May 4, 2010 / 10:41 AM / 9 years ago

Sotheby's to offer Yves Klein work in London sale

Yves Klein's "RE 49, Relief Eponge Bleu" is seen in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Sotheby's/Handout

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Sotheby’s will offer an Yves Klein work, “RE 49, Relief Eponge Bleu”, for sale at its contemporary art evening auction in London on June 28.

The auctioneer expects the 1961 painting, one of the few large-scale blue works of similar style to remain in private hands, to fetch 4.5-6.5 million pounds ($6.8-9.9 million).

“Executed just before his untimely death in 1962, Klein’s extraordinary sponge reliefs represent the culmination of his artistic vision,” said Cheyenne Westphal, Sotheby’s chairman of contemporary art in Europe.

The painting comes from the collection of HypoVereinsbank, which the auctioneer said had one of the most important corporate art collections in Europe.

Sotheby’s said five of the top 10 prices at auction for the French artist are for his Relief Eponge works, which feature natural sponge soaked in pigment.

Demand for the artist has been high in recent years, and the art market generally is recovering strongly from declines during the worst of the financial crisis.

The auction record for a Klein is $23.6 million set in New York in May, 2008.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato

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