František Kupka, painter, graphic artist and illustrator.
London – A painting by František Kupka called Complexe, which comes from the estate of the late actor Sean Connery, was auctioned today in London for 4,646,000 pounds (122.9 million crowns). The auction house Sotheby's, which organizes the London auction, informed about it. Kupka is one of the best-selling Czech artists. In 2021, his work Jetting II was auctioned in London for a record 7,551,600 pounds, then converted to 230.8 million crowns.
The painting Complexe was already exhibited at the famous modernist exhibition in Paris in 1912. The auction house estimated in advance that it would sell for 2.2 to 2.8 million pounds. The famous Scottish actor Sean Connery, who became famous as the first representative of James Bond, was an avid art collector and acquired the work in 2016. The proceeds from the auction will also go to the actor's Connery Foundation.
“Kupka is one of the key artists who contributed to the development of abstraction, the artist's place in the history of modern painting is finally recognized even by today's top collectors. This pioneering early work is an excellent example of the artist's tireless exploration of movement, spirituality and color through abstraction,” he said of the image previously by Thomas Boyd-Bowman of Sotheby's auction house. “The opportunity to present this extremely rare painting at auction alongside seminal paintings by Kandinsky and Delaunay, other pioneers of abstraction, will make for an exciting juxtaposition,” he added.
Since 1993, around 120 Kupka paintings have gone through world auctions, of which there were only ten from the pivotal years 1911 to 1914. Moreover, most of these ten were only begun in this period, Kupka worked on them even after 1919, wrote the server artplus.cz. Before the First World War, Kupka managed to publicly exhibit only ten of his abstract canvases. Eight of them are in public collections in Prague, Paris, Madrid and Washington, one is lost and the tenth painting was auctioned today.
Kupka was one of the pioneers of abstract painting, he participated in the creation of a new artistic direction – Orphism , which brings painting closer to other arts such as music or poetry. The subject recedes into the background in his compositions, and the composition of colors and lines is decisive.
The auction started shortly after 19:00 London time (20:00 CET) and Kupko's painting came in as the third lot. The auctioned works also included paintings by Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Lucian Freud and Gerhard Richter. But the main star of the auction was the painting Murnau with the church II by Wassily Kandinsky from 1910, which was sold for 37,196,800 pounds (983.7 million crowns in conversion) .