1st November 2011

At Auction for a Good Cause

As Time Goes By (red version) going, going for charity

10 November 2011, Sotheby’s New York

Lot 420, to be auctioned on 10 November in the 2pm session of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Sale, estimate $80-120,000

Part of Sotheby’s sale on 10 November was devoted to a charity auction, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Elton John Aids Foundation. Hodgkin has donated an Artist’s Proof of the 20 long print (originally published in an edition of 7, when it sold out), to be auctioned alongside works by Cecily Brown, Keith Haring, Jim Hodges, Tracey Emin and Jeff Koons. The sugar lift aquatint, incorporates carborundum and hand painting on 5 hand-torn sheets of Moulin de Gue paper and measures 96 x 240 inches.

‘All of us at the Elton John AIDS Foundation are tremendously grateful to Sotheby’s and to all of the amazing artists who have so generously contributed truly special pieces to the charity lots for this auction,’ said Sir Elton John. ‘I am inspired by their great generosity as we kick-off our fund-raising efforts for the 20th year of the Foundation’s work.’ The scope and breadth of effective HIV prevention messaging and education that the foundation is able to target towards at-risk populations is directly limited by financial resources.

Howard Hodgkin himself wrote:

‘Earlier this year the Phillips Collection in Washington DC acquired both the red and the blue versions of my largest print, As Time Goes By. They hung them in a room on their own in the first gallery that Duncan Phillips added to his house, which became America’s first museum of contemporary art. I broke the journey to California, where an exhibition of my paintings was going to open at the San Diego Museum of Art and stayed in Washington to be on hand for the celebrations that marked the Phillips Collection’s anniversary. 90 Years of New was their slogan. They installed the prints beautifully, up a few steps from a space devoted to well-mannered, soft-spoken British abstract art by Ben Nicholson and others. That heightened their impact. They invited me to a boardroom lunch. The people around the table had made the acquisition possible. The director, Dorothy Kosinski, directed the conversation which turned into the friendliest, best meant sort of interrogation. I was asked, Why did you make those prints? And I found myself replying, Because I thought I was dying. I’d been ill with hydrocephalus and was operated on, successfully, in November 2008. In some way, As Time Goes By was my response.’

It fetched $74,500 including buyers’ premium.

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