Christie’s International has said it will sell as much as £74 million (Rs599 crore crore) of contemporary art in Europe’s biggest-ever auction as sellers flock to London. Ernesto Esposito, a shoe designer whose customers include Louis Vuitton, will offer £4 million of works by Andy Warhol, Mel Ramos and Peter Doig on 20-21 June. New York collectors Elaine and Melvin Merians are selling more than £15 million of works by Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and Frank Auerbach.
Christie’s and Sotheby’s are starting to release data on their London auctions, after selling $822.4 million (Rs3,372 crore) of contemporary and post-war art in New York last week. Auction records tripled or quadrupled for Mark Rothko and Andy Warhol as new millionaires opted for 20th century pictures to hang on their walls.
For London, Christie’s has Warhol images of Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon and Brigitte Bardot. UK painter Freud is heading for a £5.5 million record with a painting of journalist Bruce Bernard, and Ramos’s Miss America Legion, featuring a pin-up girl, may break the artist’s record of £545,600, Christie’s said.
Warhol’s Vesuvius, a 1985 image of the volcano, will be offered with a top estimate of £1.5 million by Esposito, who lives in Naples near Mount Vesuvius and was the last person to be painted by the pop artist, Christie’s said.
Many of Esposito’s footwear designs, which cost as much as $402 for a pair of metallic Nappa flat sandals, are inspired by art, said Christie’s. He has worked with the fashion houses of Marc Jacobs, Sonia Rykiel and Chloe as well as LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA. Christie’s contemporary pictures will be shown at the convention centre in Hong Kong from 25-27 May and the Gritti Palace Hotel in Venice from 7-9 June.
Auction of world’s longest sari
The world’s longest and most expensive silk sari—measuring 486 metres, with handwoven depictions of India’s cultural heritage—is to be auctioned in Sharjah. “We expect it to be sold to a prestigious buyer or a museum,” said Beena Kannan, chief executive officer of Kerala-based Seematti Textiles, which has designed it. The Kancheepuram red silk sari will be on display at the Ansar Mall in Sharjah, till 30 May.
“It took 80 weavers under the supervision of our master weaver, Thiru Selvan, working round the clock for two months and 18 days to complete the sari,” Kannan said. There are images of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa depicted on the sari. It also carries patterns of architectural marvels such as Taj Mahal and Qutab Minar, besides traditional dance forms, musical instruments and festivals.
The silk and the golden zari embroidery work alone cost more than Dh180,000 (Rs20 lakh), she added. The sari, which is registered in the Guinness Book of World Records, weighs 72kg, with the embroidery alone weighing nearly 15kg. The total weight of the silk used in crafting this sari is 57kg.
A special motorized machine had to be made to roll the sari around two huge rods on an iron stand. “The rods were then placed in a wooden case and the complete weight was more than 600 kg. We had to have the case transported by air,” Kannan said. For her next project, Kannan would like to weave the family tree of Dubai’s rulers in pure silk.