Auction  October 3, 2018  Chandra Noyes

Christie's "Un/Breakable" Brings Modern Ceramics to Frieze Week

© Christie’s Images Limited 2018

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Portrait de Jacqueline, 1956Earthenware ceramic plate with colored engobe and gaze. Estimate: $104,720 – 157,080. Price Realized: $227,500.

© Christie’s Images Limited 2018

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Grand vase aux femmes voilées (A.R. 116), 1950, edition of 25. Estimate: $523,600 – 785,400. Price Realized: $526,175.

Christie’s is marking Frieze Week in London with a series of auctions showcasing 20th- and 21st- century works. The first of these, Un/Breakable, which took place on Tuesday, is a new curated auction that traces 140 years of ceramic art. The auction saw the successful sale of several works from Pablo Picasso amongst other modern and post-war greats.

The highest selling lot of the auction was a 1950 Picasso vase, Grand vase aux femmes voilées (Large vase with veiled women). Part of an edition of 25, the vase features a frieze of nude women, the curve of their figures accented by the dramatic shape of the vase itself.

Another work from Picasso, the 1956 earthenware Portrait de Jacqueline (above), doubled its low estimate, selling for $227,500.

 

 

Fausto Melotti (1901-1986), I gessetti, 1959
© Christie’s Images Limited 2018

Fausto Melotti (1901-1986), I gessetti, 1959. Painted terracotta and painted clay. Estimate: $327,250 – 458,150. Price Realized: $ 416,975.

Grayson Perry (B. 1960), Golden Ghosts, 2000
© Christie’s Images Limited 2018

Grayson Perry (B. 1960), Golden Ghosts, 2000. Glazed earthenwareEstimate: $78,540 – 104,720. Price Realized: $227,500.

A sculptural work from the mid-century Italian ceramicist Fausto Melotti was a notable sale. I Gessetti (1959) is an early work in what would become Melotti's teatrini (puppet theatre) series. Using terracotta, the artist created little stages, in this piece on two levels, with small, expressive figures occupying both miniature sets. The title, which translates to chalks, refers to the small pieces of chalk which rest on a table in the lower portion of the work.

© Christie’s Images Limited 2018

Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), Concetto Spaziale, 1956. Painted terracotta. Estimate: $196,350 – 261,800. Price Realized: $ 354,575.

A fellow Italian and life-long friend of Melotti's, Lucio Fontana also had one of the highest achieving lots in the sale. Concetto Spaziale (1956) is a long terracotta panel painted in bright yellow and scarred across its surface with gouges and holes. This ceramic work reflects Fontana's ongoing experiments with engaging negative space, an interest he would bring to his paintings as well, slashing and cutting his canvasses.

Christie's upcoming Frieze Week auctions are: Thinking Italian (October 4); Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction (October 4); and Post War and Contemporary Art Day Auction (October 5).

© Christie’s Images Limited 2018

Thomas Schütte (B. 1954), Ceramic Sketch, 1997-1999. Glazed ceramic. Estimate: $91,630 – 130,000. Price Realized: $243,750.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra is managing editor for Art & Object.