RELEASE: Skyscrapers and Sweet Dreams: Christie’s To Present Monumental 23-Foot Tall Bronze Bear Sculpture By Leading Contemporary Artist Outside Manhattan Architectural Masterpiece

New York



New York — Christie’s is about to change the New York cityscape with one of the great sculptural masterpieces of our time.

The world’s leading auction house is honored to announce the sale of Urs Fischer’s Untitled (Lamp/Bear), a 23-foot (7-meters) outdoor bronze sculpture of a bright yellow teddy bear combined with a giant working table lamp, as a highlight of its Post-War & Contemporary Evening Sale on May 11, 2011. Widely regarded as the most important and the most monumental example of contemporary sculpture to come to the auction market, this spectacular bear sculpture was created in 2005-2006 and inspired by Fischer’s memories of his own childhood. In a first for Christie’s, the global auction house has partnered with the owners of the Seagram Building, the architectural masterpiece by Mies van der Rohe in midtown Manhattan, to arrange for a five-month outdoor exhibition of the sculpture on the building’s plaza so that the city at large might enjoy this special glimpse into the creative genius of one of today’s most provocative young artists. The unveiling of Untitled (Lamp/Bear) is slated for Friday, April 8 on the Seagram Plaza, located at 375 Park Avenue.

Brett Gorvy, International Co-Head, Deputy Chairman for Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art commented: “This is one of the most highly-anticipated works of art that Christie's has ever brought to auction. For the next five months, Urs Fischer's immense neon yellow sculpture will quite literally light up the New York skyline, as a gift to this city and to visitors to New York. Just as Jeff Koons’ monumental “Puppy” has transformed the landscape of the city of Bilbao in Spain and put it on the cultural map, Fischer’s Untitled Lamp/Bear promises to be an irresistible beacon that will attract art lovers and visitors to New York.”

“A true landmark sculpture of this nature appeals to private collectors and museums around the world, but could be acquired by a city as a means of attracting cultural tourism. Urs Fischer is regarded as the leading artist of this generation and we anticipate great enthusiasm from the worldwide collecting community when this important work is offered at auction on May 11,” he added.

Admired for his playful and provocative works, Fischer’s towering teddy bear functions as a universal symbol of childhood memory and evokes a multitude of interpretations and emotions, from wonder to nostalgia to tongue-in-cheek humor. Fischer – whose first name is derived from the Latin word for bear – has said the sculpture’s slumping form, button eyes, and fuzzy yellow texture were inspired by his own much-loved teddy bear. The added touch of a working bedside table lamp above the figure’s head is functional, so that the bear can be lit up at night, creating a true spectacle.

To create Untitled (Lamp/Bear), the artist sewed together a teddy bear that was approximately one foot tall and scanned the object using a 3-D laser. He then used the scan to generate the working drawings for a stainless steel interior framework and cast-bronze exterior. The finished bear with its exterior coating of paint and lacquer weighs 35,000 pounds.

 Untitled Lamp/Bear is the first of only three examples of this sculpture, and each are in outstanding private collections. Another example of the sculpture is owned by noted American collector Adam Lindemann and is installed on a bluff at his property on the tip of New York’s Long Island (pictured, page one). At night, the glow from the bear’s gas lamp can be seen for miles, and it has reportedly become a trusted marker for both pilots and fishermen approaching the shore.

Raised in Zurich, Switzerland, Urs Fischer now lives and works in New York City. His playful and provocative works, made in media that include bread loaves, melting wax and rotting vegetables, have recently been seen in solo exhibitions at The New Museum in New York,  the Kunsthaus (Zurich), the Museum Boijmans Vans Beuningen (Rotterdam) and the Centre Pompidou, Paris.


About Christie’s

Christie’s, the world's leading art business had global auction and private sales in 2010 that totaled £3.3 billion/$5.0 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's conducted the greatest auctions of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and today remains a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers over 450 sales annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s has 53 offices in 32 countries and 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai and Hong Kong. More recently, Christie’s has led the market with expanded initiatives in emerging and new markets such as Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Mumbai and Dubai.


The Seagram Building

The Seagram Building on Park Avenue is one of the finest and most elegant examples of curtain-wall architecture in the world. Commissioned in 1958 by the Seagram Company and designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the stainless steel and glass building is recognized as the high point of modernism in part to its architecture and in its urban stance. Following with the architect’s aphorisms of structure is spiritual, the building directly expresses monumental simplicity, structural frame and supreme rationality.  The Seagram Building is a cultural institution with its collections, exhibitions and programs for public art which encompass some of the most unique and appropriate American and European works from the 17th to the 19th Centuries. In April 2003, Christie’s New York auctioned Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Prints sale consisting of nearly 400 lots.


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About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s has sold 8 of the 10 most important single-owner collections in history, including the Paul G. Allen Collection—the most valuable collection ever offered at auction (November 2022). In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). 

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability by reducing our carbon emissions by 50% and pledging to be net zero by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

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