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
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.
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