Having spent its entire life in the collection of Roald Dahl and subsequently in the collection of his estate, Study for Head of Lucian Freud, 1967 is one of only two single portrait heads that Francis Bacon executed of his friend and sometime rival, the chronicler of the human condition, Lucian Freud. The essence of Freud emerges from a sumptuously thick and complex surface comprised of lustrous undulations of crisp white titanium mixed with sweeps of emerald, all set against a velvety black void. His features appear and dissolve in the alternating sweeps of gestured paint, with flecks of vermilion articulating Freud’s existence all the more acutely. Darkly haloed by a thin trail of emerald tracing the outline of Freud’s crown, there is more than representation on display here – this is the individual presented as their very essence. It is this very quality that made Study for Head of Lucian Freud so compelling to Dahl, who was to acquire it in the same year as its execution. The work brings together three titans of the arts from the 20th century at the height of each of their artistic powers. Dahl, arguably the greatest children’s author of the 20th century, was first recognized in the 1960s for his uncanny ability to relate to children. His voice on the page was especially attuned to children’s ears and he was able to speak to them like no other adult has, or perhaps ever will. The last of four works, which Dahl acquired by Bacon during the 1960s, Study for Head of Lucian Freud was most certainly chosen for its extraordinary ability to capture the essence of Freud. Much like his masterful triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud, 1969, Study for Head of Lucian Freud is Bacon’s own raw and intense presentation of Freud. With each masterful sweep of his brush, Bacon has created an emblem to the legendary relationship, defend as much by the friendship as by the rivalry that existed between these two titans of 20th century art. Bacon has animated his friend’s visage, imbuing it with energy and attitude through impulsive, staccato dashes of colour. Conveying the intimacy of their relationship, Bacon succeeds in communicating a sense of Freud’s character, his inner resolve, pride and vitality in paint.Read more on Christie's website
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An extremely rare Rolex watch was sold at Christie's auction in New York for $1,145,000, way over its pre-auction estimate. From the lot's note:
For many collectors, and this is especially true of watch collectors, the search for a better, rarer, and more perfect example of a certain type of watch will always be on-going. It would be very challenging to find a better preserved example of a stainless steel reference 8171 "padellone" with the rare feature of diamond-set numerals. At first sight the eye notices the diamond-set numerals, but next one cannot help but notice the pristine appearance of the two-toned dial, which enhances the overall appearance of this watch. It is important to mention that the apertures for the month and weekday indication are sharp and angular, a feature which is often regrettably lost when such a dial is refinished. The case lugs retain such sharp facets that one can conclude it has never been polished, although it has been "baptised" with a few surface marks. The owner clearly cherished the watch and wanted to keep the case proportions strong and crisp. This is further indicated by the clear Rolex coronet and numbers engraved on the case back, which are visible without the aid of a loupe. Even the untrained eye can appreciate the beauty radiating from this "padellone". Examples of this trophy model with such an interesting and sought-after dial combination and full and crisp case proportions are dreams for even the most educated Rolex collectors in the world and constitutes an opportunity not to be missed. Reference 8171 Rolex has produced only two different models of moonphase wristwatches, references 8171 and 6062. Both models are automatic, however reference 8171 has a snap on case back, while the reference 6062, the Oyster version, has a water-resistant-type screw back. The 8171 was affectionately nicknamed "Padellone", or "Big Frying Pan" by Italian collectors, because the size (38mm. diameter) was so large for it's time - as big as a frying pan! Reference 8171 was made in a small series between 1949 and 1952, mostly in yellow gold. Examples in pink gold or stainless steel are very rare.Read more about this Rolex watch on Christie's site
Bonhams is going to sell a unique and extremely rare Charlie Chaplin movie titled 'Zepped' on June 29. The 35mm film roll which is believed to be last surviving copy of this film is expected to fetch six-figures at the auction. From the press release:
In 2009 the vendor Morace Park bought a battered cinema reel tin from an online auction site. Once he eventually opened the tin it revealed a roll of film entitled 'Charlie Chaplin in Zepped'. Having been unable to find any record or mention of the film during his subsequent research, Mr Park began a worldwide investigation to find out if he had discovered the last copy of a forgotten Charlie Chaplin film. On extremely fragile 35mm nitrate film and almost 7 minutes long, the movie features some of the earliest known animation in film history. The reel shows scenes of a Zeppelin raid over London whilst Chaplin acts in his trademark comic style. During the First World War Zeppelins were used in bombing raids over England and France. They were referred to at this time as 'baby killers' and 'terrors of the sky' and it is believed 'Zepped', was designed as propaganda to defuse the terror inspired by these attacks, using Chaplin's world famous comedy. Professor Paul Wells, Director of The Animation Academy Research Group at Loughborough University believes that "the zeppelin is possibly real, but could also be a premature form of puppetry." If the image of the Zeppelin in the film is genuine then it would be the only known live footage showing a zeppelin over London at that time. Alternatively, if the Zeppelin footage is animation then it is an extremely rare and early example of this type of animation...More info on Bonhams websiteBonhams lot#172, Monte Carlo, MCO, 5/20/06 First supplied to Turin-based Scuderia Subalpina, who ran it in the 1935 Mille Miglia. Likely to have gained the current 1500-cc motor for the 1938 race. Uniquely rebodied without cycle fenders and with a wider body before 1969, when Briggs Cunningham acquired it. Restored at some time, then static in the Rosso Bianco Collection for years; full re-commissioning is required. Various paint marks, drab interior, and disappointing engine bay presentation. Despite its completely changed appearance, the car's long-ago race history is sufficiently gilt-edged to justify the bid, a figure at least one other person was also nearly prepared to match on sale day. Will the new owner leave this car as it is today... or want to be a time traveller and re-enact its 1935 Mille Miglia appearance as recorded in period race photos? Either way, more money is due to make it go properly.