Danish Collector Jens Faurschou Is Selling Works From His Esteemed Foundation in a Christie’s Online Auction

The upper end of the pre-sale estimate for the sale is $9 million.

Jens Faurschou. Image courtesy the Faurschou Foundation.
Jens Faurschou. Image courtesy the Faurschou Foundation.

The Danish collector Jens Faurschou is auctioning off works from his foundation’s collection at Christie’s this summer to support future exhibitions across the organization’s spaces in Copenhagen, Beijing, Venice, and New York. 

The auction, titled “The World Is a Sphere: Art From the Faurschou Foundation,” will run online from July 3 through 16, and will reflect the global outlook of the foundation, which has worked to foster cross-cultural dialogue, particularly between the East and West, since it was founded in 2011.

In a reflection of Faurschou’s connections to artists from around the world, Chen Tianzhuo, Elmgreen & Dragset, Christian Lemmerz, Shirin Neshat, Sun Xun, Yu Ji, and Nikita Shalenny have additionally agreed to donate works for the benefit sale.

“It’s nice to get the support,” Jens Faurschou tells Artnet News, noting that, “once in a while, we do deaccession works to support our exhibition program. The pre-sale estimate ranges from £5.1 million at the low end to £7.3 million at the top ($6.3 million to $9 million). So far, none of the works have a third-party guarantee.

Liu Xiaodong, <i>Pink Phoenix</i> (2011). © Christie’s Images Limited 2020.

Liu Xiaodong, Pink Phoenix (2011). © Christie’s Images Limited 2020.

Highlights of the sale include a landscape by the Danish painter Per Kirkby, Mild Vinter II (1989), estimated at £200,000 to £300,000, and a group of works by Ai Weiwei, including his 2009 Coca-Cola Vase, estimated at £250,000 to £350,000. (The sale is titled after a quote by the artist.) 

Among the other Chinese artists represented in the sale are Sun Xun, Yu Ji, Yu Hong, and Liu Xiaodong, whose work is informed by the political and social upheaval of China’s Cultural Revolution. 

“I’m always reluctant to let works go,” Faurschou says. “I think Liu Xiaodong’s Pink Phoenix is a fantastic painting. I came to the studio just after he had finished it, and it’s one I really love. But I have quite a few works in the collection so I thought we could part with it.” The work, from 2011, carries an estimate of £600,000 to £800,000.

The sale also includes Untitled IV (Anatomy of Architecture series) (2016) by Simone Leigh, which Faurschou bought from the late gallerist Jack Tilton at the Art Show fair in New York in 2016. It is estimated to sell for between £120,000 and £180,000.

“I love this artist and I remember being blown away when I first saw her work,” Faurschou says.

Simone Leigh,<i> Untitled IV (Anatomy of Architecture series)</i>(2016). ©Christie’s Images Limited 2020.

Simone Leigh, Untitled IV (Anatomy of Architecture series)(2016). ©Christie’s Images Limited 2020.

“It’s wonderful to see works in the auction that reflect the Foundation’s commitment so elegantly,” Katharine Arnold, Christie’s co-head of Post-war and contemporary Art in Europe, tells Artnet News. “Simone Leigh’s piece is also a highlight for me and could set a new record for the artist.”

Other lots of note include works by Anselm Kiefer (estimated at £700,000 to £1 million) and George Baselitz (£500,000 to £700,000).

Despite the economic downturn, the atmosphere for single-owner sales seems to be positive. In recent months, a Sotheby’s auction of objects from the collection of dealer Rafael Valls tripled its pre-sale estimate, and another sale from dealer Danny Katz’s collection generated $2.8 million, according to Art Market Monitor.

Since the Faurschou Foundation opened an outpost in New York at the end of last year, Faurschou says he has been “overwhelmed” by the community’s welcome. When that location reopens, it will prolong its inaugural group exhibition titled “The Red Bean Grows in the South.”

The World Is a Sphere: Art From the Faurschou Foundation” will run July 3 through 16 at Christie’s online.


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