A masterpiece by German painter Georg Baselitz is set to break the record at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art evening auction in London March 8. Mit Roter Fahne (With Red Flag), 1965, from the artist’s ground-breaking ‘Heroes’ series, is a painting that cemented the artist’s reputation as one of the most provocative and compelling voices of the post-war era. It is estimated at £6.5-8.5 million. It is one of an outstanding group of 17 works by German artists to feature, representing around a quarter of lots on offer. Further highlights include Gerhard Richter’s desolately beautiful Eisberg (£8-12 million), Anselm Kiefer’s monumental Athanor (£1.5-2.5 million), Sigmar Polke’s Pop-inspired Die Schmiede (£1-1.5 million), and works by Martin Kippenberger, Wolfgang Tillmans, Albert Oehlen, Thomas Schütte, Günther Förg, Günther Uecker and Michael Krebber.
Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s Head of Contemporary Art, Europe said “Seismic moments of social and political change in history have always created seismic changes in art, something we undoubtedly see in post-war Germany. Many of these artists tackled challenging; some might say profound, subject matter, while at the same time creating new visual languages which redefined European art history.”
The market for German contemporary art has gone from strength to strength in recent years, led by the £30.4 million achieved for Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild at Sotheby’s London in 2015, a record for any living European artist. Richter is just one from a wave of German post-war masters defining today’s contemporary art market.
- Over the last 5 years there has been a 31% increase in the number of bidders on German Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s auctions worldwide.
- In Sotheby’s flagship Evening London contemporary sales in 2016, around 20% of the works offered were by German artists.
- At Sotheby’s October 2016 ‘Frieze Week’ sales in London, the 9 works offered by German artists accounted for 43.3% (£20.76 million) of the overall sale total.
- In the last two years alone, new auction records have been set for Wolfgang Tilmans, Gerhard Richter, Albert Oehlen, Thomas Schütte, Georg Baselitz, Martin Kippenberger, Günther Uecker, Sigmar Polke, Michael Krebber and Günther Förg.