. Alongside our lead lot by Lucio Fontana, we are excited to showcase superb examples by other established artists such as Jean Dubuffet, Anselm Kiefer, and George Condo. We are honored to showcase for the first time remarkable works from the collection of Thomas B. Lemann, including pieces by Louise Nevelson and Arnaldo Pomodoro which will be offered alongside a strong selection of contemporary works. June is a key moment for London in the global art calendar, and we look forward to connecting with the collecting community in the coming weeks and when we open the doors to our galleries for the preview, running from 21 June until the auction on 30 June.”

Leading the sale is Lucio Fontana’s Concetto spaziale, Attese, executed in 1967. This painting epitomises the Spatialist aesthetic pioneered by the artist, which evolved from the staccato perforations of his Buchi canvases to the elegant and precise slashes seen here. Disrupting the pristine white surface of the canvas, the deep incisions intrude on the two-dimensional surface of the painting, opening it up to the infinite space beyond and fulfilling the ambitions laid out by the artist in his First Spatialist Manifesto from 1947. This work will be accompanied in the sale by a red Buchi painting by Fontana from the same year.

Also on offer are a selection of 24 works from the collection of Thomas B. Lemann. Lemann was a prominent New Orleans lawyer known for his insatiable curiosity and diverse knowledge across a variety of subjects, including classical Greek, dendrology, and collecting fine art. During his lifetime, he amassed an extraordinary selection of art works, much of which has remained in his private collection since it was acquired. Phillips is thrilled to be offering works from this collection in auctions throughout the year and leading this with the presentation of key works in the June 20th Century to Now sale. Highlights from the collection include a sculpture by Martín Chirino, which Lemann acquired at the Venice Biennale in 1964, a painting by Tancredi Parmeggiani which was also acquired in Italy in the 1960s, as well as pieces by Louise Nevelson, Arnaldo Pomodoro, and Nikki de Saint-Phalle, among others.

Examples of contemporary portraiture feature prominently in the sale, notably Elizabeth Peyton’s Prince Harry, September 1998. Peyton's luminous and intimate portraits emphasise the ongoing relevance of the genre, capturing the essence of historical and popular figures in richly painted, deeply human images. This tender portrait has been exhibited worldwide, notably at The National Portrait Gallery in London, which is also due to reopen its doors this month.

Other portraits in this sale include examples from Sarah Ball, Anna Weyant, Chloe Wise, Andy Warhol, Ellen Berkenblit, and Brian Calvin, as well as a 250-piece sculptural installation by Maurizio Catellan.

Additional contemporary art highlights include works by Cinga Samson, Sarah Lucas and Oscar Murillo, among others.

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