With such a packed catalogue of works to sell in May, its a surprise to find out that Christie’s has still one more announcement for the season. This time it is a collection of mostly contemporary art owned by Thierry Gillier, the founder of Zadig & Voltaire, who is selling 46 lots to benefit Leonardo di Caprio’s Foundation and Oceana’s United States Shark Conservation program. The top two lots, accounting for half of the collection’s $20m value are Rudolf Stingel graffiti work and a late Picasso buste de femme, both estimated around $5m give or take.
Highlights from the collection include works by Maurizio Cattelan, Donald Judd, Richard Serra, Sterling Ruby and Christopher Wool. Steven Parrino’s work gives the collection its title and comes to market just as the artist has received a show in Dallas.
The collection will be represented by 11 works in the May 17 Evening Sale, and an additional 35 lots in the May 18 Afternoon Sale. Collectively, this group is expected to realize in excess of $20 million.
The collection is named for Steven Parrino’s, Death in America #1, 2003 (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000), a pivotal work for the iconoclastic artist, following a turning point in his career.
Zadig & Voltaire, known around the globe for its effortlessly cool brand of Parisian rock chic, shares in the rebel soul of many of the artists in this selection. Though their artistic missions are diverse, a sense of radical creative (re)vision is common to the tough, pioneering Minimalism of Donald Judd to the firebrand sensibilities of Urs Fischer and Maurizio Cattelan, or Rudolf Stingel, whose Untitled, 2012 (estimate: $4,500,000-5,500,000) – enshrines transient graffiti as gilded artefact, reminding the viewer that the tattooed grit of the city is never far away.
As founder Thierry Gillier and his wife, creative director Cecilia Bönström are well aware, confronting traditional taste can unlock exciting new avenues of expression. Their label offers a vision of classic simplicity infused with rock-and-roll spirit that is in perfect sync with their lifestyle, philosophy and art collection.
An enigmatic highlight is Maurizio Cattelan’s Untitled, 2007 (estimate: $1,000,000-1,500,000) – a startling life-size sculpture that ranks among the artist’s most powerful and iconic creations. A girl in a nightshirt hangs with her back to the viewer and her face hidden, arms outstretched as if crucified. She is packed in an open crate: her limbs and torso are supported by padded plywood restraints, and the box is lined with tissue paper. With a sharp eye for the unforgettable images,
The work has its genesis in a 1977-78 self-portrait by Francesca Woodman, which captures the young photographer hanging from a doorway in Rome. Cattelan recreated this enigmatic image as an uncannily realistic sculpture, first shown at Austria’s Kunsthaus Bregenz in 2008. Prior to installation he happened to see the figure secured face-down in its shipping crate, and the work’s current iteration was born. In her packaging the girl seems at once protected and imprisoned, both tortured martyr and enshrined art object.