Richard Avedon, Bob Dylan, Folk Singer, New York City (1963)
Photographs from the Richard Gere Collection, Christie’s, online, 23 March-7 April
In 1963 a cherub-faced Bob Dylan stood for a portrait by Richard Avedon. Dylan, though still only in his early 20s, was just coming into his own—his second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, was released the same year and featured songs including Blowin’ in the Wind and Don’t Think Twice, it’s Alright. Avedon, however, was already a legend thanks to his pioneering images for glossy magazines. The pair’s camaraderie and confidence, both in front of and behind the lens, is palpable here—Dylan rarely looked so at ease when being photographed. This image is one of 156 photographs to be auctioned from the collection of the actor Richard Gere. “These photographs arrived in my life because I felt something for them,” Gere says. “They have real soul, a humanity, a generosity.”
Lucian Freud, Sketch of Goldie (around 2003)
Tanya Baxter Contemporary at the London Art Fair, 20-24 April
When Lucian Freud turned up at the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre in London to paint its equine inhabitants, the centre’s founder, Sister Mary Joy Langdon, not realising who Freud was at the time, offered him a book on how to draw horses and ponies. The artist looked intently at it before handing it back to Langdon, saying “it’s very good”. Between 2003 and 2006, Freud painted regularly at the centre, which specialises in riding and equine therapy for children with special needs, becoming an unofficial artist in residence. The second horse that Freud chose to study was a Welsh cob called Goldie, and he produced this large-scale pencil sketch of the mare before deciding that her personality did not suit him, so he moved onto another—a skewbald called Sioux who is now well known from Freud’s subsequent paintings. Freud gave this unfinished sketch of Goldie to Langdon, who sold it in 2019 at Chiswick Auctions in London to raise funds for the stables—then, it sold for £50,000 (with fees).
Giorgio de Chirico, Hector and Andromache (1946-47)
Artemisia Fine Art, Dogana, at MiArt, Milan, 1-3 April
This is the ninth painting by De Chirico on the subject of the Trojan prince Hector bidding his wife Andromache goodbye before heading to his death in battle against Achilles. The artist began this series in 1917 and the faceless mannequin is thought to refer to a figure from his brother Alberto Savino’s 1914 poem Les Chants de la Mi-Mort. Although this work was executed between 1946 and 1947, De Chirico signed the painting—as he did with virtually all works from this series—with an earlier date, in this case 1916. He did so to connect the works to a “time past” and declare the present “immobile”, according to Paolo Baldacci, an expert in the artist’s work. Adding to the fabricated sense of age, De Chirico painted this work on an antique canvas. While De Chirico’s most valuable period tends to be from 1914 to 1930, his Hector and Andromache paintings have achieved some of his highest prices on the secondary market, with one from 1923 achieving $4.8m at Christie’s New York in 2011, his seventh highest price at auction.
Cindy Sherman, Murder Mystery, Scenes 8, 10 and 11 (1976)
Photographs, Phillips, New York, 6 April
These three photo collages—each referred to as “scenes”—are from Cindy Sherman’s Murder Mystery series of 255 black-and-white silver print cut-outs. The series predates her conceptually similar, seminal self-portrait series Untitled Film Stills (1977-80). For Murder Mystery, the artist photographed herself as an array of characters, then cut out the figures from her resulting prints, which were placed in various scenarios. She then created a narrative for these works, writing pages of script notes for each scene. The present lot consists of scenes 8, 10 and 11. According to Sherman’s notes, they show: a director consulting an actress as they walk toward a door, behind which await the press; the same actress in an “offbeat-obscene pose”; and the press interviewing the actress and the director. The vendor bought these works from the now-defunct Metro Pictures, Sherman’s long-time gallery, in 2012 at the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) fair in New York.