LONDON.- Christies South Kensingtons upcoming Prints sale offers a wide array of prints from contemporary artists, many of whom have become as iconic as the images they create. Including stunning works from the likes of Damien Hirst, Banksy, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Bridget Riley, and others, and crossing a wide spectrum of themes, the sale provides the opportunity for people to engage at various levels, with single prints as well as series and portfolios being offered. Consisting of over 200 lots, and with estimates ranging from £500 to £50,000, the sale is expected to realise in excess of £400,000.
Many artists continue to be drawn to printmaking because of its aesthetic potential and the variety and beauty of the surfaces it can produce printmaking is a compelling medium. Just how compelling is demonstrated by the role call of artists represented in this sale: Starting in 1963 with Andy Warhols Kennedy, from Flash illustrated left a series in which Warhol drew from media sources to document the events leading up to the assassination of JFK the sale ends, via minimalism, conceptualism and Young British Art, with Banksys Di-faced Notes. These are defaced bank notes where the Queen has been replaced with the face of another fated celebrity, the peoples princess illustrated right. Where Warhol mirrors popular culture, Banksy critiques it, using print to disseminate his anti-establishment argument.
Prints reflect our contemporary society in a unique way. The print embodies the aspirations of our culture, accessibility, inclusively, duplication, the free market and fashion. In the last fifty years printmaking has moved from the fringes of art production, to become a standard part of most artistic careers. Not only do the best artists of our time make prints, some of the best artworks of our time are prints. Murray Macaulay, Specialist and Head of Prints, South Kensington.
One of the sale highlights is Barely Legal, 2006 by Banksy (estimate: £30,000-50,000) illustrated top. This rare signed edition was published in conjunction with Banksy's first large scale show in America, which was billed as a 'vandalised warehouse extravaganza'. The accompanying set of prints include some of the artist's most iconic images including 'Sale Ends Today', 'Auction', 'Shopping Trolleys', 'Grandmas', 'Applause' and Destroy Capitalism'. This particular set is extremely rare, one of only six sets signed by the artist. It is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the Studio Director of Modern Multiples Fine Art Editions, Richard Duardo, and the publisher, Steve Lazarides.
A particularly unusual lot in the sale is Cultural Ties (estimate: £3,000-5,000) illustrated above. This was a global project and the brain child of London art dealer Kapil Jariwala. The brief was for 77 artists from around the world to design neck tie mock-ups which were translated into textile format by Como, Italy's Ratti silk factory. The lot includes 78 of these ties, designed by various contemporary artists including Peter Blake, Louise Bourgeois, Jeff Koons, Jake Chapman, Dinos Chapman, Richard Long, and others. A limited edition of 300 of each tie was produced for sale for the benefit of UNICEF.
Many works from Damien Hirst are also featured in the sale, with the leading lot being In a Spin, The Action of the World on Things, Volume 1 (estimate: £30,000-50,000) illustrated above. This complete set of 23 etchings in colours is from The Paragon Press, 2002. Hirst had been working in an abstract mode since the mid-1990s with his spin paintings, the format of which is apparently inspired by a long-exposure photograph Hirst had taken of the night sky, showing the stars arranged in an abstract pattern.