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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Sotheby’s to Auction Important Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints

LONDON – Sotheby’s auction of Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints on Tuesday, 1st April, 2008 offers work by major artists across the history of art. Featuring a rare and important collection of graphic works by Henri Matisse as well as a dedicated group of prints by ‘Andy Warhol & The Pop Generation’, the pre-sale exhibition will showcase leading names in the Contemporary art field such as Francis Bacon, Banksy and Basquiat alongside Old Master prints by Dürer, Canaletto and others.

Grand Masque by Henri Matisse (1869-1954) is a highlight from the collection of over a hundred works by Matisse which span forty-six years, reflecting the artist’s bursts of activity and prodigious production in print making. Dating from the 1940s, a period which saw Matisse repeatedly returning to the portrait as one of his favourite print subjects, Grand Masque (1948) is an example of a portrait revealing an immediacy and intimacy which typified Matisse’s desire to capture the essence of his subject. It is estimated at £10,000-12,000.

Lichtenstein, Wesselmann and Hockney are among star names in a section of the sale entitled ‘Andy Warhol & The Pop Generation.’ Sixty-five lots by the progenitor of Pop Art, Andy Warhol (1928-1987), are highlighted by the Myths series with Superman, Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus featured in the series of ten screenprints estimated at £150,000-180,000. A further set of ten screenprints by Warhol showing the famous image of Campbell’s Soup is estimated at £100,000-150,000.

A number of Picasso (1881-1973) works include several fine etchings from the artist’s Vollard Suite – one of Picasso’s greatest sets of graphic art. Picasso was introduced to Ambroise Vollard, an art dealer and publisher, in Paris in 1901 and by July of the same year Vollard had arranged his first exhibition of Picasso’s works. Minotaure Caressant une Dormeuse is a high profile etching from Picasso’s Vollard Suite. It shows a character from Greek mythology – the Minotaur who is part bull, part man caressing a female sleeper. It is estimated at £35,000-45,000.

A very rarely seen collection of etchings of exceptional quality by Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto (1697-1768) includes some of the master’s early impressions of Venice. The group of 14 lots by Canaletto boasts several highlights, among them a view of the Doge’s Palace (illustrated), one of four plates which are together estimated at £6,000-8,000.

Among other Old Masters on offer is a selection of French coloured plates from the 18th and 19th centuries in a quantity and quality that is rarely seen with some examples being from very small editions. Philibert Louis Debucourt’s (1755- 1832) Les Deux Baisers is a fine coloured plate from the period. It is estimated at £3,000-5,000.

With Chinese art well established in the international Contemporary artscene, prints by artists such as Fang Lijun, Wang Guangyi, Yue Minjun, Zeng Fanzhi and Zhang Xiaogang are increasingly sought after. Among the examples in this sale is work by Zhang Xiaogang’s (b. 1958). Amnesia and Memory is a portfolio of 12 lithographs by him . In common with much Chinese art of this period, the series is a response to political events in China (est. £25,000-35,000). Banksy’s (b.1975) witty screenprint Morons, which pokes fun at the art establishment, will also be auctioned at Sotheby’s in the same saleroom that inspired the guerilla artist and forms the subject of the print. Morons appeared on Banksy’s website immediately following the successful sale of several of his works at Sotheby’s, London February 2007 auction of Contemporary art. It is estimated at £3,000-4,000 and is one of six prints by Banksy in the sale which also includes Bomb Hugger and Toxic Virgin, each estimated at £4,000-6,000.