It is the show of the moment, organised jointly by Waddington and the Karsten Schubert Gallery in Foley Street - Waddington is London's biggest modern art gallery in terms of turnover and Karsten Schubert a small, but pioneering promoter of the avant garde.
The two dealers have picked out 18 artists they believe to have made the most significant contribution to abstract painting in Britain since the war, ranging from big names to young painters straight out of art school. The aim is to highlight cross influences.
From the generation that made their reputations in the 1960s, there is a brightly coloured optical dazzler by Bridget Riley at £45,000 and an eight-foot canvas of coloured doodles by Patrick Heron at the same price - both painted last year.
Britain's favourite young iconoclast, Damien Hirst, is represented by a circular canvas, measuring just over three feet across, splashed with coloured paint and titled: beautiful, vaginal, spiral, escalating, blood, space, escaping paint. It is priced at £12,000 and was reserved on the first night.
Only two paintings were actually sold, however, both by young hopefuls recently out of college.
Glenn Brown, who graduated from Goldsmith's in 1992, copies sections of de Kooning's paintings from colour slides; although he also uses oil paint, de Kooning's high impasto is ingeniously rendered with a flat, matt surface reminiscent of a colour photograph. His Telstar at Karsten Schubert's sold for £7,500.
Zebedee Jones, who left the Chelsea College of Art and Design in 1993, paints highly textured monochromes; his 30in by 30in Pale Grey Perpendicular found a buyer - at £1,800.
The exhibition of Ken Currie's paintings, next door at the Raab Gallery, is clocking up sales. About two dozen paintings, drawings and prints have sold from at prices ranging from £475 to £35,000.
Currie, 35, is one of the expressionist painters from Glasgow who came to prominence in the 1980s. His paintings have strong overtones of Goya and are an exploration of human suffering. His nudes are regularly lacerated with wounds, their fingers dripping blood. They are also heavy with symbolism which viewers can interpret anyway they like.
The pregnant woman in Sex in Scotland (£15,000), for instance, has her leg banadaged in lavatory paper. The triptych Bread and Soup - featuring a man sitting in a hospital bed under a painting of Calvary with a drip attached to his arm - has been bought by the Schroeder Collection for the new Museum of Modern Art which is scheduled to open in Copenhagen next year; Currie is to have his first retrospective at the museum in 1997.