Big names to watch out for in London's contemporary art sale

Big names to watch out for in London's contemporary art sale
Panorama by Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) at Christie's in London on Wednesday.

Klein, Hockney, Bacon and Warhol are among the artists in the upcoming contemporary art sales, says Des O'Sullivan.

Hockney, Klein, Bacon, Warhol and Basquiat are among the artists whose work will loom large at major contemporary art evening sales at Christie's and Sotheby's in London next week.

At this moment of uncertainty and unease about the future there is no shortage of rich pickings for wealthy and institutional collectors. Sotheby's has Hockney's The Splash and one of Yves Klein's first performance paintings, Christie's has Andy Warhol's Athletes.

The Splash, featured on these pages two weeks ago, is the standout work at Sotheby's evening sale of 47 works next Tuesday evening.

Estimated at £20m-£30m it is the second in a series of three splash paintings that secured Hockey's international reputation. Like Hockney's splash Turning Figure by Francis Bacon, estimated at £6m-£8m, contrasts an explosion of movement with a background that is utterly still.

Untitled Anthropometry by Yves Klein at Sotheby's in London on Tuesday.
Untitled Anthropometry by Yves Klein at Sotheby's in London on Tuesday.

There is a similar estimate on Yves Klein's Untitled Anthropometry, a work created during one of Klein's first art performances at his Paris studio in 1960. During the show Klein instructed nude female models coated in his patented blue IKB pigment to press their bodies against large sheets of paper.

Transforming the human figure into a living brush this work is considered rare for its grand scale and the inclusion of two full figures.

There are notable works on offer from artists like Jean Michel Basquiat, Cecily Brown, Damien Hirst, KAWS, Roy Lichtenstein, Kerry James Marshall, Grayson Perry, Gerhard Richter, Bridget Riley and others.

At Christie's on Wednesday evening a Warhol of Mohammed Ali is estimated at £3m-£5m. From the collection of Richard L. Weisman Warhol's Athletes is comprised of ten multicoloured portraits of stars like Pele, Chris Evert, O.J. Simpson and Jack Nicklaus. Ali dates to 1977.

Turning Figure by Francis Bacon at Sotheby's in London next Tuesday.
Turning Figure by Francis Bacon at Sotheby's in London next Tuesday.

The series is presented at Christie's alongside Flowers from 1964 (£1m-£1.5m), Warhol's Knives (£2.5m-£3.5m) and Brillo Soap Pads Box (£300,000-£500,000).

Jean Dubuffet's Panorama, 1978 (£2m-£3m) is an example of his theatres of memory, a reflective series created in the last decade of the artist's life.

It is one of three works by Dubuffet in the sale. Albert Oehlen's Mission Rohrfrei (£1.8m-£2.5m) from 1996 is among the most abstract and explosive of his Remixes derived from Oehlen's obsession with an obscure painting by John Graham.

a largely forgotten figure who played an important role in Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist circles in mid-century America.

Muhammad Ali by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) at Christie's in London on Wednesday.
Muhammad Ali by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) at Christie's in London on Wednesday.

Coinciding with a survey of contemporary painters at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, Radical Figures, a group of works by Dana Schutz, Tschabalala Self and Cecily Brown showcase new directions in expressionism as artists tackle subjects of political and social significance.

The evening sale will be followed with a day sale on Thursday and a Post War and Contemporary online sale at Christie's will be open from February 7 to February 18.

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