Brief history of Christie’s auction house
Christie’s was initially founded in 1766 by James Christie. His first exchange of business took place in the ‘Great Rooms’ in London’s Pall Mall displaying items for sale, including two chamber pots and two pillowcases. Since then Christie’s grew in reputation, and the rarity of the works brought mammoth prices for Christie’s increasingly extravagant items. The company was passed down from one generation to the next, becoming one of the world’s leading auction houses. International success followed, with Christie’s opening its first overseas office, in Rome, in 1958. The company now has 10 salerooms around the world, in cities including New York, Paris and Hong Kong. 1990 saw a meteoric moment in history for Christie’s as Van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet became the most expensive artwork ever sold when it raised £49.1m at Christie’s in New York. This was a feat that would soon be replicated after Pablo Picasso’s ‘Nude, Green Leaves and Bust’ sold for a record $106.48m (£81.88m) in 2010, breaking the world record again for the most expensive artwork sold at auction.
Splash! Post-War & Contemporary Summer Exhibition
Christie’s has collections and auctions featuring some of the world’s finest and most sought-after artists, and the Post-War & Contemporary Summer Exhibition was no exception to this. Featuring works of art from world renowned artists such as Tom Wesselman, Martin Kippenberger and David Hockney. The works will all be featured in Christie’s upcoming First Open and Post-War and Contemporary Day auctions with prices ranging from £4,000 to around £600,000 for a Hockney original masterpiece. The exhibition features vibrant, international highlights of the upcoming auctions and has offerings to entice a variety of tastes and styles.
Highlights from the exhibition
After carefully pacing around the impressive Christie’s show room and trying to absorb every ounce of detail from the remarkable exhibition of art work on display, three of the paintings really stood out for me:
Untitled by Henry Taylor (2007)
With Taylor’s work lauded for being ‘sensuous, vibrant, bold, fast and loose, full of empathy, generosity, and love, and the visual equivalent to blues music, while retaining a profound critical social sensibility.’ This painting encapsulates just that. The piece caught my eye due to its culturally motivated theme of rising against the Police oppression of African Americans. The original canvas is expected to fetch between £30,000-£50,000.
Composition by Sam Francis (1976)
Coming in at a slightly higher price than the previous painting, ‘Composition’ is just the type of painting you’d expect from Sam Francis; a perfect blend of bright colours that radiates a feel of vibrancy, animation and everything that is summer time. You could literally feel this painting brightening up any room you were in, effortlessly surmising the theme of this July exhibition.
Isolde and Brangane by David Hockney (1987)
Finally, this canvas comes in as the most expensive of the exhibition at a higher estimate of £600,000, however the price tag had no influence in the inclusion of it in the highlights list. The painting features an array of primary colours arranged beautifully, with an almost biblical feel to the two figures, creating a real sense of enigma. David Hockney’s illustrious reputation no doubt played its part in raising the value of this piece, however nothing can be taken away from the detail and impressive aesthetics of ‘Isolde and Brangane’.
Full details of the upcoming First Open and Post War Contemporary Day Auctions can be found online at http://www.christies.com