Marc Quinn Kate Moss

PASSION PROJECT: Sotheby’s is exploring the inherent relationship between art and desire and playing with the shock value artwork can often evoke for its latest exhibition and sale in London, titled “Erotic: Passion & Desire.”

The show, which is guest-curated by the writer Rowan Pelling — best known for her work for the Erotic Review — will encompass art, photography, sculpture and furniture from the 19th century to the present. On display will also be works by photographer Helmut Newton, as well as a gold sculpture of Kate Moss by the contemporary British artist Marc Quinn.

Newton’s “Domestic Nude III: In the Laundry Room at the Château Marmont Hollywood,” dating back to 1992, is among the highlights. It pictures a model posing in nothing but a pair of towering heels, in the famous hotel’s laundry room and captures Newton’s voyeuristic style and ability to portray women’s dominance. It is valued to sell for 40,000 pounds, or $48,772, to 60,000 pounds, or $73,159.

Mel Ramos

A work on display by Mel Ramos.  Courtesy

Quinn’s “Maquette of Siren” sculpture of Moss as a modern Venus is estimated to sell for 70,000 pounds, or $85,352, to 90,000 pounds, or $109,739. “It’s called ‘Siren,’ because in a sense it represents everything that lures people to wreck themselves on the rocks: money, perfection, unattainable images — all these things,” the artist said.

Other noteworthy items that are part of the upcoming exhibition and sale are a series of works by Pablo Picasso, including “Nu Couché,” which features a drawing of a nude woman, with his signature exaggeration of different body parts.

“Art has always existed to tell a human story, and sex has always been a part of that story — whether it is there to compel, to shock or to seduce. Indeed, Eroticism in art has appeared in whatever form art has taken, and our exhibition will take the viewer on a journey through the centuries,” said Constantine Frangos, head of sale. “This sale creates a stage on which we are able to bring together a fascinating array of artworks and objects across many disciplines – charting a history whilst also presenting stunning works by artists as eclectic as Picasso, Man Ray, Ettore Sottsass and Marc Quinn.”

The items will be exhibited at Sotheby’s London as of Feb. 12, while the sale is slated for Feb. 16.