Jenson Button’s Ferrari Boxer May Sell for $180,000: Art Buzz

A Ferrari belonging to the former world champion driver Jenson Button is estimated to sell for as much as 110,000 pounds ($180,000) at an auction next month.

The black 1978 512BB Berlinetta Boxer was acquired by the U.K.-born racer last year when Button was the reigning Formula 1 champion, having won the 2009 title for Brawn GP, said Bonhams. The London-based auction house will include the Ferrari in its sale at the RAF Museum, Hendon, on April 11, with a low estimate of 90,000 pounds.

“After a thorough service that has addressed all the usual issues with an older Ferrari, I’ve had a great time driving the Boxer,” Button said in an e-mailed statement. “However my F1 commitments will not enable me to enjoy the car to its fullest.”

Buyers of collectors’ vehicles have become more selective. The Historic Automobile Group International Top 50 index of classic-car prices was up 6.6 percent in 2010, lower than its average growth of more than 12 percent from 2003 to 2008.

“This is a car at the cheaper end of the market,” Ferrari dealer John Collins, of the Ascot-based specialist Talacrest, said in an interview. “Though there are quite a lot of Boxers around, some people like them.”

The 188-mph Ferrari was one of 2,323 Boxers of all types produced from 1973 to 1984, according to the catalog. It would have cost about 30,000 pounds in 1978, Collins said.

Saatchi Baby

A sculpture of a baby by the Australian-born artist Ron Mueck is the most valuable of 32 contemporary works being sold by Kay Saatchi, the first wife of the U.K. collector Charles Saatchi, at auction in London in June.

The 1996 mixed media work, “Big Baby,” is 3 feet high (0.9 meters). It is estimated to fetch as much as 1.2 million pounds at Christie’s International on June 28. It was one of seven hyper-realist sculptures by Mueck owned by the Saatchis, who co-curated the “Sensation” show of young British artists at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1997, said Christie’s.

Kay Saatchi’s entries also include five early Lucian Freud drawings from the mid-1940s, ranging in value from 80,000 pounds to 400,000 pounds.

“The 1940s are great dates for Freud,” the London-based dealer Offer Waterman said in an interview. “Kay Saatchi had her own taste, and there’s currently a thirst for quality across all disciplines.”

U.S.-born Kay Saatchi came to London in the 1980s. A former commercial gallerist, she was married to Charles Saatchi from 1990 to 2001. She is now moving to Los Angeles, Christie’s said.

Japan Art

A London-based artist has reworked one of the most famous images in Japanese art to raise funds for victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

“I watched the horrific images on TV and realized I had to do something,” Charles Uzzell Edwards, an artist and director of the Pure Evil Gallery in Mayfair, said in an interview. “Something went ‘ping’ in my head. If you’re an artist you can make things that can raise money.”

Using Photoshop, Edwards produced a monochrome digital version of Katsushika Hokusai’s 19th-century woodblock “The Great Wave,” with the surging waters blackened and choked with 21st-century debris.

The unlimited edition print is priced at 100 pounds each with all proceeds donated to the Japanese Red Cross. So far, 20 have been sold, Edwards said. The “Hokusai Tsunami print for Japan” is available from

The specialist auction house Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. is also raising funds for Japan.

The Chicago-based company will be donating 3 percent of the premium it charged buyers at its March 19 sell-out Chateau Lafite auction to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. The event totaled $5.9 million with fees.

“Many of the consignors in this auction will be matching our donation and a total well above $30,000 is expected to be raised with this collective effort,” Marc Smoler, HDH’s marketing manager, said in an e-mail.

(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)