Under terms agreed through Joseph Friedman Ltd a selection of works art from the collection of Kay Saatchi was offered for sale at Christie’s, King Street, as part of the Post War and Contemporary auctions on 28-29 June 2011, following travelling exhibitions to Paris, Moscow, New York, and Los Angeles.
The sale total for these works was £4,389,000 ($7.1m), well above high estimate, with new world records set for the artists Ron Mueck and Paula Rego.
Mueck’s iconic Big Baby, number one in his catalogue raisonné, more than doubled the previous record for this artist to make £825,250 ($1.32m).
Paula Rego’s masterpiece, Looking Back, from the artist’s most sought-after period, realised £769,250 ($1.23m).
Among an outstanding group of five early works on paper by Lucian Freud executed in the 1940s, all of which sold well above high estimate, the artist’s Rabbit on a Chair trebled its estimate to make £1,049,250 ($1.67m).
Strong results were also recorded for prints by Freud and Rego, as well as ceramics by Picasso and other works by Man Ray, Andy Warhol, and leading contemporary artists, such as Martha Rosler and Jodie Carey.
The success of the sale confirms Kay Saatchi’s reputation as one of one of the leading patrons and collectors of her generation. Originally from the US, Kay Saatchi moved to London in the 1980s at the suggestion of her mentor, the legendary New York dealer Leo Castelli. Together with her former husband, Charles Saatchi, she played a key role in the emergence of the Young British Artists (YBA) in the 1990s. She continues to champion young artists today, notably as co-curator of ‘ANTICIPATION’, the annual exhibition showcasing work by some of London’s most talented art school graduates. Having recently moved to Los Angeles, Kay Saatchi will now be working to promote emerging artists on both sides of the Atlantic.