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    Saturday, May 8th, 2021

    Leonardo da Vinci’s Head of a Bear will highlight the Exceptional Sale Christie’s in London on July 8.  This penetrating study of a bear’s head is one of less than eight surviving drawings by Leonardo in private hands outside the British Royal Collection and the Devonshire Collections at Chatsworth. Measuring 2 ¾ x 2 ¾ inches (7 x 7 cm) it is executed in silverpoint on a pale pink-beige prepared paper, a technique which Leonardo was taught by his master Andrea del Verrocchio. The drawing will be on public exhibition at Christie’s in Rockefeller Centre in New York from May 8 and at Christie’s Hong Kong from May 20 – 25. It will be on view in London June from 1 – 6. It is expected to sell for £8,000,000-12,000,000.

    The drawing’s distinguished history can be traced back to Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), the renowned British painter whose collection of old master drawings is considered among the greatest ever assembled. After Lawrence’s death in 1830, the drawing passed to his dealer (and major creditor) Samuel Woodburn, who sold it at Christie’s in 1860 for £2.50. In the first half of the twentieth century, the drawing was in the collection of another great British collector, Captain Norman Robert Colville, who also owned Head of a Muse by Raphael which sold for £29,161,250 at Christie’s in 2009.

    Since its first public exhibition in 1937, it has also been shown at museums around the world including the London National Gallery’s Leonardo da Vinci exhibition in 2011-12, Louvre Abu Dhabi; Moscow, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and Saint Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum in 2018*.

    The medium connects this sheet to three similar small-scale studies of animals, a study of two cats and a dog in the British Museum, its companion double-sided sheet with studies of a dog’s paws in the National Galleries of Scotland, and a study of a walking bear in the Lehman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The studies can all be dated to the first half of the 1480’s.

    The face of the bear is very close to the ermine in Leonardo’s portrait of Cecilia Gallerani or Lady with an Ermine now in the Krakow Museum.

    Leonardo da Vinci,1452-1519, Head of a Bear


    Thursday, April 29th, 2021

    Edgar Degas’ Danseuse rose (circa 1896, estimate: £2,500,000-3,500,000)and Femme sortant du bain (circa 1886-88, estimate: £1,300,000-1,800,000) will feature in Christie’s 20th and 21st Century evening sale next June 30. Together, they represent Degas’ exploration of two of the themes he found most enduring – that of the dancer at rest and the intimate gestures of a woman bathing. Through the second half of his career, pastel had become Degas’ favoured medium, its materiality allowing him to build up complex layered colour schemes in his compositions. These two works on paper illustrate not only the evolution of Degas’ technique over the course of a decade, reflecting his mastery of the medium, but also the growing importance of working in series within his practice at this time. Danseuse rose and Femme sortant du bain have remained in the same private collection for over 20 years and have not been seen publicly since the 1990s.

    Edgar Degas –  Danseuse rose. Courtesy CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2021


    Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

    Alberto Giacometti’s Homme qui chavire will highlight Christie’s 20th and 21st Century evening sale in London on June 30. Conceived in 1950, and cast a year later, Homme qui chavire pictures a man in the moment before he either falls to the ground, or conversely, rises from the earth to ascend upwards. The unbalanced figure expresses the violence and fatality that man cannot escape: the bent legs, the long arms helplessly arched out, the head thrown slightly back. It is one of the greatest of Giacometti’s now iconic elongated, attenuated figures that emerged after the end of the Second World War. This is one of six recorded casts, with other examples now held in museums including the Kunsthaus, Zurich, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, and Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence. The last example of this important sculpture to be offered at auction was over a decade ago, in 2009, and it achieved $19.4 million. Since that time, Christie’s has set the world auction record for an Alberto Giacometti sculpture with L’homme au doigt which realised over $140 million in May 2015. This one will be offered with a pre-sale estimate of £12-18 million.

    Homme qui chavire was formerly in the collection of the American artist Lillian Florsheim (1896-1988). She acquired it in December 1951, from one of Giacometti’s most important dealers, Galerie Maeght. It remained in her collection for the rest of her life, before being sold by her family in 1998, where it was acquired by the present owner.


    Sunday, April 11th, 2021

    Decorative and fine arts from the London and country homes of Mrs. Henry Ford at Eaton Square and Turville Grange, Oxfordshire will come under the hammer at Christie’s on April 15.  The sale is led by Impressionist works including a self portrait by Edouard Vuillard.  The decorative arts are led by a Louis XV ormolu-mounted Chinese black-lacquer commode by Laurent Felix and a George III Pembroke table attributed to Thomas Chippendale. Silver includes a George VI silver cigar box inset with grass from the sod cut by Edsel Ford in 1929 when breaking ground for the Dagenham Ford motor factory.

    Louis XV c1755 black lacquered commode. UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £137,500. THE SALE REALISED £3.98 MILLION


    Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

    Picasso’s Femme assise près d’une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse), 30 October 1932 (estimate in the region of $55 million) will highlight Christie’s 20th century evening sale in New York on May 11. One of the extraordinary series of iconic portraits that Picasso painted of his golden-haired muse during this landmark year, this monumental work is among the most stately and impressive depictions of Marie-Thérèse that the artist painted.


    Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

    THE global series of 20th century auctions at Christie’s in March brought in a combined total of £361,428,211. The auction house reports that the season saw registered bidders from 69 countries. The depth of bidding across platforms, time zones and geographies demonstrates global market is active and expansive according to the auction house. New registrants accounted for 24% of registered bidders in March. Tens of millions of viewers tuned in to watch and participate in the March sale series, through Facebook, You Tube, We Chat, Weibo, Artron, ArtPro, Yitao, and Christie’s Live™

    The underbidder on Banksy’s Game Changer placed a final bid of £14,300,000, the highest bid to date on Christie’s LIVE™. No less than 30 artists records were set.

    Picasso’s Femme nue couchée au collier (Marie-Thérèse), 1932 sold for £14,582,500


    Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021
    UPDATE: THE BASQUIAT WARRIOR SOLD FOR £30,265,619. PICASSO’S Femme assise dans un fauteuil noir (Jacqueline) sold for £9,659,000

    Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Warrior (on the right above) will launch the Christie’s 20th Century Art sale from Hong Kong today. Picasso’s Femme assise dans un fauteuil noir (Jacqueline) (1962) on the left above is one of two Picasso portraits in the sale. The live stream of the 20th Century Art evening sale and The Art of the Surreal from London begins at
    9pm Hong Kong / 1pm London / 9am New York on Tuesday March 23. 

    UPDATE: THE auction realised £198,716,619, selling 93% by lot, 97% by value and 128% hammer above low estimate. The series of consecutive sales was launched from Hong Kong with Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Warrior (1982), which set a new record, becoming the most expensive western artwork ever sold in Asia at HK$323,600,000. Warrior saw competition from bidders in London, New York and Hong Kong, before ultimately selling to an Asian buyer on the phone in Hong Kong. Banksy’s painting Game Changer (2020), a tribute to international frontline workers during the global pandemic, achieved a world auction record following 14 minutes of bidding. Proceeds of more than £16,000,000 from the sale of the artwork will be used to support the wellbeing of University Hospital Southampton staff and patients as well as benefitting associated health organisations and charities across the UK


    Monday, March 15th, 2021

    “So when she saw me, she went crazy about my hair and absolutely wanted to do my portrait with my hair loose”  French art critic Denyse Proutaux explained in a 1931 letter to her partner Phillippe Dyvorne. The resultant re-discovered portrait by Amrita Sher-Gil is the top lot at Christie’s South Asian, Modern and Contemporary Art auction in New York on March 17.  “As it was for a competition and she had very little time, I posed almost non-stop for three days, and that’s why I couldn’t write to you as I had promised you. I’ve never known such an amazing girl, you know Phil?” Proutaux wrote. Amrita Sher-Gil was born in Budapest in 1913 to a Hungarian mother and Indian father. Living between Hungary, France and India she painted people and places with an intensity that remains unparalleled in modern Indian art and was elected as an associate of the Grand Salon in Paris in 1933.  Sher-Gil died unexpectedly in 1941 in Lahore at the age of 28.  Most of her documented work is in the national collection of Modern Art in New Delhi.   Portrait of Denyse is estimated at $1.8-$2.5 million.

    Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-1941), Portrait of Denyse. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD


    Thursday, March 11th, 2021

    Until October, the most Mike Winkelmann — the digital artist known as Beeple — had ever sold a print for was $100. Now he is among the top three most valuable living artists. Beeple’s Everydays: The First 5000 Days,  a collage of all the images that Beeple has been posting online each day since 2007, achieved $69,346,250 at Christie’s, New York today.

    The record-smashing NFT sale comes after months of increasingly valuable auctions. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are unique files that live on a blockchain and are able to verify ownership of a work of digital art. Buyers typically get limited rights to display the digital artwork they represent. In October, Winkelmann sold his first series of NFTs, with a pair going for $66,666.66 each. In December, he sold a series of works for $3.5 million total. And last month, one of the NFTs that originally sold for $66,666.66 was resold for $6.6 million.

    Beeple (b. 1981), EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS
    21,069 x 21,069 pixels (319,168,313 bytes)
    Minted on 16 February 2021. This work is unique.

    The sale of the first purely digital NFT based work of art by a major auction house achieved a new world record for any work of digital art, the highest price for any lot in any online-only auction, the highest price for any winning bid placed online, and the highest total for any online-only auction. There were bidders from 11 countries and 22 million visitors tuned into Christie’s for the final minutes of bidding. Christie’s say that there were 33 active bidders, 55% from the Americas, 27% from Europe and 18% from Asia. 91% were new bidders at Christie’s.

    Digital Art has been an established artistic medium since the advent of the personal computer. However, before the introduction of NFTs and Blockchain technology it was impossible for even the most celebrated digital artists to claim their place in the art market. These mechanisms have paved the way for future of art of purely digital means.

    Beeple said: Artists have been using hardware and software to create artwork and distribute it on the internet for the last 20+ years but there was never a real way to truly own and collect it. With NFT’s that has now changed. I believe we are witnessing the beginning of the next chapter in art history, digital art.  This is work that has just as much craft, message, nuance and intent as anything made on a physical canvas and I am beyond honored and humbled to represent the digital art community in this historic moment.

    Mike Winklemann

    Noah Davis, Specialist, Post-War and Contemporary Art, remarked: “Christie’s is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Beeple, a brash pioneer among digital artists, to present the first purely digital NFT-based work of art ever offered by a major auction house. We see this as a pivotal moment for the future of New Media and even the practice of collecting itself. Everydays–The First 5000 Days is a monumental work comprised of 5,000 individual images created over the course of as many days, giving viewers the opportunity to zoom in and witness Beeple’s often irreverent but always engaging evolution as an artist pixel by pixel. The capacity to represent 13 years of an artist’s career in a single work perfectly illustrates the limitless nature of this medium. Not unlike the advent of Street Art as a blue chip collecting category, NFT-based art is on the threshold of becoming the next ingeniously disruptive force in the art market. Christie’s is proud to be in the vanguard of this exhilarating movement.”


    Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

    A universal tribute by the artist Banksy to those fighting Covid-19 worldwide comes up at Christie’s 20th century art evening sale in London on March 23. Banksy’s Game Changer will be offered with a pre-sale estimate of £2,500,000-3,500,000. It appeared at Southampton General Hospital during the first wave of the pandemic in May 2020. It was always his intention that it should be auctioned and a reproduction will remain at the hospital. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the NHS.

    UPDATE: Game Changer sold for £16,758,000. Proceeds will be used to support health organisations and charities across the UK that enhance the care and treatment provided by the NHS. Christie’s will donate a significant portion of the Buyer’s Premium to these cause