AN Irish Freud, a Sicilian de Stael and a Rothko are among the masterworks to be offered at Christies Post War and Contemporary Art evening sale in London on February 14. Boat, Connemara is a meticulous and emotional drawing executed in 1948 by Lucian Freud. It is one of two works the artist produced while in Ireland for three weeks in August 1948. The young artist employed a masterly technique of calligraphic patterns, hatching and cross-hatching, reminiscent of old masters’ etchings, with just a hint of colour which contributes to highlight the main subject of his attention. Fresh to the market and unseen for 50 years Christie’s say that this exceptional rediscovery will attract the interest of discerning collectors. It is estimated at £200,000-300,000.
An untitled work Mark Rothko is the first major canvas by the artist at auction in London for a decade. Rendered in a palette of brilliant red vermillion, burnt ochre and white, Untitled comprises two rectangular forms floating within the canvas. Painted in 1955 it is estimated at £9-12 million. An abstract landscape which forms part of the “Agrigente” paintings by Russian born Nicolas de Staël was realised in Provence in August 1953 on his return from a visit to Agrigento, Sicily. It is one of the largest paintings in the series. The thick impasto is applied with a palette knife in a technique honed down by the artist, fully emphasising the large juxtaposed strips of vivid colour. De Staël unusually signed, titled and dated the piece on its reverse, revealing its particular importance. This work is estimated to realise £3.5 million to £5 million.
(Images credit Christie’s Images Ltd., 2012, click on any to enlarge).