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Just because January is a quiet month in the auction scene – Christmas and New Year is a time for family and celebration, less for browsing catalogues – doesn’t mean that there aren’t interesting lots on offer. Sales start in mid month, with some very intriguing items on offer, including a beautiful vintage Ferrari and a drawing by the father of the beloved detective Tintin, Hergé.
1. 19 January, Phillips, London
Auction: Evening & Day Editions
Highlight: David Hockney’s Gregory In The Pool E (Paper Pool 4)
A bounty of modern art treasures encapsulates the first Phillips auction of 2017. Focusing particularly on the Pop Art movement, the sale includes pieces on familiar subjects by Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Jean Debuffet and Keith Haring. David Hockney, the British artist famous for his manipulation of space and perspective in bright colours, headlines the lots with Gregory In The Pool E (Paper Pool 4). As typical of this period, the piece is a figurative image of a boy (Gregory) in a pool, flattened into a two-dimensional perspective with only the shadows of the pool railings lending some depth. Price estimate: £400-600,000 (RM2.2-3.3 million).
2. 19 January, Sotheby’s, Hong Kong
Auction: Boundless: Contemporary Art
Highlight: Zao Wou-Ki’s Les Bateaux
Sotheby’s Hong Kong’s regular Boundless: Contemporary Art auction is always a breath of fresh air, showcasing modern art in all its various forms, shapes and diversity, with a particular focus on Asia. The pumpkins and strawberries of Yayoi Kusama can be found scattered over the list of items, which includes photographs and artist-designed jewelleries for the first time. French artist Guy de Rougemont will make his debut in an Asian auction – his Red Cloud Table looks very arresting – and pride of place goes to Chinese artist Zao Wou-Ki (Zhao Wuji). His Les Bateaux (The Ships, 1950; HKD3-4 million/RM1.7-2.3 million) aims not for realism, but a naïve impression that still manages to capture movement the same was Turner did.
3. 19 January, Bonhams, Scottsdale
Auction: The Scottsdale Auction
Highlight: 1952 Ferrari 340 America Spider Competizione
Cars, vintage cars, everywhere. From a lithe 1963 Jaguar E-Type to a slick 1964 Porsche 904 GTS, Bonhams’ Scottsdale auction is an annual homage to motoring beauties of old. As usual with car auctions of this type, Ferraris are the centre of attention. There’s a sleek 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB and a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider to represent the red corner, with the flagbearer being a 1952 Ferrari 340 America Spider Competizione. Designed by Vignale with a V12 engine by Giacchino Colombo, this very car is a veteran of many classic car races, proving its mettle in the 1952 Le Mans 24 Hours, Mille Miglia, Targa Florio and more recently the Monaco and Monterey historic races. It’s a stunning piece of historic, and could be yours for, oh about, US$7.5-9 million (RM34-40 million).
4. 21 January, Sotheby’s, Paris
Auction: Bande Dessinées/Comics
Highlight: Hergé, Cover drawing of a colouring book with Tintin characters
Comics have a great history in Europe, and particularly France and Belgium. Unlike the flashy superheroes of America, these comics – known as bandes dessinée – focus on adventure in an urban, fantastical or historical context. Names like Asterix & Obelix, Lucky Luke, The Smurfs and Spirou et Les Petits, will be familiar to most. And, of course, Tintin. Among works from three masters of the European golden age of comics (Franquin, Uderzo and Hergé) is an illustration of Tintin characters by Hergé. Meant for the cover of a colouring book, the line drawing shows Tintin, the Captain, the Professor, the Twins and Milou/Snowy cheerfully working on a painter’s palette. From 1957, this original paper illustration is estimated at €120-150,000 (RM566-708,000).