A landmark sale of major paintings and sculpture will mark Christie’s 250th anniversary in London on June 30. The focus will be on great works of British art. Highlights will include an intimate family portrait by Lucian Freud painted in 1992. At auction for the first time in 100 years is a pivotal example of British Aestheticism from 1864 by Frederic, Lord Leighton. And there is an exquisite 1778 portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds which has never been on the market before.
Building on the success of Christie’s pioneering series of curated evening sales including Looking Forward to the Past and The Artist’s Muse in 2015, the global auction house will celebrate four centuries of British artists with an evening sale on June 30 entitled Defining British Art. A loan exhibition with the same title will run from June 17 to July 15. Highlights will be on view at Christie’s New York from May 6-12 and at Christie’s Hong Kong from May 26-30.
Ever since James Christie first opened his doors for business in 1766, in St James’s London, where the headquarters remain today, Christie’s has championed British art and artists. Both Reynolds and Gainsborough were among the regular visitors to these salerooms. Orlando Rock, Chairman, Christie’s UK said: “A celebration of Britain’s artistic achievements, the Defining British Art Loan Exhibition and Evening Sale will break new ground for Christie’s, charting the evolution of British art over the last 400 years. A fitting launch to Christie’s 250th Anniversary celebrations in London and inspired by James Christie’s own innovative spirit, the sale and exhibition will create dynamic juxtapositions and, we hope, inspire artists and collectors of the future. Open to all, I would like to encourage not only those who are already friends of Christie’s but also those we have yet to welcome, to share in these celebrations and become part of our next chapter, looking ahead to the next 250 years and beyond.”
LUCIAN FREUD (1922–2011)
Ib and her husband (estimate c£18 million). Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2018.
Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A. (1830-1896)
Golden Hours (£3-5 million). Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2016
Sir Joshua Reynolds, P.R.A. (1723-1792)
Portrait of Lucy Long, Mrs George Hardinge (£2-3 million). Courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2016