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Christie's to offer works from the collection of Birte Inge Christensen and John Hunov
Hunov at home in Copenhagen.



AMSTERDAM.- Christie’s Amsterdam will present Help! I am a Collector! Works from the Collection of Birte Inge Christensen and John Hunov as part of its upcoming online-only sale, 20th/21st Century: Amsterdam, running from 12 to 26 April. Rich in breadth and wide in scope, each work in this collection bears witness to the collector couple’s exceptional eye for detail, quality, and artistic significance. Christie’s will present a selection of 26 examples from this vast collection, which totals around 3000 works. John Hunov (1936-2017) and Birte Inge Christensen, who passed away in 2020 started to collect in the 1960s in Denmark. Strong personal contacts between the couple and artists, including Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Imi Knoebel and Per Kirkeby existed, often, long before they reached international acclaim in the art world. John Hunov opened his own gallery, the Daner Galleriet, in Copenhagen in 1972, running for five successful years. Here he curated exhibitions with primarily Danish artists, such as Per Kirkeby and Poul Gernes, but also with international artists, like Joseph Beuys, A.R. Penck, Hans-Peter Feldmann and Jörg Immendorff. Besides his gallery work, Hunov was active as a curator and was responsible for over 100 exhibitions, including several institutional shows. The importance of his personal collection was widely recognized through exhibitions such as Vild med kunst fra Brite Inge Christensen or John Hunovs samling at the Kunstmuseum in Aarhus in 1986 or Hjælp! Jeg er samler at the Randers Kunstmuseum in 1994 were also organised. Being very close to Per Kirkeby, John Hunov was in a unique position to compile the catalogue raisonné for the artist’s graphic work, dating from 1958-1977. After John Hunov’s death in 2017, Kirkeby designed the mausoleum where the collector was laid to rest.

Further to the selection offered in 20th/21st Amsterdam, five paintings by Per Kirkeby from the Hunov collection will be offered in London in June, with an additional 11 works in November and six in April 2023 in Amsterdam.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE COLLECTION TO BE OFFERED
IN 20th / 21st AMSTERDAM ONLINE,12-26 APRIL

Per Kirkeby, Dameforløb. Model Dorte (Sequence of Ladies. Model Dorte), 1964


Born in Denmark, Per Kirkeby was considered to be a successor to Northern European Romantics like Caspar David Friedrich. Dameforløb. Model Dorte (1964, estimate:Euro 100,000-150,000) highlights the significant influence of Pop Art on Kirkeby’s artistic practice. He has used stenciling for the female silhouettes, repeating them over and over again, which, combined with bright colours, creates an hallucinating effect. As is central to Kirkby’s entire oeuvre, he explores and plays with the use of materials: combining the more traditional acrylic paint with a metal collage element. The influence of contemporary artists such as Sigmar Polke, Martial Raysse and William Nelson Copley is very evident in this iconic work. A total of 8 works by Per Kirkeby are to be offered in this sale, mostly dating from the 1970s.

Georg Baselitz, Hundekopf (Dog Head), 1969, estimate Euro 300,000-500,000

Baselitz was born in Germany in the late 1930s. Moving from East to West Germany before the Berlin Wall was built, his work was heavily influenced by a fractured sense of identity. However, a traveling exhibition of new American Abstraction in 1958 introduced him to the work of Willem de Kooning, an artist he was immediately attracted to who influenced Baselitz’s form of figuration. From de Kooning, he learned to situate representational forms within the context of abstraction.

Piero Manzoni, Achrome, 1961, estimate Euro 120,000-180,000

Piero Manzoni’s Winter Picture- Achrome, 1961, is a significant example from the artist’s career-defining homonymous series, the ‘Achromes’. Begun in 1957 and continued until Manzoni’s premature death in 1963, these works presented a radical challenge to the conventions of the period; in them, Manzoni purged his picture planes of all colour and subjectivity to upend the very definition of art. In Achrome, the unadorned lattice both emphasises the physical presence of the canvas and eradicates any sign of the artist’s own hand. While these works acknowledge the history of the monochrome, they do so mischievously and playfully. In refusing to submit to expectations, the ‘Achromes’ are free to reimagine painting and open themselves up to limitless possibility.










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