Summer Contemporary Art Sale at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art sale to be held in London on the evening of Wednesday, June 25, 2003 will feature major works by some of the most important artists of the 20th century including Lucio Fontana, Maurizio Cattelan, Miquel Barcelo, Peter Doig and Damien Hirst. Cheyenne Westphal, Head of Contemporary Art for Sotheby’s Europe, said: “We are pleased to be offering a number of works by established contemporary masters – Fontana, Warhol and Barcelo – alongside some much younger material by artists such as Cattelan, Hirst, Saville and Peter Doig.” Highlights of the sale include: Lucio Fontana’s (1899-1968) Concetto Spaziale, La Fine di Dio is one of the finest examples from the series still left in private hands. Comprising 38 oval pictures of identical proportions all painted in different colors, the series was executed between 1963 and 1964. It represents the moment when all of Fontana’s concerns seem to come together in perfect resolution. At the time Fontana was at the peak of his creative powers following his preparation for, and exhibition in, the 1962 Venice Biennale. He created his two most significant bodies of work, the Venezia and Fine di Dio paintings. As Yuri Gagarin nbsp; was becoming the first man in space in and Major Gordon Cooper was orbiting the earth 22 times in his Mercury capsule, Fontana was bursting through the canvas to discover a new sculptural space, a new dimension, to painting. Executed in 1964, the work is estimated at ?600,000-800,000.

In 1997, Maurizio Cattelan (b. 1960) was invited by Germano Celant to take part in the Italian Pavilion of the prestigious Venice Biennale. The Italian Pavilion was one of many international pavilions, and within this pavilion, Cattelan was given a huge amount of space in which to exhibit. He responded by leaving the space below bare and perching large groups of taxidermied pigeons all around the structural joists and air conduits at ceiling level of the pavilion. High up in the Gods, the pigeons became the watchers, it was they who watched the crowds gathering for the show, rather than vice versa, and Cattelan christened them “Turisti (Tourists)”. The installation is estimated at ?100,000-150,000.

Grasshopper, a landscape painting by Peter Doig (b. 1959), is the first of a series of works which the artist continued throughout the 1990s. The picture shows the influence of Doig’s upbringing in a rural part of Canada and at the same time it reflects his submersion in the world of Art, Film and Photography of contemporary culture. The oil on canvas measuring 200 by 250cm, is estimated at ?120,000-150,000.

By Miquel Barcelo (b. 1957), is a masterful landscape from his most celebrated group of paintings executed following his visits to Mali in the late 1980s. More familiarly known as the “White Paintings”, these works involved the constant building up of the surface in various media, often gained from the site itself. Painting, eradicating and re-painting again in a series of layers, Barcelo attempted to mirror the geographic action of the glaciers on the earth which created the landscape in the first place. Entitled Le Noyau Noir, it is estimated to fetch ?250,000-350,000.

The sale includes three important works by Damien Hirst (b. 1965). Happy Fun, one of a series of seven works executed between 1992-1994 entitled Visual Candy, which took the language of the Cobra artists as the basis for an attempted depiction of complete, unadulterated joy. In order to find the most extreme form of expression they sought the most extreme and irrational psychological state. In works such as Happy Fun, Hirst has attempted to replicate this idea by taking images of groups of pills as the basis for compositions of thick abstraction involving large areas of primary and secondary colors. It is estimated at ?100,000-150,000.

The circular composition of Or Love is peppered with an array of butterflies of all shapes, colors and sizes bathing in a pool of grass green gloss paint. Executed in 1998 it is estimated at ?250,000-350,000.

A third work, Naja Naja Sputatrix, painted in 2000, is estimated at ?200,000-300,000.

Jenny Saville’s (b. 1970) trademark subjects have always possessed large body masses, appearances which are in direct opposition to contemporary notions of beauty. Gigantically over-sized in scale and pushed right up to the front of the picture plane, the naked flesh which threatens to engulf the canvas of Untitled is her own. Executed circa 1991, the oil on canvas, is expected to fetch ?300,000-400,000.

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Published in: on May 22, 2003 at 1:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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