Frank Auerbach work tops £2 million at Bonhams London sale

Simone Says

Simone Says

2016-02-15 11:01:42

The latest Bonhams Post-War and Contemporary Art sale saw numerous works soar above their estimates, led by a major portrait by Frank Auerbach.

The London auction realized a total of £6.36 million, far above its pre-sale estimate of £4.5 million, with 48 artworks snapped up in front of a packed saleroom.

Leading the sale was the Auerbach painting 'E.O.W. on her Blue Eiderdown V', one of a series of portraits featuring the artist's most famous model Estella West.

Having met the older West in 1950 whilst he was still a teenager, Auerbach became first her lodger then her lover, and the pair maintained a relationship for more than 20 years. During this time he painted numerous portraits of her, of which 'E.O.W. on her Blue Eiderdown V' is considered to be one of the finest.

Having remained hidden in a private collection for 50 years, the painting crossed the block with an estimate of £1-£1.5 million and sold for a final price of £2,042,500 ($2.95 million) – a new auction record for a figurative work by Auerbach.

Elsewhere there were strong results for Untitled (Red Fan) by Kazuo Shiraga, the first sculpture ever auctioned by the co-founder of the radical Gutai art group, which sold for £1,538,500 ($2.22 million); and Peju's Robe, a large hanging work by the celebrated African artist El Anatsui, which beat its estimate of £450,000-550,000 to sell for £806,500 ($1.16 million).

Further notable lots included another Auerbach work, The Studios II, which sold for sold for £422,500; Banksy's Keep it Real, which sold for £194,500; and Victor Vasarely's TALLER-VV, which nearly tripled its estimate of £50,000-£70,000 to sell for £146,500.

"The carefully curated selection of lots in the sale explored value in all of its definitions across the world," said Ralph Taylor, Bonhams Senior Director of Post-War and Contemporary Art.

"The competitive bidding and high prices achieved today are testament to the sensational nature of the works offered. It has been a particular honour to sell the first Shiraga sculpture offered at auction and to set the new standard for this artist, whose global significance is ever-growing."

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