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Auction Description for Christie's: POST-WAR AND CONTEMPORARY


(153 Lots)

by Christie's

153 lots with images

October 23, 2002

8 King Street, St. James's

London, SW1Y 6QT United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)207 839 9060

Fax: +44 (0)207 839 1611


David Hockney (b. 1937)

Lot 101: David Hockney (b. 1937)

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Description: The Salesman signed, titled and dated 'The Salesman David Hockney 63' (on the stretcher), and with an inscription from John Kasmin 'Thanks for the Gallery Kasmin' (on the stretcher) oil and paper collage on canvas 241/2 x 121/4in. (61.5 x 31cm.) Painted in 1963 PROVENANCE Kasmin Limited, London. Richard Burton, London ( circa 1963-1964). Galerie Beyeler, Basel. Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1984. NOTES The David Hockney studio has kindly confirmed the authenticity of the present work. Painted in 1963, David Hockney's The Salesman is a transitional painting, reflecting the many combined influences that flavoured his early work. It was in 1963 that so much of Hockney's life changed: he holidayed in Egypt, he moved to Los Angeles, and he was also gaining increasing recognition, both in terms of prizes and exhibitions, as well as financial remuneration. With the kudos that these various changes afforded him, his art rapidly matured. The influences that had shaped his style in recent years - Pablo Picasso, Jean Dubuffet and ancient Egyptian art - were coming together in a strong fusion. In The Salesman, these various elements are manipulated to create various effects. The lingering interest in the Informel, which Hockney would largely renounce after his arrival in the United States, remains in the collage curtain at the back. This creates an interesting play of textures and colour, with the eponymous main character of the work appearing almost insubstantial by contrast. This appears to be a strangely potent reflection of the main figure's existence with his long Mac and sandwich board, hinting that he is far from being a man of substance. Hockney's early work, which was partly inspired by the scrawled graffiti in public toilets like those in the Earl's Court Underground station, provided fertile ground for Dubuffet's influence. By mixing these styles, and sometimes echoing the graffiti's subject matter, Hockney brought an anxious and anonymous art form into the open. The influence of Picasso can be seen, along with Dubuffet's, in the stylised figuration at play in the work. However, the Egyptian influence is also potent. The salesman appears in profile, a trait common to all Egyptian art. Although Egyptian artists and their styles were anonymous and unspecific, their portraiture was infused with personality and humanity. Likewise, the salesman, a seemingly anonymous character who seems to fade in comparison to his background, is nonetheless lent a personality and dignity by his profile view. He appears to be engaged in an hieratic process, fully absorbed by the ritual of his own life. The insubstantiality of the salesman relative to his background itself has a pertinence when combined with the influence of Egyptian art, which was so funerary in nature. Thus, the salesman himself appears commemorated, rendered substantial by Hockney yet recorded in a way that emphasises the transitory nature of his trade, and hence of his existence. John Kasmin, Hockney's then dealer and friend, recently said of The Salesman that this, one of his favourite works, was a gift from him to the architects Ahrends, Burton and Koralek to thank them for designing his Bond Street gallery.

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Frank Auerbach (b. 1931)

Lot 102: Frank Auerbach (b. 1931)

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Description: Julia acrylic on board 32 1/8 x 32 1/8in. (81.5 x 81.5cm.) Painted in 1988-1989 PROVENANCE Marlborough Fine Art, London. Anon. sale, Sotheby's London, 2 July 1992, lot 60. Acquired at the above sale by the present owner. LITERATURE Frank Auerbach: Recent Works, London 1990, no. 3A (illustrated, p. 34). EXHIBITION London, The Royal Academy of Arts, Frank Auerbach: Paintings and Drawings 1954-2001, September-December 2001, no. 59 (illustrated in colour p. 95).

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Lucian Freud (b. 1922)

Lot 103: Lucian Freud (b. 1922)

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Description: Rose and Sweet Pea signed and dedicated 'Lucian Freud for Jimmy and Tanja' (on the reverse) oil on canvas 12 1/8 x 8in. (30.8 x 20.4cm.) Painted circa 1947 PROVENANCE Acquired directly from the artist by James and Tanya Stern; sale, Sotheby's London, 30 November 1995, lot 116. Acquired at the above sale by the present owner. EXHIBITION Tel Aviv, Museum of Art, Lucian Freud, November 1996-January 1997, no. 8 (illustrated in colour). NOTES It was during the 1940s that Lucien Freud began to consolidate his art. His early experiments and subject matter gradually gained a consistency and a character that became uniquely his own. Here, in Rose and Sweet Pea, painted circa 1947, although a strong de Chirico influence remains which recalls Freud's interest in surreal assemblages, there is an eerie existentialism at play in this work. It has been well noted that from the middle of that decade, the human figure came increasingly to dominate Freud's oeuvre, and although there is no such person within Rose and Sweet Pea, the upright rose has the poise of a human figure. It seems to defy gravity to the same extent that it denies its own shadow. Just as the rose is lent a strange, human quality, the painting gains a strange, dream-like quality. The sparse composition of Rose and Sweet Pea makes this a work more reminiscent of Old Masters than of the Surrealists. Although there is not the same sensuality as can be found in Crivelli's work, the composition forces the viewer almost to read the painting. There is something medieval about the didactic presentation. This appears almost botanical, save for the disjointed juxtaposition of pea and rose. Each plant has a symbolic value, the red rose for love, and the sweet pea for pleasure, although this is usually more linked to the flower than to the plant. Indeed, this last discrepancy is more revealing of Freud's intentions - the peas are being disrobed, bursting sensuously from their pod, making this a simple yet beguiling image that celebrates both natural beauty and sensual love. Rose and Sweet Pea was formerly in the collection of James and Tania Stern, great bastions of the British literary scene who oversaw a translation of the letters of Sigmund Freud - the grandfather of the artist.

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Bruce Bernard (1928-2000)

Lot 104: Bruce Bernard (1928-2000)

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Description: (i) Lucian Freud posing as a Henry Moore, 1983; (ii) Leigh Bowery and Nicola Bateman posing for 'And The Husband (1)', 1993; (iii) Lucian Freud standing with portrait of Leigh Bowery, 1990; (iv) Leigh Bowery posing for Lucian Freud's 'Leigh under the Skylight', 1994 each signed, titled, numbered and dated '(i) B Bernard 1996 11/25; (ii) B Bernard 1996 15/25; (iii) B Bernard 1996 15/25; (iv) B Bernard 1997 17/25' (on labels affixed to the reverses) (i, iii) bromide prints; (ii, iv) colour coupler prints (i) 15 3/8 x 19 7/8in. (39.2 x 50.5cm.); (ii) 16 x 20in. (40.5 x 50.8cm.); (iii) 141/2 x 20in. (36.7 x 50.9cm.); (iv) 191/2 x 153/4in. (50.2 x 40.3cm.) (i, ii and iii) Executed in 1996; (iv) Executed in 1997, these works are from editions of twenty-five (4).

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Ronald B. Kitaj (b. 1932)

Lot 105: Ronald B. Kitaj (b. 1932)

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Description: Goodbye to Catalonia signed, titled and dated 'Goodbye to Catalonia Kitaj 1979-83' (on the reverse) oil on canvas 60 x 24in. (152 x 61 cm.) Painted in 1979-1983 PROVENANCE Marlborough Fine Art, London (34723). Emile Veranneman, Kruishoutem. Acquired from the above by the present owner in the late 1980s. EXHIBITION Kruishoutem, Stichting Veranneman, The Gallery Veranneman invites Marlborough London, New York and Tokyo, November 1986, no. D 1155.

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