Freud and Basquiat Lead Night of Strong Results in London

Launch Slideshow

The Contemporary Art Evening Auction was led by Lucian Freud's Portrait on a White Cover which soared to £22.5 million after a lively bidding battle on the phones and in the saleroom on its auction debut. The appetite for Jean-Michel Basquiat showed no sign of waning, as three works sold for a combined total of £26.7 million, including Untitled, that rose to £14.7 million. Other highlights included Cecily Brown's The Skin of Our Teeth which achieved three times its low estimate, reaching £3 million, and Peter Doig's dreamlike landscape Daytime Astronomy (Grasshopper) which sold for £7.7 million. Click through to see the top results from the evening, which totalled £110,239,550.

Click here to view the full results:
Contemporary Art Evening Auction

Freud and Basquiat Lead Night of Strong Results in London

  • Lucian Freud, Portrait on a White Cover, 2001-03.
    Sold for £22,464,300.
    Representing the culmination of Freud’s lifelong engagement with the reclining nude – a theme he first embarked upon in 1950 and returned to throughout his career – this painting is one of the last five nudes painted by the artist. The work depicts Sophie Lawrence, who worked at Tate publishing and met Freud whilst he was preparing for his Tate retrospective in 2002.
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982.
    Sold for £14,674,200.
    At once reminiscent of the graffiti of New York’s subway; beholden to the art historical influence of Cy Twombly; evoking the collages and linguistic play of Dada; and channelling a fierce socio-political contemporary angst, Untitled belongs among the most striking and powerful of Basquiat’s single head paintings of 1981-82.
  • David Hockney, Double East Yorkshire, 1998.
    Sold for £11,287,200.
    This large-scale work across two canvasses presents a theme that dominated Hockney's  career for many years: Yorkshire. The vibrant colour and repeat patterns of the fields demonstrate the artist’s passion for his home county and the changing face of the landscape through the seasons. Exhibited in Hockey’s 2012 exhibition at the Royal Academy, the work forms part of an ongoing series of landscapes that resonate with the artist; whether the English county in which he was born and raised, or his adopted home in the Californian sunshine.
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat, New York, New York, 1981.
    Sold for £8,126,000.
    Having resided in the same private collection since 1981 when it was first exhibited in Jean-Michel Basquiat’s seminal exhibition; SAMO at the Galleria d’Arte Emilio Mazzoli in Modena, Italy, New York, New York is a powerful and arresting exhibition of Basquiat’s early period of work that brought the urgency of his art from the street to the studio. Intensely forged in an array of media including oil stick, acrylic, and spray paint, New York, New York is highly charged and raw with energy.
  • Peter Doig, Daytime Astronomy (Grasshopper), 1998-99.
    Sold for £7,674,400.
    Daytime Astronomy (Grasshopper) is a spectacular distillation of all the elements that have made Peter Doig one of the most celebrated painters of his generation. Showcasing the immense invention inherent in Doig’s response to the masters of Twentieth Century art, Daytime Astronomy (Grasshopper) is a perfect realisation of Doig’s immense technical and conceptual awareness, and serves as a testimony to his status as one of the greatest painters working today.
  • Yves Klein, Untitled Anthropometry (ANT 5), 1962.
    Sold for £6,771,200.
    A picture of weightless exaltation – the dawning of Klein’s 'blue epoch – Untitled Anthropometry (ANT 5) is an exquisite, rare instance of Yves Klein’s series of body paintings, the Anthropométries.
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled, 1982.
    Sold for £3,892,250.
    Searing in its electric immediacy, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Untitled is masterful example of this artist’s instinctive draughtsmanship that is deeply imbued with a sense of self-portraiture. The present work was created during a year of unprecedented success for the twenty-two year old prodigy: in 1982 Basquiat had his first solo exhibitions with Larry Gagosian in Los Angeles, Bruno Bischofberger in Zurich, and other galleries in New York and Rotterdam.
  • Francis Bacon, Study of a Figure, 1954.
    Sold for £3,150,000.
    This remarkable painting is a recent Bacon discovery, given that for more than sixty years it remained in private collections, lost to public view until it was exhibited at the Guggenheim Bilbao and the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco in 2016.
  • Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images for Sotheby's
    Cecily Brown, The Skin of Our Teeth.
    Sold for £3,010,000.
    Cecily Brown makes no distinction between abstraction and figuration; rather, her work is concerned with translating sensation into paint. Anchored by the human body, her paintings divulge intimate passages of flesh via a constellation of luscious brushstrokes.
  • Alexander Calder, Untitled, 1956.
    Sold for £2,290,000.
    Created in 1956, Untitled was acquired by the twentieth-century Italian sculptor, Marcello Mascherini the same year. Having remained in the Mascherini family collection since this time, its appearance at auction illustrates a unique creative dialogue between two divergent, yet conceptually linked artists.

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