Flash News: Hockney by Freud – Tribute to Gérard Fromanger – Hauser & Wirth Monaco

[25 Jun 2021]

Record expected for portrait of David Hockney by Lucian Freud

There hasn’t been a single painting by Lucian FREUD auctioned for two years now. But collectors will at last have something to bid for because – almost ten years after the great artist’s death on 20 July 2011 – Sotheby’s is offering a small canvas depicting David Hockney at its upcoming British Modern Art sale on 29 June in London.

Measuring 40 by 31 cm, the work kept Lucian Freud, who was 80 years old at the time, busy in his studio for four long months and it captures and transcribes all the intensity of the face of his friend David Hockney. More than just rare – representing a veritable meeting of two ‘titans’ of British Post-War art – Sotheby’s has boldly estimated the painting at £8 – 12 million ($11 and 17 million). If it sells in that range it will resoundingly dwarf Freud’s portrait of another giant of English painting, Francis Bacon, which fetched $9.4 million thirteen years ago (Francis Bacon, Christie’s London, 19 October 2008).

Death of Gérard Fromanger, master of Narrative Figuration

Gérard Fromanger was a friend, a comrade, a traveling companion, a visionary. An artist committed to the defense of all freedoms, a poet with a joyous and multi-colored palette”, reacted former French Minister of Culture, Jack Lang, following the death of Gérard Fromanger at the age of 81.

Trained at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière at the end of the 1950s, Gérard FROMANGER moved quickly into colour-dominated work for which he subsequently found a perfect vehicle in the form of Narrative Figuration in the mid-1960s. At the time, his urban scenes were populated with characters, like a very special kind of circus he confided. Special, but also powerful and full of ‘social critique’ because Fromanger very clearly considered painting a political activity.

After long periods ‘unaccompanied’ in the management of his artistic career, Fromanger worked with the Bucher-Jaeger and Caroline Smulders galleries. His work gained international visibility with exhibitions in the United States, China, Africa and Europe. Late in 2016, the Pompidou Center in Paris devoted a major retrospective to what the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze described as a revolutionary and joyful oeuvre.

New Hauser & Wirth outlet

Founded almost thirty years ago by the couple Iwan and Manuela Wirth, the eponymous gallery is continuing to expand. Already established in New York, London, Hong Kong, Zurich, St. Moritz, Somerset, Gstaad and soon Menorca, it inaugurated a new outlet a few days ago near the famous Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo in Monaco. The 290m2 place with 9-metre high ceilings will allow the accommodation of monumental works by the 80 artists in its stable. These include prestigious signatures like George Condo, Alexander Calder, Mark Bradford, Cindy Sherman and… Louise BOURGEOIS, whose work has been chosen to inaugurate this new Monegasque space. One of her giant protective Spiders – probably her most emblematic work – already welcomes visitors outside. On the auction market, one of her Spider sculptures sold for close to $30 million (Spider, Christie’s, New York, 2019). Inside the gallery, two huge suspended aluminum sculptures (Untitled, 2004) turn slowly… abstract spirals that we rarely get to see exhibited and that we have never seen on the auction market.