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Gurr Johns News

BRITISH ARTISTS STAR AT CONTEMPORARY AUCTIONS

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The Post-War and Contemporary sales this week feature works by many of the biggest names of the 20th and 21st centuries, with paintings by British artists leading the line-up. 

On 5th March Sothebys are expecting much interest in ‘Head of a Boy’ (1956) by Lucian Freud (1922-2011), an exquisite portrait of Garech Browne.  With fine-brush precision and a delicate colour palette the artist beautifully captured the melancholy and contemplative soul of his subject and the work is estimated to sell for £4.5 to £6.5million.  Other highlights of the catalogue include Juncture (1994) by Jenny Saville (b.1970), an artist hailed as a ‘destroyer of false fetishes’ by Simon Schama.  The monumental work commands our full attention and celebrates the beauty of the fleshy female nude in all its glory.  Saville’s works are united by a strong feminist theme, and they are proving ever more popular with collectors.   This fine example almost bursts from the canvas; last sold in 2009 for £434,000, it’s estimated to sell for £5 million to 7million this time around.

THE ‘TOULOUSE CARAVAGGIO’

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A newly discovered painting of Judith and Holofernes, believed to be a long-lost masterpiece by the Italian master Caravaggio (1571-1610), was put on show this week in London. Praised for its inventive originality, dramatic intensity and virtuosity of execution, the visceral depiction of Judith beheading Holofernes was previously only known to scholars through a copy by Louis Finson (1580-1617).

Documents supporting its provenance suggest that it was painted in 1607 soon after Caravaggio fled Rome, accused of murder, and as such it reflects the darker, more sombre style that he adopted towards the end of his life.  The artist is admired for the dramatic tension in his works, and the intensity of the colours in this painting and the clever use of chiaroscuro are unique to his style.

THE GEORGE MICHAEL COLLECTION

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Gurr Johns is honoured to be acting as advisors to the Trustees of the estate of the late George Michael.  One of the most influential and best-selling recording artists of all time, the British singer and songwriter was an enthusiastic art collector, supporting young emerging artists and amassing a private collection of more than 200 works including pieces by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Michael Craig-Martin, and Marc Quinn. It was recently announced that his collection will be sold through an evening auction at Christie’s in London on 14 March and an online sale which will be open for bidding from 8 to 15 March. Estimates range from £400 to £1,500,000 and proceeds will continue George Michael’s philanthropic work.