An artwork by Yves Klein, Papa Smurf of the art world, is heading to Christie's this fall, boasting a hefty price tag. The 1958 work, titled "Accord Bleu," is estimated to fetch between $8 million and $10 million.
The piece is essentially a large-scale sponge relief soaked in the artist's signature color -- International Klein Blue (IKB). It's not just any sponge, though. Christie's states that the porous canvas marks one of the earliest examples of Klein's sponge-on-particle-board technique, a medium that would later become iconic to the monochromatic master's oeuvre.
Klein, a member of the Nouveau realisme movement and lover of all saturated hues, became a sponge-relief fiend after "Accord Bleu", gleaning satisfaction from the combination of concentrated color and textural aesthetic. In a text written for an exhibit in 1957, the artist described his budding obsession:
"When working on my pictures in the studio, I sometimes used sponges. Naturally they turned blue very rapidly! One day I noticed how beautiful the blue in the sponge was, and the tool immediately became a raw material. The extraordinary capacity of sponges to absorb everything fluid fascinated me. Thanks to the sponges I was going to be able to make portraits of the observers of my monochromes, who, after having seen, after having voyaged in the blue of my pictures, return totally impregnated in sensibility, as are the sponges."
The pricey piece, which was consigned by the Brooklyn Museum and previously displayed in the Gelsenkirchen Opera House in Germany, will head to auction on November 14th, 2012 in New York. It will be on preview in London, Paris and New York prior to the sale.
You can watch Klein put together one of his massive installations here. Let us know what you think of the lapis lazuli wonders in the comments section and scroll down to see a slideshow of recent auction items at Sotheby's Hong Kong Contemporary Art Sale below.
Yue Minjun (b.1962), Backyard Garden, 2007, Oil on canvas 280 x 400 cm, Est. HK$8 – 12 million / US$1 – 1.5 million
Liu Ye (b.1964), The Pope Rescues a Small Pig, Acrylic on canvas 101.6 x 101.6 cm, Est. HK$5 – 7 million / US$640,000 – 900,000
Cai Guo-qiang (b.1957), Marx’s Moustache, 2009, Gunpowder on paper, 201 x 302 cm, Est. HK$1.5 – 2 million / US$190,000 – 260,000
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), Pumpkin (2000, Acrylic on canvas, 53.3 x 65.4 cm; Est. HK$700,000 – 900,000 / US$90,000 – 120,000
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), Venus Nets (R) and Statue of Venus Obliterated by Infinity Nets (R) (Set of Two), 1998, Acrylic on canvas, Fibreglass, Painting: 227.3 x 145.4 cm / Statue: 215.9 x 68.6 x 60 cm, Est. HK$3.5 – 4.5 million / US$450,000 – 580,000
Ding Yi (b.1962), Appearance of Crosses 93-9, 1993, Acrylic on canvas, 140 x 158 cm, Est. HK$1 – 1.5 million / US$130,000 - 190,000
Zeng Fanzhi (b.1964), Fire, Oil on canvas, 2007, 214.6 x 329.5 cm, Est. HK$7 – 9 million / US$900,000 - 1.2 million
Jiang Dahai (b.1949) Red Obscure No.2 2010, Oil on canvas 200 x 200 cm, Est. HK$300,000 – 400, 000 / US$38,000 – 51,000
Lui Chun Kwong
Lui Chun Kwong (b.1956), Landscape Series No. 0008 1999, Acrylic on canvas mounted on board, 183 x 122 cm Est. HK$100,000 - 150,000 / US$13,000 - 19,000
Zhang Xiaogang (b.1958), Tiananmen No. 1, Oil on canvas, 1993 98.6 x 128 cm, Est. HK$15 – 25 million / US$1.9 – 3.2 million
Qiu Shihua (b.1940), Untitled, Circa 1997 Oil on canvas 111.2 x 194 cm, Est. HK$120,000 – 180,000 / US$15,000 – 23,000
Liu Wei (b. 1965), Revolutionary Family Series – Invitation to Dinner Oil on canvas, 1992, 183 x 163 cm, Est. HK$12 – 15 million / US$1.5 – 1.9 million
Also on HuffPost: