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Sotheby's announces something small
Installation view.

LONDON.- In June this year, to coincide with its flagship sales in London, Sotheby’s will stage a deceptively ‘small’ sale. Bringing together a range of works from across the 20th and 21st centuries, with occasional surprises from earlier moments, this first-of-its-kind sale will include a broad mix of exceptional paintings, sculptures and works on paper which share one common characteristic – each one will be no bigger than the size of the catalogue page on which it is illustrated, in ‘Actual Size’.

The brainchild of Allan Schwartzman, Chairman of Sotheby’s Fine Art Division, and Thomas Bompard, Head of Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sales in London, “The sale chimes with a particular kind of collecting interest that is ever-more pronounced among today’s collectors – the evidence of which was readily apparent in Sotheby’s salerooms over the course of the last week. There, we saw small but power-packed works – be they by Gauguin, de Stal, Klimt or Klein - attract interest and competition almost in direct anticorrelation to their scale.”

Thomas Bompard continues: “Sometimes in life, things are perceived to be limited by their size. We’ve all heard ‘It is sublime….but it’s small!’ or ‘He’s great, but so short’. However, with the sheer quality of every lot in Actual Size, we expect to hear the cry: ‘It’s even more brilliant because it’s small!’ These works are often intense: intensely personal, intensely intimate and intensely powerful. And then there’s just the fact that certain artists excel on this scale: Dali is never as good as when he paints small. There’s an earth-shattering intensity to so many of these works – something which speaks to the discreet sophistication of so many collectors.”

From the small devotional paintings and portraits of Renaissance times, tucked inside doublets close to the hearts of devotees; to the romantic miniatures of the 18th century; to the powerful small-scale ‘workings out’ that allow us to get uniquely close to an artist’s creative process – it is often the smallest things that pack the strongest punch.

The sale, ‘Actual Size’, will be staged on 21 June, adjacent to Sotheby’s Evening sale of Impressionist & Modern Art. All works to be included in the sale will be exhibited ahead of time in one single room. Further details will be available in due course.

Physical Criteria for inclusion in the sale: max height: 29.6cm.; 11.6in. / max length: 40.4cm.; 8.9in.

Details of relevant works sold at Sotheby’s this week:

• Gustav Klimt, Mdchen im Grnen, oil on canvas 4.3m (est: 1.2-1.8m), 32.4 by 24cm.; 123/4 by 93/8in.

• Paul Gauguin, Te Arii Vahine-La Femme aux mangos (II), oil on canvas 8.4m (est: 7-10m), 26.2 by 32.7cm.; 103/8 by 127/8in.

• Nicolas de Stal, Honfleur, oil on card 200,000 (est: 200,000-300,000), 13.5 by 22 cm.; 53/8 by 85/8in.

• Nicolas de Stal, Parc des Princes, oil on card laid down on panel 440,750 (est: 200,000-300,000), 12 by 16.8cm.; 43/4 by 65/8in.

• Yves Klein, Untitled Monogold (MG 47), gold leaf on wood panel 908,750 (est: 700,000-900,000), 21.5 by 17.3cm.; 81/2 by 67/8in.

• Marc Chagall, La Tour Eiffel, watercolour, gouache, brush and ink and pencil on paper laid down on the artist’s board, 908,750 (est: 500,000-700,000), 34.4 by 25.4cm.; 131/2 by 10in.

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