Thursday, October 26, 2017
Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction 16 November in New York.
Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 16 November 2017 will be led by
Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of George Dyer, a rare triptych that shows the artist at the height of his power. George Dyer was a singular figure in Bacon’s work appearing in over forty paintings, with as many created following his death as during his lifetime. However, triptychs of Dyer in this intimate scale are exceptionally rare. The present work was exhibited shortly after its execution and has not been seen publically since. It comes to auction for the first time this November and is expected to fetch $35/45 million.
Bacon drew on the famous photographs of Dyer taken by John Deakin – which were later found ripped, torn and paint splattered among the debris in his studio – to create the heavily distorted portraits using his unique visual vocabulary. The dramatic gestural swaths of luminous color are framed by a dramatic background of dense black to masterfully illustrate Bacon’s twisted, torqued and scraped handling of paint, creating a portrayal that encompasses the full range of his and Dyer’s tempestuous and passionate love.
According to popular myth, Bacon famously first encountered Dyer breaking into his home one night in 1963. The two fell deeply in love, and from that moment on Dyer featured large both in Bacon’s life and art. Although he would continue to paint Dyer’s likeness after his suicide in 1971, the artist never again returned to a portrayal in this highly charged and intimate format. Three Studies of George Dyer from 1966 is one of only five triptychs of Dyer in this intimate format that Bacon reserved for what are widely regarded as the most profoundly personal and intense portraits of the 20th century. Of those five, two are in museum collections: the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the Louisiana Museum of Art, Humlebæk
Roy Lichtenstein’s Female Head will be featured in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 16 November in New York.
Acquired from Leo Castelli Gallery in November 1977, just months after it was painted, the bold , vibrantly colored and beautiful painting will carry a pre -sale estimate of $10/15 million when it makes its auction debut this November.
Grégoire Billault, H ead of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art department in New York, noted: “To stand in front of this pain ting is to understand and appreciate Roy Lichtenstein’s enduring engagement with beguiling blondes , as well as his brilliance as one of the trailblazers of Pop Art . Vividly combining his favorite subject with his distinctive visual lexicon, Female Head is a magnum opus of the artist that will have universal appeal to collectors today .”
While female figures served as heroines of Lichtenstein’s Pop narrative in the 1960s , a decade later his signature blonde s take on more enigmatic roles. Executed in 1977, Female Head is one of the very finest examples of Roy Lichtenstein’s works from his so -called Surrealist period and is evocative of the artist’s genius and creativity. By dislocating and disconnecting the facial features of three portraits – two mirrored faces are joined by a third silhouette, which also functions as a brushstroke-like coif of yellow hair – the artist engages the complex worlds of Cubism, Surrealism, and Pop with unparalleled energy and imagination.
Female Head radiates with a seductive allure, executed in an intricate configuration of his favored primary-color palette, Ben-Day dots, and modernist line. Exhibited in a number of the artist’s most important exhibitions, including the 1993 retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Female Head is exemplary of Lichtenstein’s contribution to 20 th century art history.
Masterworks from this period of Lichtenstein’s body of work are held in renowned institutions around the world , including the Guggenheim Museum, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In addition to its stylistic context, this large-scale painting is impressive for its inclusion of the full arsenal of the artist’s iconography and technique drawn from the language of graphic and commercial art.
One of his most complex meditations on ‘art about art’, Female Head is a visual tour of Roy Lichtenstein’s oeuvre ; from the signature blonde to the female figure, the Ben -Day dots to the brushstroke, and finally the mirror to the picture frame, all of his trademarks are present in this work. Marvelously engaging with the history of the fractured female form – paying homage to masters like Picasso, Magritte and Dali – Lichtenstein here weaves Surrealist archetypes with his own distinctive pioneering style, resulting in an image that is undeniably one of the most seductive paintings from the 1970s. Appearing at auction for the first time, Female Head comes from the collection of Elizabeth R. Rea and the late Michael M. Rea , passionate collectors and proponents of the arts in all forms.
Sotheby’s New York Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 16 November will feature Alberto Burri’s revolutionary Nero Plastica L.A. Hailing from the artist’s sought-after Nero Plastica series and highlighted at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum ’s acclaimed 2016 retrospective, Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting, this monumental work is one of the most important plastic reliefs to appear at auction.
Grégoire Billault, Head of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s New York, noted: “None of us who saw the Burri retrospective at the Guggen heim last year could fail to be moved by the explosive energy of Nero Plastica L.A. The perfect undulating rhythm of its monumental surface stands as one of the boldest expressions of 1960s abstraction that is as striking today as it was when it was unveiled to the world nearly 55 years ago.”
A surgeon by training who volunteered for the military and was captured by Allied troops during World War II, Alberto Burri ’s 1946 return to Italy precipitated a momentous change. Faced with the horrors of war – buildings charred and destroyed beyond recognition, thousands of homeless and starving people – he turned to painting and sculpture, cultivating a passion he discovered while imprisoned into a full profession.
Burri began experimenting with the unpredictability and devastation of fire and plastic in 1957, fully conceptualizing the theme in 1960 with his Nero Plastica series. For the next five years, he focused his creative energy up on the manipulation of surface, the sensuality of texture and the balance of composition in a way that challe ged preconceptions of painting, and thrilled art enthusiasts around the world. Rarity and scale enhance the coveted status of Nero Plastica.
The sale of the present work, Nero Plastica L.A., not only marks its auction debut, but also the unveiling of the largest work from the series ever to come to market. There exist only six other examples of comparably large -scale examples of Nero Plastica with all but one either in or promised to renowned international museums – Galleria Nazionale d’Arte, Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini collezione Burri, Collezione dei Premi Marzotto and the Museum of Modern Art – making the offering of Nero Plastica L.A. this November an undeniably rare and extraordinary opportunity for collectors.