Yves Klein (1928-1962) RE 22 (Le Rose du bleu) - natural sponges, pebbles and dry pink pigment in synthetic resin on panel
78 1/8 x 60 x 6 3/8in. (199 x 153 x 16cm.)
Executed in 1960.
Estimate upon request
June 10, 2012, source: Christie's
Representing the figurehead of the London auction season is "Le Rose du bleu (RE 22)" (1960; estimate upon request); by far the largest pink sponge relief ever created and included in all the artist’s major exhibitions over the past 50 years. The work is an intensely tactile work, made up of nine, large, glowing, and intensely sculptural sponge orbs standing proud from the canvas, densely overlaid with pebbles, all bound together with searing, resplendent pink pigment.
Previously part of the renowned Madeleine Everaert and Menil collections, the work finds a perfect counterpoint in "Relief éponge bleu (RE 51)" (1959; estimate: £6,000,000-9,000,000), the ultramarine blue sponge relief previously owned by Lucio Fontana. Together, these otherworldly sponge reliefs capture the zeitgeist at the turn of the 1960s; a moment dominated by the Cold War space race. In 1961, the year after Klein created Le Rose du bleu (RE 22), Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin would go down in history as the first man to travel into space. A matter of weeks later, United States president, John F. Kennedy avowed to land a man on the moon within the decade.
"Anthropométrie (ANT49)" (1960; estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000) is another important work by Yves Klein to be offered at auction during the Christie’s London Post-War & Contemporary Art auction on 27 June.
This auction follows the outstanding result achieved at Christie's New York last May when the legendary "FC 1 (Fire-Color 1)", sold for $36,482,500 (£22,619,150), setting a new world record for the artist at auction.