February 26th, 2008

Zhang Xiaogang “Big Family” via Artprice

Sotheby’s gears up this year for its February 27th contemporary auction with flag-ship pieces such as Warhol’s 1986 `Three Self- Portraits’ and Bacon’s 1969 painting`Study of Nude With Figure in a Mirror’ as well as a more trendy selection of Chinese contemporary art.

Sotheby’s to Offer Three Self Portraits by Andy Warhol [Arts Gallery]
Bacon Nude, Warhol Self-Portraits Star in U.K. Sales [Bloomberg]
London’s Grand Finale [The New York Sun]
Sotheby’s Offers $19 Million of Chinese Contemporary Art [Bloomberg]

On the heels of Christie’s February 6th auction, which hit the lowest sales overall since June 2003, Sotheby’s is focusing on works with steady market potential. The Warhol works are widely recognized as major gems from the artist’s most innovative period. They are the only complete trio in a series of work held by museums such as the Tate in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. Produced late in the artist’s career at a time when his skill with the silk screen medium was at its height, the works are seen as some of his most ground-breaking pieces, summing up his obsession with fame and image and thus exemplary of an era.

Tangential to this focus on work of tested appeal is the inclusion of works by contemporary Chinese artists. Contemporary art in China has emergent market appeal, never having reached the heights of American and European work of the same era. However, works by Chinese artists such as Zhang Xiaogang, Yue Minjun, Liu Ye, and Yan Pei-Ming, have recognized brand name appeal and have all fetched over $1 million in previous auction sales.

Warhol “Three Self Image” via artsgallery