T here is a whole lot of art history packed into the grand finale of Sotheby’s flagship summer sale series. When half a millennium’s worth of artworks represented by 71 masterpieces appear within a one-off auction, collectors sit up and pay attention. The sale will offer the very best from Old Masters, Impressionist and Modern Art, Modern & Post-War British Art and Contemporary Art – by way of the Italian Renaissance and the Dutch Golden Age, the revolutionary birth of Modernism, and the invasion of Pop Art and Post-modern Abstraction. There is something for every eye, and an eye for every treasure. “A sale without boundaries,” says Sotheby’s Europe Chairman Helena Newman, “for collectors who look for the best of the best, regardless of where or when the art works were made.” Full of fresh-to-the-market offerings, this is truly an auction moment not to be missed.
This inter-category mix was in fact long overdue, with some renowned collectors showing their flair through the eclectic yet dazzling mix of old and new, classical and trendy. Over a year ago, Sotheby's showed highlights of its Old Master sale at the spanking new Victoria Beckham space – a move that showed the way for art lovers to think beyond chronology and geography.
Choosing favorites in this summer’s line-up is a challenge. However, the Rembrandt portrait is undoubtedly a star lot (some may recall a similar masterpiece sold to the Louvre Abu Dhabi not too long ago for just over £9m). The one presently offered is an equally spectacular masterpiece. Another pick is of course the Matisse whose links to the Middle East are not always well recognized. Some the artist’s key, defining works may never have come to fruition had it not been for the influence of his time in the Arab world – in places such as Tangiers and Morocco that sparked his love of colour. North African textiles frequently inspired his backgrounds, particularly the arabesque form of artistic decoration: designs based on the intertwined, flowing lines of early Islamic art hugely influenced his sense of perspective and space.
Last but not least, an exceptional Hockney – one of today’s most revered yet accessible artists – offers the chance to acquire work by this artist who has just marked his 80th milestone birthday. Giants of art history will be sold on July 28, while Sotheby’s itself makes history through this sweeping auction of a lifetime.
For those who prefer the personal touch, it is possible to call the Sothebys Bidding office and ask to bid through a staff member. Online participation remains simple and user-friendly.