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January 31, 2011

Impressionist and Modern Art – Christie’s London Evening Auction – Gauguin Masterpiece and other highlights

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale
9 February 2011
Christie’s London

The Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Auction and the sale of The Art of the Surreal will take place on 9 February 2011 at 7pm with a pre-sale estimate of £73,880,000 to £109,060,000 (corresponding estimate in 2010: £56.5 million to £80.8 million). This is the second highest pre-sale estimate for the February Impressionist sales at Christie’s in London.

PAUL GAUGUIN MASTERPIECE

The leading highlight of the sales is Nature morte à “L’Espérance”, an historically important still life painted by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) in 1901 while he was living in Tahiti. The work has been exhibited at over 20 major museum exhibitions including the artist’s first landmark Retrospective at the Grand Palais, Paris, in 1906. It is expected to realise £7 million to £10 million.

Four works to be sold by the Art Institute of Chicago are led by Nature morte à la guitare (rideaux rouge) by Georges Braque (1882-1963) (estimate: £3.5 million to £5.5 million).

Giovanna Bertazzoni, Director and Head of Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie’s London: “2010 was a landmark year for the art market that witnessed record sales and results. This was driven in a significant way by the demand for rare and market-fresh works of Impressionist and Modern art which represented 7 of the top 10 prices paid last year at auction, 6 of which sold for over $50 million. The category continues to engage new collectors from both established and emerging markets, including China and Russia, and where there is a healthy supply it has been shown that there is a tremendous demand for the rarest and the best.

This year’s auction at Christie’s in February will offer a significantly high number of impressive works that have been in private hands for decades, as well as 4 which are offered from the Art Institute of Chicago, all of which will present rare opportunities for art collectors and institutions.”

Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale

The Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale will offer 46 lots with a total pre-sale value of £54,680,000 to £80,960,000. Led by Nature morte à “L’Espérance”, an historic still life painted by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) (estimate: £7 million to £10 million), the auction will also include works by other leading artists of the field including Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Edgar Degas and Fernand Léger, among others.

Leading highlights:

* Nature morte à “L’Espérance” by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was executed in 1901 and is one of four paintings of sunflowers painted by the artist in that year as a tribute to his friend and fellow artistic pioneer Vincent van Gogh (estimate: £7 million to £10 million). The work was shown at the artist’s first landmark Retrospective in 1906, and has subsequently featured in over 20 major Museum exhibitions at, among other places, MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, Tate London and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. It has been unseen in public since 1989.

* Bateaux à Collioure by André Derain (1880-1954) was painted in 1905, and is from a pivotal, early moment of the Fauve movement. Executed in Collioure where the artist was painting alongside his great champion Henri Matisse, it is an exceptionally vibrant work that has been in the collection of the present owner since circa 1960 and was last seen in public in 1965 (estimate: £4 million to £6 million).

* The auction will offer 4 works to be sold by the Art Institute of Chicago led by Nature morte à la guitare (rideaux rouge), 1938, by Georges Braque (1882-1963) (estimate: £3.5 million to £5.5 million). This painting was formerly in the possession of the celebrated collectors Mr. and Mrs. Albert D. Lasker, the parents of Mrs. Brody who owned Pablo Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust which sold at Christie’s New York in May 2010 for $106.5 million – a world record price for any work of art sold at auction. The other paintings offered by the Art Institute of Chicago are Sur l’impériale traversant la Seine, an early painting executed in Paris by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) in 1901 (estimate: £2 million to £3 million); Femme au fauteuil, 1919, a striking portrait by Henri Matisse (estimate: £1 million to £1.5 million); and Verre et pipe, 1919, a cubist jewel by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973).

* Danseuses jupes jaunes (Deux danseuses en jaune), by Edgar Degas (1834-1917) is a stunning pastel in exceptional condition that was acquired by the family of the present owner in 1899 and has since passed by descent. A highly finished work from circa 1896, it shows the artist’s favoured theme, the ballet, captured in the explosive palette that marked his works from this period. It is expected to realise £3 million to £5 million.

* Terrasse à Vernon by Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) was painted in 1923 and depicts the view from Ma Roulotte, the Norman home of the artist (estimate: £3 million to £4 million). A masterclass in colourist painting, it was one of only 3 works that Bonnard selected to be exhibited at the Salon d’Automne that year, where it was very well received. It has since been seen in public only once, in New York in 1934. Acquired by the family of the present owner in 1935, it has since passed by descent and is offered at auction for the first time.

Sale 7951
Impressionist & Modern Evening Sale
9 February 2011
Christie’s London, King Street

Public Exhibition: 3 to 9 February 2011
Auction: 9 February 2011 at 7pm

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