Sotheby's to offer tiny masterpieces in Actual Size sale



2017-03-13 10:32:37

Sotheby's is set to host an innovative new art sale later this year, featuring a selection of remarkable – and more importantly, small – masterpieces.

The Sotheby's Actual Size sale will offer paintings, sculptures and works on paper from a variety of different periods and styles, none of which measure larger than 11.6" by 8.9".

All these artworks will appear illustrated in the auction catalogue along with the description "Actual size".

"Sometimes in life, things are perceived to be limited by their size," said Thomas Bompard, Head of Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sales in London. "We’ve all heard 'It is sublime….but it’s small!' or 'He’s great, but so short'."

"However, with the sheer quality of every lot in Actual Size, we expect to hear the cry: 'It’s even more brilliant because it’s small!' These works are often intense: intensely personal, intensely intimate and intensely powerful.

"And then there’s just the fact that certain artists excel on this scale: Dali is never as good as when he paints small. There’s an earth-shattering intensity to so many of these works – something which speaks to the discreet sophistication of so many collectors."

The announcement of the special auction comes hot on the heels of Sotheby's recent sales series in London, in which numerous small artworks achieved larger-than-expected prices.

Notable highlights – none of which measured more than 13" in width -  included Gustav Klimt's diminutive oil on canvas 'Mädchen im Grünen', which sold for $5.24 million; Paul Gauguin's 'Te Arii Vahine-La Femme aux mangos (II)', which fetched £10.25 million; and Marc Chagall's 'La Tour Eiffel', which realized $1.1 million.

"The sale chimes with a particular kind of collecting interest that is ever-more pronounced among today’s collectors – the evidence of which was readily apparent in Sotheby’s salerooms over the course of the last week," said Bompard.

"There, we saw small but power-packed works – be they by Gauguin, de Staël, Klimt or Klein - attract interest and competition almost in direct anticorrelation to their scale."

The Actual Size sale takes place at Sotheby's in London on June 21.

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