S pring is a season of renewal and reinvention. It is the time when you can reimagine the way things are, when you can create a new world. This season at Sotheby’s we are inviting you to become part of this. It is an opportunity to be led by the greatest creative minds to discover new ways of being; it is the moment when a new world becomes possible.
As museums take on bolder ways of presenting their worlds to us, London sees the opening of an immersive exhibition around the ultimate source for world-building, Alice in Wonderland. In March, we welcomed curator Kate Bailey and former American Vogue creative director Grace Coddington for a panel discussion ahead of the V&A museum’s forthcoming exhibition Alice: Curiouser & Curiouser.
The exhibition delves into the world of Lewis Carroll and discusses the ways in which Surrealism continues to infuse the work of artists working today. Over at New York’s Botanical Gardens, meanwhile, renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama presents her own wonderland with Cosmic Nature – an exhibition that focuses on her long-standing fascination with nature, and sets the stage for her inclusion in the (Women) Artists auction in May – our first-ever sale dedicated to women artists.
Our other projects and partnerships show how the potential of a new world can be found in different – often unexpected – places. Jean Dubuffet, whose work will be celebrated in an exhibition sponsored by Sotheby’s at the Barbican, used tools such as pebbles, string and glass to propose fresh thinking in the post-war age. For Mark Rothko, new realms could be reached through light, form and architecture: the renovated Rothko Chapel providing a space in which spirituality can be understood afresh and the subject of another panel discussion in our Talks series.
For the artist Marina Abramović, it is possible to create change with merely a look. The performance superstar has redefined her genre since emerging on the scene in the 1970s, baring her soul in public art spaces so that others could do the same.
This year she takes part in our panel discussion for the (Women) Artists sale. This is, among many things, a signal of Abramović’s indelible influence on contemporary art history at a time when many female artists are finally being critically and commercially reconsidered.
The potential of art to transform and create new opportunities for escape continues to proliferate in the wider world but also in the work we do day-to-day. We are also continuing our commitment to promoting creativity with the latest Contemporary Curated sale in London, guest curated by actor, collector and Talk Art podcast host Russell Tovey, who has long been captivated by the imagination of artists.
In Hong Kong, the Modern Art sale includes three works that cross the aesthetic worlds of East and West: a transportive piece by Chu Teh-Chun, depicting a snowy train journey through the Swiss Alps, and portraits by Pablo Picasso and Sanyu.
Talking Contemporary Curated with Russell Tovey
And we are seeking, as ever, to bring the greatest and most inspiring lots to auction throughout the season: in New York in May, a sale of museum-quality works from the collection of the late rancher and philanthropist Anne Marion will include masterpieces by Clifford Still, Andy Warhol, and Richard Diebenkorn.
We also reveal how the imagination can be expressed through mastering the art of jewelry and the form of design. The week-long flagship sale series held in Geneva is led by a stunning pearl and diamond tiara that shows how goldsmiths Musy Padre & Figli were capable of translating the materials of their craft into a sublime piece/crowning jewel for Italy’s Princess Maria Vittoria of Savoy on the occasion of her wedding in 1867.
To mark the first appearance of the tiara on the global market, Sotheby’s has launched an Instagram filter which presents this important historic jewel to a 21st century audience. The filter enables followers to virtually ‘try on’ the tiara and capture a picture of themselves wearing the headpiece against the background of Palazzina di Caccia di Stupinigi in Turin – a former hunting lodge for the House of Savoy. Try it on @sothebys or @sothebysjewels
More broadly, Daniel Arsham will appear in a Sotheby’s Talk in collaboration with luxury digital publication Jing Daily on how popular culture has infused and redefined luxury in China, or London’s Design Museum on how the street-scene world of sneakers has been the jumping off point for new and unexpected directions in fashion and luxury collecting.
Never has the need to reimagine felt so opportune: take a journey with us and see where it leads.
Image: Peter Rigaud / Laif / Camera Press London