Swiss artist Franz Gertsch's Luciano II painting has sold for CHF3.4 million ($3.4 million) in London – a record sum for the artist.
It eclipses the previous record set at Sotheby’sexternal link in 2011, the auction house said on Thursday evening after the sale. Luciano II will go to a gallery in Oslo.
Sotheby’s called Gertsch a fascinating and accomplished painter. “The rarity of his works and his incredibly ambitious approach have earned him a well-deserved place on the international stage,” said Caroline Lang, chair of Sotheby’s Switzerland.
Gertsch made 63 major works between 1969 and 2005, a relatively small number owing to his meticulous technique and great ambition, the auction house saidexternal link. Out of these, 20 are in private hands and the rest are in museum collections or remain with the artist's collection. Luciano Castelli, the subject of Luciano II, was a friend and one of the most important people who would pose for Gertsch's artwork.
The painter became prominent in the art world in the 1970s and is known for his large-format hyper realist portraits. The Sotheby’s sale coincided with the artist’s 87th birthday.