Sotheby’s Goes Pop! Contemporary Highlights in London

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Launch Slideshow

Earlier this year, Jean-Michel Basquiat supplanted his mentor Andy Warhol as the most valuable American artist at auction with a new $110.5 million artist record established in New York. Now, these two leading American artists are headlining Sotheby’s Contemporary Art sales in London later this month, with Andy Warhol’s first self-portrait, a three-part frieze by Basquiat, and the sale of two collaborative works made by both artists from the collection of fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. In a sale dominated by Pop art, these paintings are joined by Roy Lichtenstein’s Picasso-inspired Two Paintings with Dado, a red and green neon painting by Keith Haring from the artist’s first breakthrough show in 1982, and an imposing 3.5 metre tall Damien Hirst spot painting, coming to sale for the first time. Click ahead to see highlights from the sale.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction
28 June | London

Sotheby’s Goes Pop! Contemporary Highlights in London

  • Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait.
    Estimate £5,000,000–7,000,000.
    Self-Portrait comes from a concise series of nine similarly titled works, each made in the same scale using silkscreen prints enlarged from the same shred of photographic source material. Warhol made these seminal paintings at the behest of the feted Detroit collector Florence Barron, who had been taken to his studio in 1963 by Ivan Karp, legendary dealer at the Leo Castelli Gallery, in order to discuss the commission of her own portrait. In the latter part of the twentieth-century, Andy Warhol joined the ranks of Rembrandt van Rijn, Vincent van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso to take his place amongst the most important and influential self-portraitists in the history of art.

  • Jean-Michel Basquiat, Wire. Estimate £350,000–500,000 (left). Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled.
    Estimate £4,000,000–6,000,000 (centre). Keith Haring, Untitled. Estimate £600,000–800,000 (right).
    Forged in a fury of idiosyncratic oilstick, Wire  at once demonstrates the skill of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s draughtsmanship and the immense scope of his influence while the breathtaking Untitled demonstrates the artist’s creative reimagining of the weighted genre of history painting. Haring’s oft-repeated pyramid and UFO motifs are here articulated in neon pink and vivid green paint offering a pulsating viewing experience that echoes the sonic rhythms and drum machines of nascent hip-hop, encapsulating the vibrant and liberal spirit of the underground New York club scene during the early 1980s.

  • Damien Hirst, 1-Heptene. Estimate £500,000–700,000.
    A colossal expanse of individual chromatic circles, the cellular kaleidoscopic field of 1-Heptene  is an immaculate example of Damien Hirst's iconic corpus of spot paintings. First conceived alongside the Medicine Cabinets in the early 1990s, Hirst's spot paintings are imbued with the same measured rational order and pleasing formal cogency of his pharmacy-store vitrines.

  • Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, New Flame.
    Estimate £1,700,000–2,200,000 (left). Roy Lichtenstein, Two Paintings with Dado. Estimate £2,400,000–3,000,000 (centre). Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sweet Pungent. Estimate £1,400,000–1,800,000 (right).
    Juxtaposing art historical icons and unifying them via the author’s own borrowed aesthetic, Roy Lichtenstein’s Two Paintings with Dado at once reaffirms and furthers Lichtenstein’s position at the very forefront of appropriation art. Meanwhile, New Flame and Sweet Pungent evince a vibrant meeting of two of the most revolutionary minds in contemporary art. A vibrant medley of iconography and colour, the contrast between the artist’s two most iconic mediums – Warhol’s consciously flat graphically inspired imagery and Basquiat’s coarse, textured oilstick draughtsmanship – is here completely subsumed by the pictorial blend of Warhol and Basquiat's style.

  • Damien Hirst, Contemplation.
    Estimate £700,000– 900,000.
    Delivering an elaborate mosaic of iridescent blue and green, this work  is a mesmerising example of Damien Hirst’s kaleidoscopic Butterfly Grid Paintings. Executed in 2007 and part of a series that began in 2001, it is rife with religiosity and the title evokes an act of spiritual meditation.

  • Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled.
    Estimate £4,000,000–6,000,000 (left). Keith Haring, Untitled. Estimate £600,000–800,000 (right).
    Recalling the sequential progression of a classical frieze in its grand scale and rich communicative power, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s breathtaking Untitled demonstrates the artist’s creative reimagining of the weighted genre of history painting. Underscored by the nascent rhythms of hip-hop and the clatter of metropolitan life, this work gives cinematic form to the new creative epicentre emerging out of downtown New York.  

  • Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sweet Pungent. Estimate £1,400,000–1,800,000.
    The original idea for Warhol and Basquiat’s collaboration came from Swiss art dealer Bruno Bischofberger whose initial suggestion was to also incorporate Francesco Clemente in a tripartite endeavour. While the three artists worked together, it soon became clear that it would just be two artists continuing the collaboration: Warhol and Basquiat. By the spring of 1984, they had begun secretly working on their own collaborations.

  • Damien Hirst, 1-Heptene. Estimate £500,000–700,000 (back). Roy Lichtenstein, Two Paintings with Dado.
    Estimate £2,400,000–3,000,000 (front).
    Speaking about the spot paintings , Damian Hirst said: "I started them as an endless series, a scientific approach to painting in a similar way to the drug companies' scientific approach to life. Art doesn't purport to have all the answers; the drug companies do. Hence the title of the series, The Pharmaceutical Paintings, and the individual titles of the paintings themselves... Art is like medicine, it can heal."

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