Anthropométrie de l’époque bleue, (ANT 124), 1960, will be sold at auction for the first time at a Christie’s London evening sale in late June with an estimate in the region of £24 million (US$30.2 million).
The work, measuring roughly 5-feet-by-11 feet, is one of few from Klein’s Anthropométrie series of this scale in private hands, according to Christie’s.
Klein (1928-62) is regarded as a pioneer in the development of performance art and a leading member of the French artistic movement of Nouveau réalisme.
Klein’s Anthropométrie series began with the discovery of dark blue hues, later named after the artist as International Klein Blue (IKB). He used rollers, sponges, and life models, or “living brushes” as they came to be known, to apply IKB on canvases, according to Christie’s.
The work being sold, Anthropométrie de l’époque bleue, (ANT 124) was created in February 1960, weeks before Klein’s seminal performance of the same title at the Galerie Internationale d’Art Contemporain in Paris.
“This pivotal moment in the 20th century art historical canon paved the way for some of the greatest artists of our time, including
head of post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s Europe, said in a news release Thursday.
The painting was originally owned by German architect
and his wife, Anita, who first unveiled it in an exhibition in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, in 1964. It had been out of public view until in 2006-07, when it was included in Klein’s major retrospective at the Musée national d’Art moderne in Paris, Christie’s said.
The auction house did not disclose the identity of the consignor. It’s not clear whether the painting has been previously traded through private deals.
Prior to the auction on the evening of June 28 in London, Anthropométrie de l’époque bleue, (ANT 124) will be on view in Zurich from June 10-12, and in London starting June 22.
Klein’s current price record was set by his 10-foot long panel, FC1 (Fire Color 1), 1962, which sold for US$36.4 million at Christie’s in 2012 to Italy’s Prada Foundation.
Last week, his 1961 Relief Éponge bleu sans titre (RE 49) fetched nearly US$20 million at Phillips evening sale of 20th-century and contemporary art in New York.