Francis Outred is testing the Barceló market for Bullfight paintings again in October’s Post-War and Contemporary Sale. This work is said to be the largest ever to come to the market but the auction house has put a cautious estimate on the work well below the £3.9m record price for a Bullfight work that sparked an intensive period of sales for the painter’s work:
By far the largest painting of the Bullfight series ever seen at auction, Areneros y muleros by Miquel Barceló (B. 1957) announces the grand finale of the corrida (102⅜ x 81⅛in. / 260 x 206cm.; executed in 1990; estimate: £2,000,000-3,000,000; illustrated right). In this work, the texture of the arena is referenced by the central surface of the canvas, which has been obtained by mixing sand into paint. Here, Barceló focuses directly on the ballet of the bullfight as a metaphor for painting itself, as we see the marks left by the duel between bullfighter and bull in the sand directly replicating those left by a painter on canvas. In fact the bullfighter has left the ring, but here we see the bull being carried by a procession of ‘Muleros’ out of the thickly carved exit in the bottom left hand corner, a trail of blood soaks the sand in its wake.