Art/Auctions logo

Impressionist and Twentieth Century

Works on Paper

Christie's

2 PM, November 9, 1999

"Controlled mischief..."

"Arlequin" by Joan Miró

"Arlequin," by Joan Miró, 1935, Lot 439

By Carter B. Horsley

Works on paper are generally considerably less expensive than those on canvas and afford many collectors the opportunity to obtain good examples of famous artists and this afternoon sale of Impressionist and Twentieth Century Works on Paper at Christie's at 2PM on November 9, 1999 has numerous interesting lots.

There are, for example, two excellent but not flamboyant early drawings by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), Lots 401 and 408. The former is a strong pencil and chalk work of a woman under an umbrella with a child and was executed in 1882 and the latter is a half-length watercolor and pencil work of a seated woman in a white cap and was executed in 1883. They both have estimates of $200,000 to $300,000, although the former is a more interesting work. They each sold for $332,500, including the buyer's premium as do all prices in this article.

A splendid gouache, pastel, brush and India ink on paper, 30 by 22 1/4 inches, by Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Lot 420, is one of his finest creations. Painted in 1949, it has a marvelously deep blue sea and sky with a strong sunset and a woman in a bright red gown aloft. It is estimated at $350,000 to $450,000. It sold for $596,500.

There are five small works being offered by René Magritte (1898-1967) of which the best is Lot 450, which depicts a tablecloth-covered table atop a huge green apple. It is estimated at $120,000 to $160,000. It sold for $167,500.

Lot 467 is a small but charming drawing of a man by Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) that is from the collection of Frank and Domna Stanton and estimated at only $30,000 to $40,000. It sold for $74,000.

A very nice pen, India ink and gold leaf still life, lot 479, by Andy Warhol is very conservatively estimated at $18,000 to $22,000, and a very strong Sam Francis (1923-1994), Lot 495, a boldly patterned abstract, is estimated at only $25,000 to $30,000. The Warhol sold for $36,800 and the Francis for $25,300.

There are several drawings by Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) and two gouaches are fully realized, strong compositions, Lot 407 and 419. The former, which was executed in 1885, has an estimate of $180,000 to $250,000 and sold for $156,500, and the latter, which was executed in 1883, has an estimate of $140,000 to $180,000 and sold for the same price. The latter, however, is the far better work as its brushwork and composition are much livelier.

A marine scene at St. Tropez, Lot 416, is a particularly attractive watercolor and gouache over black chalk on paper by Paul Signac (1863-1935) and it has an estimate of only $18,000 to $22,000. It sold for $27,600.

One of its highlights is Lot 439, "Arlequin," by Joan Miró (1893-1983), shown above, a gouache, watercolor, brush and India ink over pencil on paper, 14 5/8 by 11 7/8 inches, painted in 1935. This is a delightful and very strong work. The catalogue notes that it "shares with other Miró gouaches of his period, a cloudy, splatter-brushed background, against which the flatly painted and brightly-colored shapes stand out in vibrant relief," adding that "the background is an explosion of color; the picture plane appears to exist in a state of sudden distintegration." "Nevertheless," the catalogue continued, "these forces are held in check by the carefully wrought balance of the design....we understand this behavior as a controlled mischief, and not without a certain pathos." It is conservatively estimated at $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $508,500.

"At The Savoy" by Romare Bearden

"At The Savoy," by Romare Bearden, Lot 493

One of the best works in this auction is Lot 493, "At the Savoy," shown above, a 1974 work by Romare Bearden (1912-1988). This acrylic, lacquer and paper collage on board, 48 by 36 inches, is estimated at only $35,000 to $45,000 and is illustrated on the catalogue's endpapers. It sold for $85,000.

More than three-quarters of the lots offered sold. Another highlight was Lot 426, a rather shaky watercolor by Paul Klee (1879-1940) that sold for $431,500, way over its $250,000 high estimate

See The City Review article on the Nov. 8, 1999 Impressionist and Post-Impressionist auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the morning sale of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art Nov. 9, 1999 at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Christie's Nov. 9, 1999 evening auction of Twentieth Century Art

See The City Review article on the Christie's Nov. 10, 1999 day auction of Twentieth Century Art

See The City Review analysis of Part 1 of the Sotheby's auction May 11, 1999 of Impressionist and Modern Art

See The City Review analysis of Part 2 of the Sotheby's May 12, 1999 auction of Impressionist and Modern Art

See The City Review article on the Christie's May 12, 1999 auction of Impressionist Art and 19th Century Art

See The City Review of the Christie's May 13, 1999 auction of 20th Century and Modern Art

Recap of the Spring 1998 Impressionist and Modern Auctions

Use the Search Box below to quickly look up articles at this site on specific artists, architects, authors, buildings and other subjects

Home Page of The City Review