Sotheby’s is delighted to present the Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints on 29th March 2012. This sale will draw together some of the finest exponents of printmaking spanning across five centuries, embodying a variety of styles and techniques.
In the Old Master section, Rembrandt is represented by a particularly strong group, notably with a fine, fourth-state impression of Christ Crucified Between the Two Thieves: ‘The Three Crosses’. Often singled out as the masterpiece of his printed oeuvre, this impression demonstrates Rembrandt’s technical virtuosity and ability to create a dramatic atmosphere and narrative. Also included are Woman at the Bath with a Hat Beside Her,The Descent from the Cross by Torchlight and a ‘black sleeve’ impression of La Petite Tombe. Additionally, a ‘Basan receuil’ published by H. L. Basan amasses over 80 etchings by Rembrandt. Works by Albrecht Dürer, William Blake and After Bosch are also included, among others artists.
The Modern section comprises a vibrant group of British prints by C. R. W. Nevinson, Cyril Power and Sybil Andrews. These eye-catching prints capture an important moment in time: the inter-war period in Britain. This group includes Divertissement and The Runners by Cyril Power, Sledgehammers by Sybil Andrews, The Road from Arras to Bapaume and Building Aircraft: Banking at 4000 Feet by C. R. W. Nevinson. These dynamic images embody the movement, noise and atmosphere of this era in British history and mark a significant chapter in the history of British printmaking.
Pablo Picasso is featured strongly in this section and includes a group of vivid linocuts such as Femme au chapeau (Portrait de Jacqueline au chapeau de paille multicolore) (B. 1074) as well as the lithograph Françoise and a group of colourful pochoir prints. A rare and beautiful lithograph by Conrad Felixmüller, Kohlenbergarbeiter, also in this section, is one of only a few versions of the first state to have extensive hand revisions applied directly to the impression.
The final section of the sale comprises an exciting group of Post-War and Contemporary artists, including Francis Bacon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Damien Hirst. The most important works by these artists are included in this sale. Francis Bacon’s boldly coloured Study for a Bullfight No. 1 is considered to be one of the most significant works in his printed oeuvre. Keith Haring’s Retrospect is another important work which is striking in scale and colour. Damien Hirst is represented by Cathedral Print: Palais des Papes and The Souls on Jacob’s Ladder Take their Flight, both produced with complex techniques, among other works.
Highlights from the Pop section include Andy Warhol’s iconic Scream (After Munch) in a unique combination of colours, as well as Myths: Superman, Marilyn (in three colour combinations) and Anniversary Donald Duck. Richard Hamilton is also well represented with Release, I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas and its counterpart I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas.