Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Vision Which Nurtures Contemporary Art In Print

The Vision Which Nurtures Contemporary Art In Print

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Damien Hirst, Methamphetamine, 2004. Estimate: £20,000-25,000. © Christie's Images Ltd. 2008.

LONDON.-Damien Hirst, Peter Doig and the Chapman brothers are amongst the leading contemporary artists who started their printmaking careers with The Paragon Press. On Thursday, 3 April, Christie’s will offer over 120 key contemporary works from Paragon’s archives.

The roll call of artists whose work will be included ranges from Anish Kapoor, Marc Quinn, Gary Hume, Grayson Perry and Chris Ofili to Richard Long, Rachel Whiteread, Damien Hirst, Peter Doig and the Chapman brothers, amongst many others. The majority of the collection consists of rare artist’s proofs, publisher’s proofs and small editions that sold out almost immediately. Several of the artists have personalised their works, with hand colouring, specifically for this sale. With estimates ranging from £500 to £40,000 this is an unprecedented opportunity for both established and new collectors, as well as institutions and museums to acquire some of the most significant contemporary works in print produced in recent years. The collection is expected to realise in excess of £650,000.

The Paragon Press was founded in 1986 by Charles Booth-Clibborn and has grown to be one of the most influential contemporary art publishers. Richard Lloyd and Murray Macaulay, Christie’s Print specialists: “Over the past 21 years The Paragon Press has added significantly to the richness and variety of contemporary printmaking. Booth-Clibborn has imbued Paragon with an inspirational, nurturing ethos which is rare; continually investing time, money and belief in contemporary artists which enables them the freedom to explore the medium of print, in many cases for the first time. This has resulted in artists such as Hirst creating a large body of prints which have evolved into a major part of their oeuvre.”

Charles Booth-Clibborn notes “When artists try their hand at printmaking they invariably love it and don’t see any difference or hierarchy between their prints or work in other media. This is a very important point as many artists have made their greatest and most significant works and images through the medium of print. From Dürer and Rembrandt to Picasso and Matisse through to Warhol and Hamilton as well as today the Chapmans and Perry, artists’ creations in the medium of print represent the height of their achievement.” Grayson Perry’s pair of woodcut portraits Mr and Mrs Perry, 2006 (£4,000-6,000), are, intriguingly, printed onto wall paper.

Crossing a wide spectrum of themes, the sale provides the opportunity for people to engage at various levels, with single prints as well as complete portfolios being offered, by both individual artists and mixed groups.

Damien Hirst’s complete portfolios such as The Last Supper (estimate: £30,000-40,000) are also available as single lots, such as Chicken, 1999 (estimate: £2,500-3,500). Other portfolios include In a Spin, Volume I (estimate: £25,000-35,000) and In a Spin, Volume II (estimate: £30,000-40,000); single works from Spin which have been drawn on by Hirst include In a Spin (skull), 2002 (estimate: £6,000-8,000) and Spinning Around (arm), 2002 (estimate: £3,000-4,000), adding a further dimension of expression to these rare works.

Further complete portfolios comprise Marc Quinn’s Winter Garden, 2004 (estimate: £8,000-12,000). Portfolios of artist’s proofs such as the Chapman brothers’ Etchasketchathon, 2005 (estimate: £10,000-15,000) and The Disasters of War (estimate: £30,000-40,000), Anish Kapoor’s 15 Etchings, 1995 (estimate: £15,000-25,000), Richard Long’s Rock Drawings, 1994 (estimate: £3,000-4,000), Richard Deacon’s Show and Tell, 1996 (estimate: £3,000-4,000) and Iranian artist Shirazeh Houshiary’s Round Dance, 1992 (estimate: £3,500-4,500), are some of the other single artist portfolios to be offered. Dynamic mixed portfolios include LONDON, Group Portfolio, 1992 (estimate: £5,000-7,000) featuring Damien Hirst, Rachel Whiteread, Marc Quinn and Gavin Turk and Other Men’s Flowers (estimate: £4,000-6,000) including Tracy Emin and Gary Hume.

Striking single works include Marc Quinn’s unique Hand Painted Marble, 2006 (estimate: £3,000-4,000), Hand Painted Winter Garden (estimate: £3,000-4,000), and Hand Painted Self. Peter Doig’s Big Sur, from 100 Years Ago 2000/01 (estimate: £4,000-6,000), Damien Hirst’s Methamphetamine, 2004 (estimate: £20,000-25,000) and Pyronin Y, 2005 (estimate: £10,000-15,000), Grayson Perry’s two remarkable and challenging large-scale works Map of an Englishman (estimate: £25,000-35,000) and Print for a Politician (estimate: £15,000-20,000) are amongst the wide array of other exciting works to be seized, treasured and celebrated.

This auction, a first for Paragon, is in aid of securing larger and improved premises where various elements can be brought together under one roof, allowing for the storage and display of past and future projects in a better environment. This reflects Booth-Clibborn’s commitment to investing in not just the present but the future of printmaking.

“While continuing to give the artists creative independence, I would like The Paragon Press to be the initiator of works that are intellectually and visually compelling and which will be seen in twenty, fifty or one hundred year’s time as being part of the memory, part of the evidence, of art made in our period,” concludes the inspirational Booth-Clibborn.

Christie's London sale of Old Master, Modern and Contemporary Prints on Wednesday, 2 April 2008 will offer a stellar array of over 500 superb works by artists spanning the centuries, from Rembrandt and Dürer to Picasso, Chagall, Miro and Matisse, as well as Warhol, Lichtenstein and Hockney. One of the leading highlights is Lichtenstein's seductively alluring work Roommates, 1994, which is estimated to fetch between £60,000 and £80,000. Estimates range from £1,500 to £150,000 and the sale is expected to realise in excess of £3million. For more information please visit www.christies.com for the full online catalogue or contact Christie’s Press Office.

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