Loic Gouzer, international specialist at Christie’s auction house, has organized a special contemporary evening sale during the spring auctions in New York for the second year in a row, this one called “Looking Forward to the Past.” It is a follow-up of sorts to Gouzer’s “If I Live I’ll See You Tuesday” auction last year, which claimed to explore the “dark, underbelly-esque side of contemporary art” with record-breaking sales of some of the most predictable and recyclable names in the art world (Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Martin Kippenberger, etc). “Looking Forward to the Past” will be held on May 11 at Christie’s Rockefeller Center headquarters. In a statement released by Christie’s, Gouzer, who is also the auction house’s unofficial resident skateboard-video commissioner, further lays out the concept:
20th Century artists were heavily influenced by their predecessors, and through an exploration of the past, they were able to create new and exciting territory of their own. It is remarkable that a work by Mondrian painted nearly a century ago has lost none of its visual impact or novelty. It would be just as strong and relevant in a cutting-edge contemporary collection as when it hung previously in renowned blue-chip collections. It is clear that the art of yesterday informs the art of today, while the art of now is an endorsement of that of the past.
A regular Harold Bloom, this guy.
The sale will attempt to blur the lines between the Impressionist/Modern and Contemporary departments by spanning the entire 20th century and through the inclusion of the top lot—Picasso’s Les femmes d’Alger (Version “O”), which Christie’s has estimated will sell “in the region of $140 million.” That is more than the total price of Gouzer’s “If I Live” sale, which was seen as a great financial success in its own right. Rich Uncle Pennybags—er, I mean Christie’s—goes on to describe the painting as “one of Picasso’s most significant 1950s canvases.” It last sold at Christie’s in 1997 for $31.9 million. The auction house says the painting “promises to cause a sensation within the global art market this spring.” And you know what? Probably! I’m sure records will be broken and everyone will laugh all the way to the bank! Nothing really surprises me anymore.