AO Auction Preview – London: Contemporary Evening Sales, October 15th-17th, 2014

October 13th, 2014

Peter Doig, The Heart of Old San Juan (1999), via Christie's
Peter Doig, The Heart of Old San Juan (1999), via Christie’s

The fall auction season will get back underway this week, as the bustle of Frieze London will also play home to the first major evening sales since early this summer.  With major lots offered at Phillips, Sotheby’s and Christie’s, buyers in the British capital will compete over a number of classic works alongside their recent purchases at Regent’s Park.

Francis Bacon, Study for a Portrait (1954), via Sotheby's
Francis Bacon, Study for a Portrait (1954), via Sotheby’s

Martin Kippenberger, Untitled (from the series Krieg Böse:War Wicked) (1991), via Phillips
Martin Kippenberger, Untitled (from the series Krieg Böse/War Wicked) (1991), via Phillips

The events will kick off Wednesday night with a 47-lot sale at Phillips, one of the first sales at its expansive new Mayfair location, and estimated at £16,000,000 to £23,000,000  Sale highlights include a 1990 Christopher Wool estimated at £1,800,000 – 2,200,000, as well as a segmented canvas by Gerhard Richter from 1985, with a similar estimate of £1,500,000 – 2,000,000.  Other lots on the list include one of Danh Vo’We the People sculptures (£100,000 – 150,000), and a dynamic Martin Kippenberger (£700,000 – 1,000,000).

Christopher Wool, Untitled (1990), via Phillips
Christopher Wool, Untitled (1990), via Phillips

The sales continue on Thursday at Christie’s, where a 46-lot sale is estimated to achieve an impressive sales tally of £104.5 – 150.4 million.  The sale is led by Peter Doig’s The Heart of Old San Juan, an urban landscape depicting an empty, shadowy basketball court, estimated to sell for between £4 and £6 million.  The work is joined at the top of the auction by a pair of works each from Jean-Michel Basquiat and Gerhard Richter, each estimated to sell above £1.5 million.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Love for Dub A (1987), via Christie's
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Love for Dub A (1987), via Christie’s

Gerhard Richter, Fiktion (Garten) (1975), via Christie's
Gerhard Richter, Fiktion (Garten) (1975), via Christie’s

The week concludes with a competitive auction offering from Sotheby’s this Friday, the auction house’s first major auction opportunity since it made a series of financial adjustments allowing it to offer more aggressive guarantees for works on sale.  The 59-lot Sotheby’s sale is led by a Martin Kippenberger work from late in the artist’s life (estimated at £2.5 to £3.5 million) , as well as another work from his Krieg Böse series (£800,000 — £1,200,000), but also boasts an impressive Pierre Soulages from 1958 (estimated at £2,000,000 — £3,000,000) , as well as a ghostly Francis Bacon (est. £1,500,000 — £2,000,000).  

Andy Warhol, Fragile - Handle With Care (1962), via Sotheby's
Andy Warhol, Fragile – Handle With Care (1962), via Sotheby’s

Art Observed will be covering the auctions live as they happen, beginning Wednesday at 7PM BST, on our Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Pierre Soulages, Peinture 125 X 202CM, 30 OCTOBRE 1958 (1958), via Sotheby's
Pierre Soulages, Peinture 125 X 202CM, 30 OCTOBRE 1958 (1958), via Sotheby’s

— D. Creahan

Christie’s Contemporary Evening Sale [Christie’s]
Sotheby’s Contemporary Evening Sale [Sotheby’s]
Phillips Contemporary Art Evening Sale [Phillips]
“Auction Houses Gear Up for Frieze Week” [New York Times]
“Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips Court Frieze Week Collectors” [Art Info]