Christie’s is proud to present the magnificent collection of renowned German music producer Siggi Loch and his wife Sissy, centred around works associated with the colour blue by key figures of post-war and contemporary art. The now Berlin based philanthropists have shaped a collection of work which acts as a comprehensive timeline of the main themes and movement within western contemporary art. A staggering collection of 45 works by world-class artists including Yves Klein, Gerhard Richter, Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke, Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Sam Francis, to name a few, will be offered under the title of a Miles Davis piece, “A Kind of Blue” in Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening and Day Sale on 27 & 28 June 2012 in London. All proceeds from the sale will benefit the Siggi and Sissy Loch Charitable Foundation, which is dedicated to the alleviation of human and animal suffering.
“Over the past 20 years, every time we met I was greatly impressed how the art collector and jazz producer Siegfried Loch understood the link between music and visual art. Not only did he use contemporary art works on the covers of the records he produced, he has also inspired numerous artists to write compositions for the works of his collection. Since purchasing the painting Blauklang by Ernst Wilhelm Nay at a Christie’s sale, Siggi and Sissy Loch have put together a remarkable collection dedicated to the fascination with the colour blue. It is an honour for Christie’s to sell his collection to facilitate the intention of Siggi and his wife Sissy Loch to create a foundation which is meant to ease animal suffering and support people in despair“, explains Christiane Gräfin zu Rantzau, Chairman Christie’s Deutschland.
“The Siggi and Sissy Loch collection demonstrates not only the unrivalled connoisseurship, but also the extraordinary foresight and bravado of these two remarkable collectors. Siggi Loch is driven by his desire to discover new artists, a search which has led him to discover early works by Gerhard Richter when the artist was still relatively unknown. It is a privilege for Christie’s to offer international collectors the opportunity to acquire these inspiring discoveries of superb quality and impeccable provenance, with proceeds of the sale benefiting many worthwhile causes” comments Lock Kresler, Director Post-War and Contemporary Art.
“We decided to sell these works in order to set up the Siggi and Sissy Loch Foundation. Having been an active supporter of the arts all my life, my wife suggested focusing our efforts on providing critical support for people in despair and animals who are suffering, and who are unable to help themselves. We are delighted to have such a strong partner in Christie’s, to raise the maximum funds possible to support the Siggi and Sissy Loch Charitable Foundation” explains Siggi Loch.
THE COLLECTORS SIGGI AND SISSY LOCH
The remarkable career of Siggi (born Sigfried) Loch began in 1962 when Loch, still in his twenties, joined Philips record label as one of their youngest ever producers. During his time at Philips, Siggi launched the career of German saxophonist Klaus Doldinger and worked with artists such as The Searchers, Jerry Lee Lewis and Spencer Davies. At age 26 Siggi left Philips and continued his career at Liberty Records Germany. In 1971 he joined the international music conglomerate WEA, rising to become the head of Warner Music Europe.
From his early years, Loch’s appetite in music was jazz and in 1992 he realized an ambition that he had been harbouring since the start of his career in the music industry and founded the leading independent Jazz label ACT. The first project Loch undertook at ACT was Jazzpañia, an album inspired by a 1960’s recording of the legendary Miles Davies. Released in 1993, it was a huge success and was nominated for two Grammy awards.
After his first ever visit to a jazz concert by legendary saxophonist Sidney Bechet in 1955 in Hannover, Loch instantly became a jazz fan and – without even owning a record player at that time – he bought his first ever record at the Jazz label Blue Note Records. It was subsequently both the colour blue and the ‘blue notes’ that captured him for a lifetime: “The blue mood is as important in art as it is in music. Influenced by the famous label Blue Note Records, my own label ACT is also the colour blue. The incorporation of the major and minor scales as a basis for chordal construction that creates a ‘blue mood’, is central to creating the distinctive sound of jazz music” said Siggi Loch in an interview with German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung on the exhibition of his collection, titled Paint it blue at Museum Weserburg Bremen in spring 2007.
THE COLLECTION SIGGI AND SISSY LOCH
Loch‘s interest in contemporary art, as explained in the same interview, was triggered by graphic designer Willy Fleckhaus (1925-1983), who was the co-founder and art director of the German lifestyle magazine twen, which was the epitome of the 1960s and 1970s German Zeitgeist. twen issued a record series to accompany the magazine, which was produced by Loch when he worked for Phillips Records in the early 1960s. Loch said: “Fleckhaus‘ covers were never connected with music, he always used contemporary art – at that time it was Op art - he really opened my eyes - this collaboration between music and art - was defining for me and that’s when I started to buy prints, lithographs and go to art shows, galleries and so on.“
The key moment for Siggi Loch, which gave the blue collection its direction, was in 1988 when he acquired Blauklang (1953) by Ernst Wilhelm Nay (1902-1968) at a Christie’s auction, meaning Bluesounds in English. The painting is particularly significant within Ernst Wilhelm Nay’s oeuvre, representing the transition between his “Rhythmische Bilder“(Rhythmic Pictures) to his celebrated series “Scheibenbilder“ (Disc Paintings). Proliferating with gestural forms and brilliant, circular spots of colour across its surface, the painting takes on a lyrical and almost rhythmic form, reflecting the vibrant mood of post-war Cologne. Nay moved from Hofheim/Taunus to Cologne in 1951, encountering a vital cultural atmosphere despite the years of privation caused by the war. Contemporary composers such as Boulez, Nono and Stockhausen were busy expressing a new freedom in music and Nay became readily involved in these performances. The artist staged his own visual reflections on these musical pieces which ’veritably effervesced with joie de vivre, rhythm, opulence of colour, rapidity of stroke, a revealing in energy-charged movement’. Blauklang (1953) marks the height of this period and it was during these years that Nay made his decisive breakthrough, gaining recognition not only in Germany but internationally. In 1955, just two years after Blauklang was realised, the artist received his first one-man retrospective in the United States and was honoured with a solo exhibition at the Venice Biennale and inclusion in Documenta, Kassel. Blauklang will be offered in the evening sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art , estimated at £100,000-150,000.
The group of works from the Loch collection is led by an important work by the protagonist of the “blue epoch“: Yves Klein (1928-1962). Klein’s Anthropométrie (ANT49), executed in 1960 - the year when Klein registered the blue pigment he developed as International Klein Blue (IKB) at the patent office in Paris, is a quintessential example of his celebrated series of Anthropométries. This series of surprisingly dynamic paintings was made, under the artist’s direction, from the imprints of nude women coated in paint so as to become the artist’s ‘living brushes’. Klein instructed this particular model to create a forceful and iconic imprint of her torso by straddling the painting’s sky-blue, rain-spattered, ‘cosmogonic‘ paper ground. Using this method, Klein and the model created a variety of Anthropométries in his Paris apartment in 1960. Anthropométrie (ANT49) is a rare example within the series with its clear and singular imprinted image of a human torso and it has been proudly signed on the front of the work by the artist. Klein said: “It was the block of the body itself, that is to say the trunk and part of the things that fascinated me. The hands, the arms, the head, the legs were of no importance. Only the body is alive, all powerful, and non-thinking“. An extension of the field of painting into the realm of action, gesture and performance, Klein described his Anthropométries as ‘the mark of the moment states of flesh’. The Anthropométries are, as Klein’s friend and Nouveau Réaliste colleague Pierre Restany noted, ’blue gestures’ that run ’through 40,000 years of modern art to be reunited with the anonymous handprint (...) that signified the awakening of man to self-awareness and the world’. Anthropométrie (ANT49) was added to the Siggi and Sissy Loch collection in 2007 and will be offered in the evening sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art at an estimate of £1 – 1,5 million.
Another highlight of the Loch collection is Georg Baselitz‘ (*1938) Strandbild 10- Night in Tunisia II (estimate £400.000-500.000), executed in 1981, forms part of Baselitz’ Strandbild (Beach Paintings) series and is a vast, monumental (250 x 200 cm) canvas swathed in vivid, energetic strokes of azure blue, vigorously and freely applied over the surface of the canvas. It depicts a single female figure lying sideways with her arm stretched out behind her body. Composed largely from the interplay of blue, red and black, Baselitz allows hints of crisp alabaster to radiate from beneath the layers of paint. A small, windowless house with a black door, mostly obscured by rough, quick gestures of blue, is inverted at the centre of the canvas. In this painting Baselitz emphasizes the flatness of the picture plane, never fully covering the edges, leaving areas of the primary layer of white untouched. Originally part of the Saatchi Collection, Strandbild 10- Night in Tunisia II has been exhibited widely in many important international venues. Beginning with the seminal 1981 exhibition at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf with fellow German painter Gerhard Richter, the painting was also part of the group exhibition Pierrot: Melancholie und Maske in 1995 at the Haus der Kunst in Munich.
Abstraktes Bild (1995) by Gerhard Richter (*1932), whose art Siggi Loch discovered as early as 1973, is painted in strong, vertical brush strokes of different shades of blue and white. The painted surface is primed and scraped and gives the impression of a water plane, which is broken by streams of light. Hence Abstraktes Bild (1995) could even be a late relative of Claude Monet’s late water lily paintings, which with their very free brushwork and extraordinary improvisatory colour pioneered post-war abstract painting. Abstraktes Bild will also be included in the evening sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art and will be offered at an estimate of £600,000-800,000.
German painter Sigmar Polke (1941-2010) is well-known for his critically acclaimed examinations of mass-media and popular culture. Building on the tongue-in-cheek humour of his Capitalist Realist paintings from the 1960s, he embarked on an increasingly complex journey in which he attempted to find new meaning in the medium by bringing about unexpected interventions on the painted surface. In Untitled (1998), which will be offered from the Loch collection at an estimate of £150.000-200.000, this commanding painting combines the rigid formality of the hexagonal honeycomb motif with a looseness of brushstrokes that criss-cross the picture plane. Like his Lapis Lazuli paintings from the same year, the surprising combination of strict geometry and abstraction encourages a re-assessment of the established rules of artistic comprehension.
The group of works from the Loch collection is completed by Composition in Blue and White (1960) by the American painter Sam Francis (1923-1994). Two years before this painting was executed, Sam Francis returned to Paris, which had been his principal residence since 1950, after a year-long world tour that took him by way of Mexico, to Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, and India. Composition in Blue and White reflects a synthesis of his innate love for colour and light, and a new understanding of space and calligraphic line derived from his Asian experiences. From the 1960s onward, Sam Francis developed his very personal form of spontaneous and gestic drippings, applying acrylic, oil and watercolours to the canvas with revolving and splashing motions. Composition in Blue and White was acquired by Siggi Loch in 1995 and will be offered at an estimate of £250.000-350.000. Apart from Sigmar Polke‘s Untitled (1998), all works mentioned were shown in the celebrated exhibition of the Siggi and Sissy Loch collection, entitled Paint it blue at Museum Weserburg Bremen in 2007.
The day sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art on 28 June 2012, will offer a further 39 works by prolific German post-war artists including: Jean Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010), Thomas Demand (*1964), Lucia Fontana (1899-1968), Andreas Gursky (*1955), Jörg Immendorf (*1945-2007), Raymond Pettibon (*1957), Ed Ruscha (*1937), Emil Schumacher (1912-1999) and others, with estimates from £3.000-5.000 to £150.000-250.
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Post-War and Contemporary Evening Sale 27 June 2012
Post-War and Contemporary Day Sale 28 June 2012
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*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.