A total of 17 British Airways-owned paintings, prints and works on paper will go under the hammer later this month.
BA has built up an impressive collection of artwork over the years, much of which has gone on display in its business and first class lounges, but the Covid-19 pandemic has led the airline to seek to raise funds from the sale of a sizeable chunk of the portfolio.
Sotheby’s will hold an online auction between July 20 and July 30, and an evening sale in London on July 28, during which Cool Edge by Bridget Riley (pictured above left) is estimated to fetch between £800,000 and £1.2 million.
According to the auctioneer the painting belongs to the “Egyptian Series” which was celebrated in Riley’s Hayward Gallery retrospective exhibition earlier this year.
“A trip to Egypt in 1979 led to a fascination with the dynamic use of colour in ancient Egyptian tomb paintings, and Cool Edge bears all the hallmark hues of her celebrated ‘Egyptian palette’ – violet, aquamarine, coral and yellow,” said Sotheby’s.
Seven further Riley prints will be offered for sale during the online auction, including five from her 1971 “Elongated Triangles” series.
Other works which will go on sale from The British Airways Collection include paintings by Terry Frost (Sunglow, pictured above right), Patrick Heron (Scarlet and Bordeaux in Colbalt, pictured below right) and George Shaw (Scenes from the Passion, Ash, pictured below left), as well as rare prints by Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn and Julian Opie, and a series of ten etchings drawn by Peter Doig from the ground-level perspective of a grasshopper, which make up the Grasshopper Portfolio.
More details on the works can be seen on the Sotheby’s website at sothebys.com.
Commenting on the news Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ director of brand and customer experience, said:
“We are fortunate to have been able to showcase a wealth of artists and creativity through our artwork collection, many of which have been a special part of the design of our lounges worldwide.
“During this unprecedented time we have made the decision to work with Sotheby’s, one of the world’s leading and most trusted auction houses, to sell a number of pieces by artists including Bridget Riley and Damien Hirst. We look forward to them finding new homes with this sale.”