PRESS RELEASE: British Artists to Headline Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction - 6 October 2017
Antony Gormley: A Case For An Angel I (1989). Plaster, fibreglass, lead, steel and air 197 x 858 x 46 cm. Estimate: £5,000,000-7,000,000
London – Christie’s will present Antony Gormley’s A Case for an Angel I (1989, estimate £5,000,000- 7,000,000) as a highlight of Christie’s Frieze Week Auctions. Poised to set an auction record for the artist, Antony Gormley’s A Case for an Angel I is a magnetic and imposing presence, resplendent with an 8.5-metre wingspan. British artists will form a focal point of Christie’s Frieze Week Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 6 October 2017, which will also feature masterworks by major figures, including Peter Doig, Hurvin Anderson and Jenny Saville. This autumn season will bring together a number of key works that demonstrate the power and far reaching impact that British art had in the 1990s and beyond. These will be on view from 30 September 2017 at Christie’s King Street.
Katharine Arnold, Head of the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction: “Antony Gormley has pioneered a poignant type of sculpture reflecting upon the balance of human aspirations versus our physical limitations. A Case for an Angel I (1989) is the original articulation of this concept, configured in the 1:1 size of the artist’s body and with an 8.5-metre wingspan, the sculpture creates a vast optical horizon. We expect the sculpture, which prefigured the artist’s landmark sculpture the Angel of the North at Gateshead, to perform at the highest levels. This October we are also showcasing the best of 1990s painting, from Jenny Saville to Hurvin Anderson who is a nominee for this year’s Turner Prize. Hurvin Anderson’s paintings perfectly capture the elegiac quality of memory and the brilliant colours of his compositions leave you feeling like you have just stepped out of a dream. I am always struck by how extraordinary the surfaces of Jenny Saville’s paintings are. Saville is the champion of the unconventional subject. Through her masterful use of paint she showcases the ‘surprising’ aspects of human beauty.”
Gormley’s A Case for an Angel I (1989) is an iconic form, cast from the artist’s own standing body, that marks the first appearance of an angel in Gormley’s work, and bears a direct relationship to his Angel of the North (1998) – the 200-ton COR-TEN steel monument that towers over Gateshead in North-East England. A Case for an Angel I itself commanded the entire Front Hall of the British Museum from October 2008 through January 2009, in dialogue with icons of ancient sculpture including the colossal Assyrian winged bulls of the 11th-8th centuries BC. The two further works in Gormley’s ‘A Case for an Angel’ series are held in museum collections: A Case for an Angel II (1990) is part of the collection of Takaoka Art Museum, Toyama, Japan and A Case for an Angel III (1990) is part of the Tate Collection, London.
A masterwork dating from a pivotal period in Peter Doig’s practice, Camp Forestia (1996, estimate: £14,000,000-18,000,000) dramatizes the haunting slippages of memory, reflection and dream. Against an inky, tangled forest dappled with starlight, a lone cabin glows in luminous bone white, mirrored in the glassy lake below. Its windows are dark as if long abandoned; the scene is deserted, save for a ghostly figure who hovers almost imperceptibly in the foreground. Standing among the artist’s finest paintings of the 1990s, with studies held in both Tate, London, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the work represents a powerful transposition of his most important motif that of the isolated dwelling, enshrined in his seminal series of Concrete Cabins. With a distinguished exhibition history that includes Peter Doig: Homely at the Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen (1996) and Peter Doig: Blizzard Seventy-Seven at the Kunsthalle zu Kiel (1998), Camp Forestia is a work of technical virtuosity.
Painted in 1992, Jenny Saville’s The Bride (estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000) is a virtuoso early work by the artist that captures the very essence of her practice: the sensuous embodiment of flesh in paint, and its relationship to the representation of women. Related to breakthrough works by Saville such as Branded (1992), Prop (1992) and Plan (1993), the work is inscribed on its reverse with the words: 'Jenny Saville 4th year Glasgow School of Art'. Painted a year later, Saville’s Cindy (1993, estimate: £400,000-600,000) meets our eyes with a forthright stare. Every inch of the canvas is taken up by a woman’s face, frontal and direct. The work’s title is likely a nod to the artist Cindy Sherman, whom Saville esteems both for her incisive exploration of the constructed façades of personal appearance, and, as a female artist, for her exploiting the dual position of gazer and gazed upon.
Rendered on a sprawling, immersive scale, Hurvin Anderson’s Country Club: Chicken Wire (2008, estimate: £700,000-1,000,000) is a brooding mise-en-scène that stands among Hurvin Anderson’s most iconic works. A masterful essay in the dialogue between figuration and abstraction, it depicts a deserted tennis court bathed in tropical heat, glimpsed through a chicken wire fence. Executed in 2008, it is one of the largest and most fully-worked renditions of this subject, which has defined nearly a decade of his career. Another example of his much-celebrated oeuvre Mount Royal (Lac des Castors) (1998, estimate: £400,000-600,000), is a seminal early work executed on a monumental scale. Created in 1998 it captures the slippages of time, memory and place that have come to define Anderson’s oeuvre. It was also this year that he graduated from the Royal College of Art, having studied under Peter Doig, and a year that marks the birth of an artistic language that most recently has seen him nominated for the Turner Prize.
Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had global auction, private and digital sales in 2017 that totalled £5.1 billion / $6.6 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions 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 also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.
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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.