Rare Richter Leads Strong Contemporary Results

Launch Slideshow

LONDON – The Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 8 March reached a total of £118 million, exceeding the pre-sale estimate and setting records for a number of artists including Georg Baselitz, whose 1965 painting Mit Roter Fahne (With Red Flag) sold for £7.5 million. The sale was led by Gerhard Richter's serene landscape Eisberg, which sparked a prolonged battle in the room and on the phones, selling for £17.7 million, to delighted applause in the saleroom. It was one of a trio of Richters to feature in the night's top 10 lots with Gebirge fetching £4,096,250 and Abstraktes Bild going for £3,983,750. In an evening which saw strong prices achieved for works by artists such as David Hockney, Yayoi Kusama and Adrian Ghenie. Christopher Wool's graphic large-scale canvas Untitled was another highlight, achieving £7.1 million, more than double its high estimate. Click ahead to see the results.

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Contemporary Art Evening Auction

Rare Richter Leads Strong Contemporary Results

  • Gerhard Richter, Eisberg, 1982. Sold for £17,708,750.
    Eisberg is one of the finest landscape paintings of Richter's career. No other genre has fascinated him so extensively nor occupied him over such a long period, yet the total number of major landscapes created by Richter is relatively low, making them distinctly rare.

  • Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled (One Eyed Man or Xerox Face), 1982. Sold for £11,971,250.
    Basquiat's heroic male figures, always depicted with both arms raised aloft, and often shown with a studded halo or roughly pronged crown, formed the centrepiece of almost all the artist's most important early works.

  • Georg Baselitz, Mit Roher Fahne (With Red Flag), 1965.
    Sold for £7,471,250.
    Mit Roter Fahne hails from Georg Baselitz's most important series of paintings; the seminal corpus of Heroes that cemented his reputation as one of the most provocative and compelling voices of the post-war era. During his long career, he has assiduously challenged the realities of history and art history in order to deliver a searing analysis of human existence in the wake of the war.

    Watch Normal Rosenthal discuss the significance of this work

  • Christopher Wool, Untitled, 2007. Sold for £7,133,750.
    In addition to the freedom of linear movement there is also a certain street-smart quality to the aesthetic of works such as Untitled. From the outset of Wool’s career his identity has been associated with an abrasive urban sensibility and the forms in his grey paintings lend themselves to a comparison with graffiti.

  • Alexander Calder, Black Lace, circa 1947. Sold for £5,221,250.
    Spanning over eight feet, Alexander Calder's monumental Black Lace bears witness to the artist’s career-defining friendship with Brazilian architect Henrique Mindlin. The pair first met in New York in 1944, and forged a personal and professional relationship that would span several decades.

    Watch the film on Calder's time in Brazil here.  

  • Gerhard Richter, Gebirge, 1968. Sold for £4,096,250.
    Powerfully delivering an Alpine vista in utterly epic proportions, Gerhard Richter's Gebirge (1968) is a rare work from a small corpus of mountainscapes created between 1967 and 1970. Rising like an apparition, this depiction of the Flüela Pass in Switzerland appears from afar like a photorealist depiction, while upon close inspection the image gradually blurs into an amalgamation of greyscale daubs and punctuated brushstrokes.

  • Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild, 1988. Sold for £3,983,750.
    Created in 1988, this painting is dramatic in colour and engaging in composition, aptly demonstrating the theatre of Richter's idiosyncratic painterly method. Created at the start of Richter's seminal 1988–1992 period of production, during which time his Abstrakte Bilder realised new heights of sophistication and elegance, the present work epitomises the series' strength.

  • Martin Kippenberger, Die Mutter von Joseph Beuys, 1984.
    Sold for £3,983,750.
    Die Mutter von Joseph Beuys is one of two monumental paintings depicting the artist's likeness in the guise of Joseph Beuys's mother. Never offered at auction before, the portrait is based upon a photograph of Joseph Beuys – the legendary conceptual artist – as a child walking with his mother.

  • Tom Wesselmann, Smoker #5 (Mouth #19), 1969. Sold for £3,871,250.
    Smoker #5 (Mouth #19) from 1969 is a prime example of Tom Wesselmann's iconic series of shaped canvases that focused on the enlarged and disembodied mouth of an anonymous female, caught in the act of enjoying a cigarette. Both the Smoker series and the earlier Mouth paintings, emerged from the artist's watershed works from the early 1960s, the Great American Nudes, Wesselmann's iconic contribution to the explosion of American Pop art of the time.

  • Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1969. Sold for £3,533,750.
    The series of works on paper to which Untitled belongs was the inspiration for a concurrent group of Black and Gray paintings, among the final expressions of the artist's oeuvre. In their composition and chromatic sensibility, these works are irrevocably linked, jointly constituting the ultimate stage of exploration and experimentation in the career of the foremost pioneer of Abstract Expressionism.


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