Sotheby’s in London is getting ready for another seasonal display of wealth, as some of world’s richest art-buyers are expected to bid on pieces collectively worth over 306 million euros.
Work by the German painter Gerhard Richter, the world’s ‘most expensive living artist’, are among those under the hammer, with his bold red oil painting – ‘Wand (Wall)’ – estimated to fetch a cool 18 million euros.
Painted in 1994, it has been shown in 20 museum exhibitions, including the Richter retrospective ‘Forty Years of Painting’ at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, but it has never before been offered for sale by the artist. As Sotheby’s Head of Contemporary Art, Alex Branczik, noted, this makes it’s sale even more exciting: “It’s called ‘Wand’ which translates to ‘Wall’, and really one of the incredible things about this painting is that the artist chose to keep it in his own personal collection, from the time that it was painted in 1994 until 2010 when it was acquired by its present owner.”
Elsewhere, Andy Warhol’s notorious ‘Mao’ is estimated to sell between 6.6 and 9 million euros, whilst a Lucian Freud will set you back around 4 million euros.
Of course, that’s nothing compared to the record price of 80 million euros paid in 2010 for Alberto Giacometti’s life-size sculpture ‘Walking Man’. This time round, Sotheby’s is offering an altogether cheaper (and smaller) version of the same piece.
As the Chairman of Impressionist and Modern Art for Sotheby’s in Europe, Helena Newman, notes, despite the size, the model is still expected to be a big hit: “We have one of the first renditions of the figure of the ‘Walking Man’. It’s actually called ‘l’homme traversant une place’ and it’s one of Giacometti’s first renditions of what was to become this extraordinary, iconic figure. We’ve estimated it at 3 to 6 million euros but I anticipate it will attract a lot of interest.”
Many auctioneers recorded record sales in 2013 and whilst something like van Gogh’s ‘L’Homme est en Mer’ might seem a slightly pricey Valentine’s Day present at 10 million Euros, this year’s art-market is showing no signs of deflation.
The Impressionist and Modern Art auction at Sotheby’s takes place later this week, with the Contemporary Art sale on 12th – 13th February.