Sotheby’s contemporary artworks exhibition to begin today
DOHA SOTHEBY’S, world’s premier art auction house, will open a two-day exhibition of contemporary art with a combined pre-sale estimated price worth over £25 million at Katara Art Centre, Building no. 5 on Thursday.
The exhibition featuring rare works by leading masters of contemporary art including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Gerhard Richter, Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and Takashi Murakami among others is a highlight from Sotheby’s forthcoming Contemporary Art Evening Auction to be held in London on February 15 and February 16.
Talking to newsmen at a press preview on Wednesday, Sotheby’s Chairman of Contemporary Art Europe Cheyenne Westphal said, “In addition to four masterpieces by Gerhard Richter, the exhibition features a rare Jean- Michel Basquiat painting, two pencil drawings by Lucian Freud, an urban London painting by Leon Kossoff and other outstanding works by Alighiero Boetti, Alberto Burri and Cindy Sherman.” “We are delighted to be returning to Doha with such a qualitative selection of contemporary art. Sotheby’s is also extremely grateful to the Katara, Cultural Village, for providing us a good space to showcase these artworks,” he added.
The most important work on display is Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Orange Sports Figure, a pictorial masterpiece with an estimated price between £3 and 4 million. The painting created in 1982 is adorned with Basquiat’s trademark crown.
The work celebrates a black sports figure and at the same time, satirises him by making an autobiographical allusion to Basquiat’s Haitian heritage – the cheap labour destination for the export manufacture of baseballs, an American sport regarded as predominantly white. This racial tension is presented by Basquiat’s remarkable synthesis graffiti and abstract expressionism.
Gerhard Richter’s Eis ‘Ice’ of 1981 estimated at £2,000,000 to 3,000,000 is the definitive paragon of the artist’s landscape paintings. The breathtaking frozen seascape was based on a photograph the artist had taken in Greenland while on a solo retreat in 1972.
Widely acknowledged as a reflection of Richter’s psyche, Eis captures the artist’s struggle with his marriage and illustrates his physical and emotional exodus from his troubled life in Dusseldorf to a polar haven.
Richter’s other painting titled ‘Abstraktes Bild’ (Rot) estimated at £2,500,000 to 3,500,000) exemplifies his intellectual inquiry into abstraction. The 1990s saw the artist’s thematic use of red colour throughout a series of canvases.
The exhibition also features a couple of works on paper by Lucian Freud, whose works set an auction record in 2011.
These works attests to Freud’s masterful draughtsmanship.
Combined with the other three drawing to be sold in London, this extraordinary group of drawings are estimated to realise in excess of £1.5 million.
Highlighting the group is Lucian Freud’s black charcoal on paper, Lord Goodman, executed in 1985.
Another work displayed at the exhibition is Francis Bacon’s ‘Figure with Monkey’ that depicts a suited man reaching towards a caged monkey.
The work captures a thematic oeuvre whereby man and beast appear indistinguishable and interchangeable.
Takashi Murakami’s vibrant work titled ‘Open Your Hands Wide, Embrace Happiness!’, which carries an estimate of £600,000–800,000, is a superlative example among his animé-inspired floral motifs, a globally-recognised trademark of the renowned artist.