Christie's Images Ltd

Art market

Object lessons: from Giacometti’s last bat to Dior's New Look

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Our pick of highlights from upcoming auctions and fairs

Collection of 40 Illustrations of Journey to the West (Qing Dynasty, late 19th century). Fine Asian & Islamic Works of Art, Lyon & Turnbull, London, 15 May. Estimate £5,000-£7,000. This collection of 40 illustrations commissioned by the English sailor-turned-missionary James Ware depicts scenes from The Journey to the West (around 1592), one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature. Telling the tale of a Monkey King who possesses powers of transformation, the novel was translated by Ware translated the novel and the itinerant Chinese artists he employed brought the story to life through a series of ink-on-paper illustrations. Having remained in Ware’s family until now, these works provide rarely-seen insight into the creative talent hidden within late 19th-century unorthodox, grassroots Chinese art, less encumbered by official artistic conventions of the Qing dynasty.
Lyon & Turnbull

Collection of 40 Illustrations of Journey to the West (Qing Dynasty, late 19th century). Fine Asian & Islamic Works of Art, Lyon & Turnbull, London, 15 May. Estimate £5,000-£7,000. This collection of 40 illustrations commissioned by the English sailor-turned-missionary James Ware depicts scenes from The Journey to the West (around 1592), one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature. Telling the tale of a Monkey King who possesses powers of transformation, the novel was translated by Ware translated the novel and the itinerant Chinese artists he employed brought the story to life through a series of ink-on-paper illustrations. Having remained in Ware’s family until now, these works provide rarely-seen insight into the creative talent hidden within late 19th-century unorthodox, grassroots Chinese art, less encumbered by official artistic conventions of the Qing dynasty.

Diego Giacometti, Chauve-souris, pièce unique (1985). Design, Christie’s Paris, 21 May. Estimate €60,000-€80,000. This bronze of a bat is billed as the last work made by Diego Giacometti. As he was leaving his studio for the last time in 1985, on his way to the hospital where he spent his last days, Giacometti asked his assistant to give the model to the son of his physiotherapist, because earlier that year the boy had recited La Tante de Frankenstein by Allan Rune Petterson to Giacometti, which describes a bat flying into a sitting room and turning into Dracula. The physiotherapist’s son is now selling the object, signed DIEGO and number seven of seven.
Christie's Images Ltd

Diego Giacometti, Chauve-souris, pièce unique (1985). Design, Christie’s Paris, 21 May. Estimate €60,000-€80,000. This bronze of a bat is billed as the last work made by Diego Giacometti. As he was leaving his studio for the last time in 1985, on his way to the hospital where he spent his last days, Giacometti asked his assistant to give the model to the son of his physiotherapist, because earlier that year the boy had recited La Tante de Frankenstein by Allan Rune Petterson to Giacometti, which describes a bat flying into a sitting room and turning into Dracula. The physiotherapist’s son is now selling the object, signed DIEGO and number seven of seven.

René Gruau, Le New Look Maison Christian Dior (1957). Galerie Alexis Pentcheff at Draw Art Fair, Saatchi Gallery, 17 May.  €45,000. The V&A’s Christian Dior: Designer for Dreams has sold out its extended show run but, if you can afford it, one of these gouache-on-paper works by René Gruau might be a way of taking a little Dior magic home. The French-Italian illustrator was a close friend of Christian Dior and created this work for a 1957 Dior campaign that celebrated the 10th anniversary of the French couturier’s New Look—a bold rejection of post-war parsimonious dressing through cinched waists, padded hips and sweeping skirts. Alexis Pentcheff bought Gruau’s studio collection in 2016, including this work created the year Dior died. K.J.
Galerie Alexis Pentcheff

René Gruau, Le New Look Maison Christian Dior (1957). Galerie Alexis Pentcheff at Draw Art Fair, Saatchi Gallery, 17 May.  €45,000. The V&A’s Christian Dior: Designer for Dreams has sold out its extended show run but, if you can afford it, one of these gouache-on-paper works by René Gruau might be a way of taking a little Dior magic home. The French-Italian illustrator was a close friend of Christian Dior and created this work for a 1957 Dior campaign that celebrated the 10th anniversary of the French couturier’s New Look—a bold rejection of post-war parsimonious dressing through cinched waists, padded hips and sweeping skirts. Alexis Pentcheff bought Gruau’s studio collection in 2016, including this work created the year Dior died.

Stephen Shore, Los Angeles, California, 4 February 1969.  Photo London, London, 15-19 May. $35,000. As part of a set of 12  The grinning man peers over the bottom of the photograph’s edge, framed by palm trees—this image of a seemingly nondescript Los Angeles’ cityscape is the centrepiece of an extensive exhibition of Stephen Shore’s work at Photo London. It is one of a group of sixty shots (offered for sale as five sets of 12 in an edition of four) taken over the course of one day in LA in February 1969.
Photo London

Stephen Shore, Los Angeles, California, 4 February 1969. Photo London, London, 15-19 May. $35,000. As part of a set of 12 The grinning man peers over the bottom of the photograph’s edge, framed by palm trees—this image of a seemingly nondescript Los Angeles’ cityscape is the centrepiece of an extensive exhibition of Stephen Shore’s work at Photo London. It is one of a group of sixty shots (offered for sale as five sets of 12 in an edition of four) taken over the course of one day in LA in February 1969.