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A New exhibition at the Rothschild house, Waddesdon Manor by the auction house Christie's - RowlandsModernArt.com : RowlandsModernArt.com
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A New exhibition at the Rothschild house, Waddesdon Manor by the auction house Christie’s

| May 25, 2012 | Comments

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A new exhibition of contemporary sculpture being staged by the auction house Christie’s at the Rothschild house, Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire this summer

There is a 15ft tall pack of cigarettes on the lawn of one of the grandest stately homes in the south of England. Opposite is a giant teapot. In the stables, two halves of a dissected pig glide slowly past each other. The works are part of a new exhibition of contemporary sculpture being staged by the auction house Christie’s at the Rothschild house, Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire this summer.

All 33 works have been commissioned or chosen to respond to important works by the 18th century French artist Jean-Siméon Chardin. Specifically, four important studies of a boy building a house of cards.

Francis Outred, head of postwar and contemporary art for Christie’s Europe, said this type of curated show was a first for them. “Christie’s is delighted to be staging an original and curatorially conceived project, in dialogue with Chardin’s paintings, uniting some of the greatest contemporary artists working in sculpture today.”

The works chosen are in a whole host of material from corten steel to fluorescent tubing, “some serene, some fantastical, some disorienting, some enchanting,” said Outred.

It is being staged as Christie’s attempts to increase its share of the private sale market. The auction house is not aiming to be like a gallery, in that it does not nurture a stable of artists, but with its knowledge of the market, where art is and what it is worth, it can act like a broker.

“We’re in this business because we love the art, we like seeing great exhibitions and we like entertaining the viewing public,” said Outred. “I’m very interested in finding that line between the commercial and the curatorial side, you don’t go so far one way that you can’t sell anything or too far the other way so that it is just a bunch of works put together for no apparent reason.”

A dinner for around 100 potential buyers was held last night and while there is no price list, the works have been estimated at between £60,000 and £7.5m.

Christie’s would not say what is worth what, although a good bet would be that the Hirsts in the show will be in the upper bracket.

They include a spot Mini; a dissected pig in formaldehyde called This Little Piggy Went to Market, This Little Piggy Stayed at Home; and Lullaby Winter, a vitrine of 6,136 pills which took five days to install as each pill was precisely placed.

An aqualung by Jeff Koons had yet to arrive at the National Trust property – “stuck in traffic,” said Christie’s – but there was everything else, including 100 kilos of Ai Weiwei’s sunflower seeds (about a wheelbarrow’s worth rather than a Turbine Hall volume), the giant cigarette packet, which is a piece by Urs Fischer, and a Richard Serra work called House of Cards which is the linchpin of the show.

Waddesdon is still getting used to the new arrivals, as are local crows which have been much taken by mirrored works from the Danish artist Jeppe Hein — in that they have been bashing into them.

The works are all responding to four beautiful paintings on display from the 1730s by Chardin. One is the Waddesdon-owned Boy Building a House of Cards, while the other three studies on the same theme have been loaned by the National Gallery, the Louvre and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

• House of Cards is at Waddesdon 26 May-28 October.

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Category: Art News