LONDON, UK.- Seminal works from key European and American Post-War art movements star in Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 9 February 2005. Superb examples from the London School, French, German, Spanish and Italian Post-War masters, celebrated American artists and work from the younger generation of artists whose energy, vision and passion define today's Contemporary Art market, will all feature in the evening sale. This sale follows the record breaking sale totals set in New York in 2004, and is expected to fetch in the region of £ 20 million.
Two portraits by the artist Lucian Freud are major highlights of Christie’s Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art on 9 February 2005. As paintings by the artist are so rarely seen on the auction market, Christie’s double offering of Red Haired Man on a Chair (estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000), executed 1962/63 and Naked Portrait 2002 (estimate: 2,500,000-3,500,000), 2002, depicting the pregnant British ‘supermodel’ Kate Moss, is exceptional.
A centre-piece of the auction is a large three-panel work, Untitled, by Jean-Michel Basquiat (estimate: £650,000-850,000) and one of four major works from a European Collection to feature in the sale. Merging abstract splashes of paint with schematically rendered figures, the work features a jungle of mythic heroes, villains and predatory creatures, reflecting the artist’s uncertainty and fear in navigating the lonely road of success and fame in the frenetic 1980s. Executed at the pinnacle of the artist’s short and troubled career, the picture appeared as the backdrop for Basquiat’s 1985 front cover appearance on The New York Times magazine - marking the apex of his rise to fame and crystallizing his iconic status as the first black artist to break into the Western art scene. Nine Multi-coloured Marilyns (Reversal Series) by Basquiat’s friend and mentor, Andy Warhol (estimate: £450,000-650,000) is also offered from the same European Collection. In the Reversal Series, created in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the master of pop-art revisited his established themes, treating them to a disco-aesthetic. The collection also features textural works by two leading Spanish artists, Miquel Barceló and Antoni Tàpies. Miquel Barceló’s oil and paper collage Autorretrato of 1983 (estimate: £180,000-220,000), is an intimate self-portrait of the artist, executed at a turning point in his career, when a disused church studio allowed him to work on a scale previously unimaginable.
Antoni Tàpies’s oil and sand work, Pintura Rosa con Franja Negra, (estimate: £180,000-220,000) is one of only a few bold, non-figurative, works which he executed around 1963 after discovering, like Barceló, the freedom of space in a large studio. Mark Rothko’s Untitled, painted in 1952 is a major highlight of the evening sale (estimate: £800,000-1,200,000). Dating from the period in which Rothko achieved fame and fortune, Untitled features his mature and distinctive style of a large rectangular expanse of colour with softly uneven edges, giving a hazy, pulsating and almost floating quality. Cy Twombly is represented in the sale by Untitled (Rome), an oil wax crayon and lead pencil on canvas (estimate: £700,000-1,000,000). This impressive canvas was painted in 1959, two years after the artist settled in Rome.