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Impressionist & Modern Art

Sotheby's

7PM, November 3, 2003

Sale 7934
"Landhaus Am Attersee" by Gustav Klimt

Lot 25A, "Landhaus Am Attersee," by Gustav Klimt, oil on canvas, 43 ¼ inches square, circa 1914

By Carter B. Horsley

While this evening auction of Impressionist and Modern Art at Sotheby's has no true masterworks, it does offer several fine works including a very good landscape by Gustav Klimt, a strong drawing by Vincent Van Gogh, a great nude drawing by Pablo Picasso, a very nice portrait by Amedeo Modigliani, an excellent still life by Jean Metzinger, and a good cityscape by Oskar Kokoschka.

In addition, the auction has a "Nympheas" by Claude Monet," and a still-life by Paul Cézanne.

The unquestioned star of the auction is the landscape by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), which is entitled "Landaus Am Attersee." An oil on canvas, it measures 43 ¼ inches square and was executed circa 1914. It is the cover illustration of the catalogue and has an ambitious estimate of $18,000,000 to $25,000,000. It sold for $29,128,000 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article. That broke the world auction for the artist that had been $22,490,000.

This was a very successful sale despite the fact that only 70 percent of the 57 offered lots sold. The sale total was $125,519,200. The pre-sale low estimate had been $111.8 million and the pre-sale high estimate had been $155.9 million.

Klimt, of course, is best known for his opulent, hypnoptic figure compositions, and landscapes account only for about a quarter of his oeuvre. The catalogue notes that "there are scarcely any preparatory studies for the landscapes" and "as such, they bear witness to Klimt's most direct response to the nature world, and are his most private and intimate works in oil. He sought to capture the purity of the natural world and its splendors of color, heightened by the richness and texture of the surface. Indeed, some of the more contemplative landscapes, such as the present work, evoke moods that comment meaningfully on the very nature of visual perception."

The catalogue entry also notes the stylistic influence of Egon Schiele and remarks that "Klimt's characteristic use of the square format canvas for his major landscapes inbues them with a strong sense of proportion and harmony. In its richness of vision and expansiveness of form; in its mood of seductive repose and timeless tranquility, despite the ineluctable advance of history beyond the harmony of the scene; and in its central importance as one of the artist's most inspired views of Attersee, Landhaus am Attersee is an undisputed masterpiece by Klimt."

"La Moisson en Provence" by Vincent van Gogh

Lot 6, "La Moisson en Provence," by Vincent van Gogh, watercolor, gouache, charcoal, reed and quill pen and brown ink on off-white wove paper laid down on millboard, 19 7/8 by 24 inches, 1888

Lot 6, "La Moisson en Provence," is a large and very impressive watercolor, gouache, charcoal, reed and quillpen and brown ink on off-white wove paper laid down on millboard by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). It measures 19 7/8 by 24 inches and was executed in 1888.

It is a study for "Jardins de Marichers, an oil on canvas in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and another study for the same painting is in the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, Mass. The artist considered that painting the masterpiece of his Arles period.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"Much of the virtuosity of this work likes in the variety of media employed by the artist to capture the different effects of the receding landscape. The bare contours of the view and its horizon were initially delineated in pencil, broadly sketched in as a skeletal map of the plain before him. Its natural forms were then given detail and substance in ink, a process that permitted the artist to display the full range of his exceptional ability with the pen. He contined to use the thin quill for the finer lines in the distance, but one of the revelations for van Gogh upon arriving in Arleshad been the quality of the locally grown reeds used for drawing. The variation in breadth and intensity of line that he found he could achieve enormously increased the expressiveness of his draughtsmanship. Thus in the present picture the swirling foliage of the foreground contrasts with the more delicate lines of the harvest fields in the middle distance, different again from the sublime lightness of touch achieved in the rolling clouds. Van Gogh's ardent admiration for Japanese art was undoubtedly an influence here, with the difference that van Gogh was attempting with a pen nib the effects that the Japanese attained with a brush."

The lot has an estimate of $7,000,000 to $9,000,000. It sold for $10,312,000.

"Nu Couché" by Picasso

Lot 23, "Nu Couché," by Pablo Picasso, charcoal on canvas, 38 ¼ by 51 ¼ inches, 1932

The most lyrical work in the auction is Lot 23, "Nu Couché," by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). The 38 ¼-by 51 ¼-inch charcoal on canvas was executed in 1932 and comes from the collection of Bill Blass, the fashion designer.

The work remained in the artist's own collection until his death in 1973 and then was kept in the collection of his late wife Jacqueline and then was inherited by her daughter.

It belongs to a series Picasso completed in 1932 depicted Marie-Thérèse sleeping in the nude.

It has an estimate of $5,000,000 to $7,000,000. It sold for $9,752,000.

There are several other works by Picasso in the auction of lesser quality, the best of which are Lots 39 and 44.


"La Mandoliniste Assise" by Picasso

Lot 39, "La Mandolinste Assise," by Pablo Picasso, oil on canvas, 15 by 9 ½ inches, 1911

Lot 39, "La Mandolinste Assise," is a pleasant Cubist work of a seated mandolin player. The small oil measures 15 by 9 ½ inches and was executed in 1911. It has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. It sold for $2,360,000.

"Verre et Pipe" by Picasso

Lot 44, "Verre et Pipe," by Pablo Picasso, oil, sand, and India ink on canvas, 8 5/8 by 10 5/8 inches, 1918

Lot 44, "Verre et Ppe," is a much stronger work done in Picasso's synthetic Cubism style. The oil, sand and India ink on canvas measures 8 5/8 by 10 5/8 inches. Executed in 1918, it has a very modest estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $400,000.


"Portrait de Leopold Zborowski"  by Modigliani

Lot 25, "Portrait de Leopold Zborowski," by Amedeo Modigliani, oil on canvas, 17 ¾ by 10 ¾ inches, 1917

Lot 25, "Portrait de Leopold Zborowski," is a fine, small work by Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920). The oil on canvas measures 17 ¾ by 10 ¾ inches and was executed in 1917.

The man depicted in this portrait was Modigliani's primary dealer and confidant during the artist's final years. The catalogue reproduces two other portraits of him by Modigliani, both more finished than this handsome work, which has a modest estimate of $1,200,000 to $1,600,000. It sold for $1,464,000.

Lot 45, "Grun," is a good abstraction by Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). An oil on masonite laid down on wood, it measures 23 5/8 by 27 ¾ inches. Executed in 1931, it has an estimate of only $600,000 to $800,000. It was painted during his stay at the Bauhaus school in Dessau where he shared a duplex house with Paul Klee. It was passed at $550,000.


"Nature Morte aux Poires" by Metzinger

Lot 42, "Nature Morte aux Poires," by Jean Metzinger, oil on canvas, 45 5/8 by 32 inches, circa 1920-1

Lot 42, "Nature Morte aux Poires," is a fine and lovely Cubist still life by Jean Metzinger (1883-1956). The oil on canvas measures 45 5/8 by 32 inches and was executed circa 1920-1. It has an estimate of $700,000 to $900,000. It sold for $792,000, slightly above the previous world auction record for the artist.

"Personnages Dans Un Escalier" by Léger

Lot 40, "Personnages Dans Un Escalier," by Fernand Léger, gouache and watercolor on paper, 12 ¾ by 16 1/8 inches, 1914

Lot 40, "Personnages Dans Un Escalier," is a very strong composition by Fernand Léger (1881-1955)(See The City Review article on Léger). A gouache and watercolor on paper, it measures 12 ¾ by 16 1/8 inches and was painted in 1914.

"Between 1911 and 1914," the catalogue entry notes, "Léger executed a series of several highly geometric works called Contrastes de formes which explore the relationships of color and shape through geometric abstraction. In these compositions he experimented radically with the plastic qualities of form, line and color, replacing basic components of the human anatomy with geometric shapes. Although still considered a Cubist by his association with Braque and Picasso, Léger's work paid homage to the age of the machine, much in the manner of his Futurist contemporaries Umberto Boccioni and Gino Severini."

The lot has a modest estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000. It was withdrawn.


"Schokko" by von Jawlensky

Lot 20, "Schokko (Schokko Mit Tellerhut)," by Alexej von Jawlensky, oil on cardboard laid down on canvas, 29 ½ by 25 5/8 inches, circa 1910

The auction's boldest work is Lot 20, "Schoklo (Schokko Mit Tellerhut)," a portrait of a woman in a broad hat by Alexej von Jawlensky (1864-1941). The oil on cardboard laid down on canvas measures 29 ½ by 25 5/8 inches. Executed circa 1910, it depicts a model who liked to drink a cup of hot chocolate, hence the nickname "Schokko." The painting originally had another bold portrait on the reverse. It has a somewhat ambitious estimate of $5,000,000 to $7,000,000. It sold for $8,296,000 breaking the previous world auction record of $3,309,500 for the artist.


"Nympheas" by Monet

Lot 16, "Nympheas," by Claude Monet, oil on canvas, 36 ¼ by 35 inches, 1908

The auction has a waterlily painting by Claude Monet (1840-1926), Lot 16, "Nympheas." A nice example of this famous series, the oil on canvas measures 36 ¼ by 35 inches and was executed in 1908. It has an estimate of $10,000,000 to $15,000,000. It sold for $10,424,000.

"Nature Morte: Pommes et Poires" by Cézanne

Lot 10, "Nature Morte: Pommes et Poires," by Paul Cézanne, oil on canvas, 15 1/8 by 18 ¼ inches, circa 1888-1890

Another "crowd-pleaser" is Lot 10, a nice still-life by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906). The oil on canvas was executed circa 1888-1890 and measures 15 1/8 by 18 ¼ inches. It has an estimate of $8,000,000 to $12,000,000. A little sketchy, its fruit, however, well demonstrate the artist's celebrated brushwork. It sold for $8,744,000.

"Une Moderne Olympia (Le Pacha)" by Cézanne

Lot 22, "Une Moderne Olympia (Le Pacha)," by Paul Cézanne, oil on canvas, 22 3/8 by 21 5/8 inches, circa 1870

Another Cézanne, Lot 22, "Une Moderne Olympia (Le Pacha)," is a more finished but much earlier work that is an homage to Edouard Manet's famous Olympia painting of 1865. Cézanne painted two versions of this. The other is in the Musée d'Orsay. The first owner of this was Auguste Pellerin. It has an estimate of $5,000,000 to $7,000,000. It failed to sell and was passed at $4,300,000.

"Zones d'Instabilité" by Tanguy

Lot 49, "Zones d'Instabilité," by Yves Tanguy, oil on canvas, 20 by 18 1/8 inches, 1943

Lot 49, "Zones d'Instabilité," is a strong oil on canvas by Yves Tanguy. It measures 20 by 18 1/8 inches and was executed in 1943. It has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It failed to sell and was passed at $300,000.

"Grand Bouquet de Fleurs" by Van Dongen

Lot 32, "Grand Bouquet de Fleurs," by Kees Van Dongen, oil on canvas, 77 by 51 1/4 inches, circa 1908-1910

Kees Van Dongen (1877-1969) is an artist noted for his extremely bold and highly saturated works. Lot 32, "Grand Bouquet de Fleurs," is a 77-by-51 1/4-inch oil on canvas that he executed circa 1908-1910. It has an estimate of $1,0A00,000 to $1,800,000. It sold for $1,128,000.

Other good lots include Lot 51, a beautiful ink and pencil drawing on paper by Salvador Dali (1904-1989), entitled "Figure aux Tiroirs." The 29 3/4-by-22-inch work is dated 1937 and has an estimate of $350,000 to $450,000. It sold for $458,400. Lot 21, "London, Richmond Terrace," is an impressive oil on canvas by Oskar Kokoschka that measures 35 by 51 1/8 inches. Executed in 1926, it has an estimate of $700,000 to $900,000. It sold for $960,000. Lot 14, "Paysage à Osny Près de L'Abreuvoir," by Camille Pissarro, is a good oil on canvas that measures 28 5/8 by 36 ¼ inches. It was executed in 1883 and has an estimate of $2,500,000 to $3,500,000. It sold for $2,248,000. A lovely painting by Constantin Brancusi, "Tete de Femme," Lot 24, sold to a European museum for $288,000, which was within its estimates.


See The City Review article on the Fall 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on Spring 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art Part 2 day auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2002 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2002 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg

See The City Review article on the Spring 2002 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2002 Impressionist Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2002 Impressionist Art Part Two day auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Nov. 5, 2001 auction of the Smooke Collection at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg

See The City Review article on the Nov. 5, 2001 auction of the Hoener Collection at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg

See The City Review article on Phillips May 7, 2001 Impressionist & Modern Art auction

See The City Review article on the November 9, 2001 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on Phillips Fall 2000 Impressionist & Modern Art auction


 

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