Colin Gleadell gets a big exclusive from Chrsitie’s. The Essl Collection, which has been seeking a bailout to keep the German DIY entrepreneur’s 7,000 work collection intact, has decided to sell 44 works through Christie’s in a pre-Frieze auction that estimates the value of the works at £60m. Gleadell points out that this makes it the most valuable single-owner Contemporary art sale. Here Gleadell gives us a preview of the works:
The backbone of the sale, to be held just before the Frieze art fair opens, are works by German artists led by a Gerhard Richter abstract, at £7 million to £10 million, followed by a realist Richter painting of clouds at £5 million to £7 million. When Essl bought them in the 1990s for roughly one tenth of these prices, not only was the market sluggish, but the realist work was far more costly than the abstract, showing how demand has changed economically and aesthetically.
Five paintings by Sigmar Polke, whose retrospective exhibition travels from New York to Tate Modern next month, constitute the best collection of Polkes ever seen at auction, says Francis Outred of Christie’s. All bought at auction between 1995 and 2003, they are now expected to make 10 or 15 times those prices, with estimates ranging from £800,000 to £3.5 million, where a new record could be in sight.
The Essls are selling four out of a dozen works they own by Georg Baselitz. A massive wooden carving of the artist as a boy wearing a new hat is likely to set a record for a sculpture by the artist at £1.5 million. Were it not for an extraordinary £11 million record price set for Martin Kippenberger in New York in May, works by him in the sale, estimated up to £3.5 million, would be record breakers too, says Outred. A vivid 1986 portrait by Maria Lassnig carries the highest estimate yet for one of her works at £120,000 to £180,000.
Of more historical interest are works from the 1960s and 1970s by the Americans Morris Louis and Frank Stella, and by France’s most valuable living artist, Pierre Soulages – all bought cheaply in the 1990s and promising to see substantial returns.
Art Sales: The most valuable auction ever (Telegraph)