Two sculptures in particular catch the eye amongst the top lots of this high value offering of Contemporary Art. Niki de Saint Phalle has found a perfect stage for the sensual joie de vivre of her famous Nans in the fountain sculpture ‘Fontaine aux quatre Nanas’ (lot 35, € 350/400,000), whilst ‘Große Flächenbahn’ by Norbert Kricke (lot 39, € 400/500,000) is a rare piece in this work group. Further highlights include an untitled painting by Julian Schnabel, (lot 60, € 100/150,000), as well as ‘Linien Nr. 235’ by Zdeněk Sýkora (lot 19, € 150/200,000). Other top lots are from Jonas Burgert (lot 26, € 120/150,000 and lot 27, € 50/70,000) as well as William Nelson Copley (lot 28, € 100/150,000) and Marcel Broodthaers (lot 71, € 300/400,000 and lot 72, € 150/200,000).
With her famous Nanas, Niki de Saint Phalle opposes the rigid image of the women of her childhood with the liberating counterpart of her lively, sensual Nanas, for which a fountain offers the ideal framework. ‘Fontaine aux quatre Nanas’ (lot 35, € 350/400,000) is animated by four of these Nanas who bathe in the water as well as dispensing it. This work has stood in exhibitions worldwide as an example of Niki de Saint Phalle’s art, for which she has been appreciated for decades. The example in the auction is numbered 1/3.
Norbert Kricke was present in no less than three museum exhibitions last year, with his late works especially attracting interest. Mirroring the title of the largest exhibition in the Küppersmühle Museum of Modern Art in Duisburg, ‘Bewegung im Raum’ is captured as steel lines along which the viewer’s gaze glides. The few works in the group ‘Flächenbahnen’ channel these steel rays in just two dimensions. ‘Große Flächenbahn’ (lot 39, € 400/500,000), a sculpture of museum quality, was exhibited at documenta III.
From Julian Schnabel we have a piece from his 1988 work series ‘La Bana è buona’ (lot 60, € 100/150,000). On a stage delineated by the artist’s frame and textile border, Schnabel stages in typical fashion the dramatic clash of a historical figure of outstanding importance with a banal statement: the phrase “La Banana è buona” is written on the etching of Pope Pius IX. This example of Julian Schnabel’s ironizing work is estimated at 100,000 to 150,000 euro.
‘Linien Nr. 235’ (lot 19, € 150/200,000) by Zdeněk Sýkora is a fascinating example of Concrete Art now offered for sale. The seemingly gestural lines captivate the eye and a coloufully restrained line in this work, reminiscent of calligraphy, holds the gaze particularly. The square canvas was on long-term loan for many years at the Museum für Konkrete Kinst, Ingolstadt and will be called for sale in Cologne with an estimate of 150,000 to 200,000 euro.