By Carter B. Horsley
This morning sale at Christie's
of Impressionist & Modern Art works on paper November 9, 2006
is highlighted by some very attractive female portraits, an excellent
Edouard Vuillard, an important study by Gustave Caillebotte, and
several very pleasant sketches by Lyonel Feininger.
Lot 118 is a very strong portrait
of Jane Avril, the Parisian singer immortalized by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Entitled "Dans la loge," it is a charcoal and pastel
on paper that measures 12 5/8 by 9 7/8 inches and was executed
in 1901 by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). In 1901, the critic Gustave
Coquiot wrote the preface to Picasso's successful exhibition at
Ambrose Vollard's gallery and commissioned from him an album of
portrait drawings he intended to publish featuring famous female
entertainers. A year later, Picasso started on the project choosing
as his subjects Jane Thylda, a Spanish dancer known as Teresina,
Rose Demag, Anna Tibault, Jeanne Bloch, andthe most important
of all, the still glamorous and much-loved dancer Jane Abril...Two
drawings of Avril by Picasso have survived and this is one. "Strongly
characterized and vigorously rendered, the only hint of Picasso's
melancholy Blue Period stylization may be discerned in his use
of blue pastel in Jane Avril's hat," the catalogue entry
noted. The entry also quotes John Richardson that the only of
the women Picasso actually liked was Avril and his portraits reveal
that picasso was derermined to comeup with a new image for the
fact that Toulouse-Lautrec's posters had made into an incon. He
succeeeded. He found Jane Avril far more sympathetic than the
other vedettes he drew, Picasso said. For one thing she had started
life as an equestriene in the circus. This endeared her to him.
She not only adored Toulouse-Lautrec but understood the finer
points of his work and enjoyed discussing him with Picasso."
This lot has an estimate of
$500,000 to $700,000. It sold for $1,528,000 including the
buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.
The sale was quite successful
with 80 percent of the 117 offered lots selling for $13,769,000.
Lot 104 is a very lively and strong drawing
of "Mademoiselle Lender" by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901).
Sanguine over pencil on paper, it measures 6 3/8 by 10 5/8 inches
and was drawn in 1893. It was formerly in the collections of Paul
Mellon and Ray Stark. Toulouse-Lautrec was infatuated with Marcelle
Lender, a dancer, but the catalogue entry notes that his interest
was not reciprocated. The lot has a modest estimate of $40,000
to $60,000. It sold for $156,000.
Lot 153 is a fine work by Edouard Vuillard
(1868-1940). Entitled "Comédiens dans les sous-bous
- II," it is a peinture à la colle on paper laid down
on canvas that measures 27 1/2 by 47 1/8 inches. The work is a
study for a decorative panel the artist planned to install at
the Comédie des Champs-Elysées in Paris, but the
finalized version was not realized. Executed in 1912, it has a
modest estimate of $140,000 to $180,000. It failed to sell.
The auction has several charmings small works
by Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956). Lot 170, "Merry Xmas!"
is a good example. A watercolor, gold paint, pen and India ink
on paper, it measures 4 3/4 by 7 7/8. Executed in 1955, it has
a modest estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. It sold for $15,000.
Lot 115 is a very nice still life by Paul Gauguin
(1848-1903) that was executed circa 1899. A gouache and watercolor
over monotype on Japan paper, it measures 9 by 11 3/4 inches.
The catalogue entry for this lot notes that this work "represents
the only known still-lie among the artist's monotypes." It
has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 113, "Homme et femme sous un parapluie,"
by Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894) is a pencil on paper study
for one of the artist's most famous works. The lot was consigned
by the Collection of Elyn Zimmerman and the late Kirk Varnedoe.
It measures 18 1/2 by 12 1/8 inches and was drawn in 1877. It
has a conservative estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It sold
Lot 154 is a bright and colorful abstraction
by Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). A watercolor, pen and India
ink on paper mounted at the edges on board, it measures 9 7/8
by 14 1/4 inches. Executed in 1927, it has a modest estimate of
$100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $262,400.
Lot 150 is a wonderful gouache and watercolor
by Fernand Léger that is a study for a set design for the
ballet Les patiners that was based on Ricciotto Canudo's poem
Skating-rink à Tabarin: Ballet aux patins that had
music by Arthur Honegger. The work measures 14 1/2 by 17 3/4 inches
and was executed in 1921. It is full of energy and epitomizes
the spirit of Art Deco. It has an conservative estimate of $220,000
to $280,000. It sold for $284,800.
A equally joyous and fine companion to the
Léger is Lot 161, "Museales Stilleben," a gouache
on paper by Paul Klee (1879-1940). It measures 11 1/2 by 16 1/4
inches and was drawn in 1940. It has an estimate of $300,000 to
$400,000. It sold for $856,000.
Lot 204 is a very fine drawing by Henry Moore
(1898-1986) entitled "Family Group." A ballpoint pen,
pencil, white wax crayon, charcoal and brush and ink wash on paper,
it measures 10 by 11 7/8 inches. It was executed in 1981 and has
a conservative estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for