In June this year, to coincide with its flagship sales in London, Sothebys
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 Sothebys 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 todays collectors the evidence of which was readily apparent in Sothebys salerooms over the course of the last week. There, we saw small but power-packed works be they by Gauguin, de Staël, 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. Weve all heard It is sublime
.but its small! or Hes great, but so short. However, with the sheer quality of every lot in Actual Size, we expect to hear the cry: Its even more brilliant because its small! These works are often intense: intensely personal, intensely intimate and intensely powerful. And then theres just the fact that certain artists excel on this scale: Dali is never as good as when he paints small. Theres 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 artists 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 Sothebys 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 Sothebys this week:
Gustav Klimt, Mädchen im Grünen, 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 Staël, Honfleur, oil on card £200,000 (est: £200,000-300,000), 13.5 by 22 cm.; 53/8 by 85/8in.
Nicolas de Staël, 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 artists board, £908,750 (est: £500,000-700,000), 34.4 by 25.4cm.; 131/2 by 10in.