Christie's will auction off Yves Klein's Accord Bleu (Sponge Relief), formerly of the Brooklyn Museum's collection, at its Nov. 14 postwar and contemporary art sale in New York City. Christie's estimates that the relief, made in 1958, will bring between $7 million and $10 million. The world auction record for the artist is $36.7 million for Le Rose du Bleu (RE22), 1960, sold by Christie's London in June.
The piece, one of Klein's first sponge reliefs, features sponges painted International Klein Blue (IKB)--ultramarine pigment suspended in synthetic resin to maintain the brilliance of wet pigment. Klein hoped that the sponges, which absorbed the paint, would give presence to an immaterial "sensibility." The artist used it as a model for the much larger murals he would craft for the Gelsenkirchen Opera House in Germany.
Former Brooklyn Museum trustee William K. Jacobs bought the relief in 1960, and bequeathed it to the Museum in 1992. The museum has exhibited the piece only once since then, as curators claim that they cannot provide the work with proper context.
Trustees voted to sell the work in order to create a contemporary art acquisition fund. "We believe this direction will better serve the museum's visitors both today and in the future," said museum director Arnold L. Lehman.