London, 5 January 2011. AMA.
The Kostalitz Collection will be on sale at Sotheby’s London in February. It is expected to double last year’s successful Zero sale.
Freud’s portrait by Francis Bacon is estimated at £7 million to £9 million. Bacon’s triptych is part of a collection of more than sixty modern and contemporary pieces expected to realise over £45 million. The triptych, along with other key lots, indicates the importance of small creations that result from artistic connections. Sotheby’s sale is entitled “Looking Closely: A Private Collection.”
A portrait of poet Paul Eluard was made by Salvador Dali in 1929, when the two Surrealist masters met. The painting depicts the poet’s bust floating in the air and measures 33cm by 25 cm. The piece evokes Freudian allusions to Eluard’s wife, Gala, who later became Dali’s muse. When Gala died, she left behind a daughter, Cécile Eluard, who sold the portrait at Christie’s New York in 1989, after Dali’s death. It was bought by Kostalitz for $2.1 million, although it had been estimated at £3.5 million to £5 million.
During the same sale, Kostalitz also purchased a small portrait by Giacometti, depicting the artist’s wife and model, for $2 million, a record for a painting by Giacometti. Since then, larger paintings by the artist have sold for more than $10 million. Therefore, the pre-auction estimates of the time ranging from £2 million-£3 million appear to be relatively affordable for a collector.
Other paintings will be on sale, including a 12cm by 7cm self-portrait by Lucian Freud, 1952, estimated at £600,000 to £800,000, which Sotheby’s will present as the homologue of Bacon’s portrait by Freud from Tate’s collections. The piece was stolen in 1988, and has never been found. Another portrait of Belgian poet Frans Hellens, painted by Modigliani, is valued at £2 million to £3 million.