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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Bloomsbury Modern & Contemporary Art June 26

Bloomsbury Auctions is pleased to present its annual flagship sale of Modern & Contemporary Art, comprising some 95 lots and estimated at £1.5 – £2 million, presenting works by masters of the 20th Century alongside their contemporary counterparts.

Coinciding with the major retrospective at the Fondation Beyeler of the highly influential French Cubist Fernard Léger, Bloomsbury is offering a privately owned gouache, Nature Morte of 1940 (lot 5). The artist’s auction record was newly established this May, when an important early Cubist work fetched almost $40 million; the present work is offered at £60,000-£80,000.

Due Cavalli is a late piece by the Italian Surrealist ‘par excellence’, Giorgio De Chirico; it was purchased by the grandparents of the current owner directly from the artist, it has never been on the market before and it is estimated £40,000-£60,000.

No Modern and Contemporary Art sale is complete without Pablo Picasso, whose extraordinary inventiveness, dexterity and masterly handling of a wide variety of techniques, continues to influence new generations of artists. Bloomsbury presents two works on paper (lots 11 and 12), both from private collections, which display all that he is famous for. Their reasonable estimates of only £120,000-£180,000 and £100,000-£150,000 respectively, ensure that they will be snapped up by discerning buyers.

Many regard Lucio Fontana as standing head and shoulders above all Italian artists of the post-war era, not only influencing the Arte Povera movement of the 1960s but also the American Minimalists. Renowned for his slashed, monochrome canvases, the scarlet Concetto Spaziale, 1960 (lot 22), consists of thick, heavily impastoed oil paint on canvas with 29 slashes and incisions. A new auction record of just over £10 million was established in February this year; this work is offered at £250,000-£350,000.

An extensive collection of works by Andy Warhol is included in the sale, nearly all from a single private west coast collection, that traces the artist’s career from his naïve style of the 1950s, the iconic images of the 60s to his death in 1987. Alongside a group of preparatory drawings for published prints (particularly interesting is a 1975 portrait of Mick Jagger, (lot 34), there is a rare collaborative work on canvas with fellow New York artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francesco Clemente. Towards the end of his life, Warhol’s admiration and respect for these two artists grew partly due to his role as mentor. There are a number of examples of collaborations between these artists, all of which continue to excite collectors when presented for sale; lot 36 is offered at £100,000-£150,000.

Hero (You’re the Man) is a large (2.5 metre long) original painting on collage by the ‘super-cool’ New Yorker Robert Longo (lot 39). Produced as a token of thanks for Bob Krasnow, the legendary chairman of Elektra Records who helped finance Longo’s first video art project Arena Brains in 1989, it is estimated to fetch between £15,000-£20,000.

Proving its cutting-edge credentials, Bloomsbury is delighted to offer examples of eleven Turner Prize winners and short listed artists including Fiona Banner, Gillian Carnegie, Martin Creed, Tracey Emin, Gilbert & George, Liam Gillick, Damien Hirst, Shirazeh Houshiary, Richard Wilson, and Jane & Louise Wilson and one from a prospective prize winner, Runa Islam (lots 65-82). Lot 69 is the most extensive and important sound installation ever to come onto the market by the 2001 winner Martin Creed. Comprising 39 metronomes, each set to a different beat, this work was first presented at the British School of Rome in 1996 and has been held in a private collection ever since, estimated at £20,000-£30,000.

From the burgeoning Urban Art scene, there are three original items by the key figure in this group, Banksy (lots 89-91). Secured (lot 89), a 7- foot long spray paint on plywood, is accompanied by the authentication certificate signed and stamped with the thumb print by Stephen Lazarides, dated 2004, and is the only known example of this image still surviving. Originally from a boarded-up house in Liverpool, it was originally salvaged by a student and used as a skateboard ramp! Even so the work is still in fine condition and is expected to fetch between £40,000-£60,000. Other artists from the movement included in the sale are: Faile, Adam Neate and Jamie Hewlett (of Gorillaz fame).