Is Peter Brant Selling a $12 Million John Currin Nude at Christie’s?

Peter Brant. Photo: PATRICK MCMULLAN.

Christie’s has made a late addition to their upcoming Post-War & Contemporary Art auction in New York.

The auction house was able to secure John Currin’s Nice ’n Easy (1999), from an unnamed private collector rumored to be Peter Brant. The work, which has an estimate between $12 million to $18 million, will go under the hammer on November 15.

The oil-on-canvas work depicting two nude women was consigned to Sotheby’s in 2008 by the Los Angeles collector Dean Valentine. Two years ago, the work sold for $5.5 million to an anonymous telephone bidder.

According to Artforum, Brant’s daughter-in-law, Sotheby’s client services representative Felicitas Rutt, was fielding the call to the successful bidder at the time, prompting rumors that the publishing billionaire was the buyer. A year later, Art Market Monitor reported seeing the work in Brant’s Greenwich, CT, foundation.

John Currin Nice 'n Easy (1999). Photo: courtesy of CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2016.

John Currin Nice ‘n Easy (1999). Courtesy of CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2016.

In an email, Christie’s referred artnet News to the auction catalogue—which states that the work was consigned from a private collection—and declined to confirm that Brant is the owner and consignor of the painting.

According to the accompanying catalogue essayNice ’n Easy is a work from the painter’s most desirable period in the late ’90s, when the artist began referencing Renaissance masters such as Sandro Botticelli and Lucas Cranach the Elder, depicting female nudes with features such as small breasts, bellies, and wider hips. The transition coincided with the painter’s romance with sculptor Rachel Feinstein, and the figures in Nice ’n Easy are based on his wife’s features.

Even if the work achieves only its low estimate, the consigner could make $6.5 million from the sale. It’s not enough for Brant to buy another Jeff Koons Balloon Dog, however.

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