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Impressionist and Modern Art

Christie's

May 2, 2006, 7 PM

Sale 1655

"L'Arlésienne, Madame Ginoux" by Van Gogh

Lot 19, "L'Arlésienne, Madame Ginoux," by Vincent van Gogh, oil on canvas, 25 1/2 by 21 1/4 inches, 1890

By Carter B. Horsley

Following on the heels of its $35 million sale of a good Venetian scene by Turner earlier this year in its Old Masters auction, Christie's starts the major spring art auction season with a painting by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) in its May 2, 2006 evening auction of Impressionist and Modern Art that has an estimate of $40,000,000 to $50,000,000.

The work, Lot 19, shown above, is entitled "L'Arlésienne, Madame Ginoux," and is an oil on canvas that measures by 25 1/2 by 21 1/4 inches and was painted in 1890. It has an extensive exhibition history and literature. It most recently was shown in the great exhibition, "Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South," at the Art Institute of Chicago and the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2001-2, and before that in an exhibition entitled "The Dr. and Mrs. Harry Bakwin Collection: An Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture for the Benefit of the Association for Mentally Ill Children in Manhattan, Inc.," in 1967 at Wildenstein & Co. Dr. Bakwin was a pediatriccian in New York and his wife was an heir to the meatpacking fortunes of the Armour and Swift families.

Madame Ginoux was the proprietress of the Café de la Gare in Arles, France. The two books on the table in the picture are French translations of "Christmas Stories" by Charles Dickens and "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

The painting is one of several versions that van Gogh did modeled on a portrait done by Paul Gauguin. It is strong but not overwhelming and has a lighter palette than the others.

It sold to an "anonymous" buyer for $40,336,000 including the buyer's premium, as do all the results mentioned in this article, becoming the fourth highest price realized for van Gogh at auction. The sale was quite successful with 86 percent of the 50 offered lots selling for $180,280,000, the highest total for an Impressionist and Modern Art auction at Christie's since May, 1990 when a van Gogh portrait of Dr. Gauchet sold for $82.5 million. The pre-sale estimates ranged from $144 million to $197 million and Christopher Burge, the auctioneer, termed the auction a "triumph." He said that 51 percent of the buyers were American, 35 percent were Europeans and 5 percent were Asian. Mr. Burge noted that 53 percent of the lots sold for above the high estimate and he described the market as being "strong and in no way out of control."

Apart from the van Gogh, however, the sale did not abound in major works.

"Vase de fleurs et gourde"  by Gauguin

Lot 35, "Vase de fleurs et gourde," by Paul Gauguin, oil on canvas, 22 3/4 by 28 1/4 inches, after 1890

Lot 36 is a nice floral still life by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) that measures 22 3/4 by 28 1/4 inches . An oil on canvas, it was executed after 1890. It has an estimate of $7,000,000 to $10,000,000. It sold for only $4,496,000 and after the sale Christopher Burge remarked that the painting was lovely and had a quite low reserve. The painting had been confiscated by the Nazis from O. Federer in Czechoslovakia and restituted to him circa 1946 before passing to Justin K. Thannhauser in New York and then Mrs. H. Harris Jonas and her descendents. The catalogue notes that Gauguin painted about 20 still-lifes during his Tahitian period. It quotes Charles Stuckey that "given the discontinuities between its constituent parts, the painting might be understood as a statement of Gauguin's priority of relationships of color and form over logical subject matter."

"Bouquet de lilas" by Pissarro

Lot 3, "Bouquet de lilas," by Camille Pissarro, oil on canvas, 27 by 33 inches, 1876

Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) is best known for his landscapes and studies of farmers, but Lot 3, is a lush floral still-life that Renoir or Monet would be proud of. An oil on canvas that measures 27 by 33 inches, it was painted in 1876. It has a modest estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000. It failed to sell.

"Madame Juliette Pascal," by Toulouse-Lautrec

Lot 12, "Madame Juliette Pascal," by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, oil on canvas, 21 7/8 by 20 inches, 1887

In comparison with the van Gogh portrait, Lot 12, "Madame Juliette Pascal," by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901), is a more appealing and similar-sized portrait. An oil on canvas that measures 21 7/8 by 20 inches, it was painted in 1887. Madame Pascal was the wife of one of the artist's maternal cousins. The work was once in the collection of Florence J. Gould of New York. It has a very modest estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. It sold for only $1,360,000, the bargain of the auction, perhaps because its surface was quite "dry."

Another good work by Toulouse-Lautrec is Lot 15, "Au cirque: 'Clown,'" an oil on canvas that measures 45 1/2 by 16 1/2 inches. It was executed in 1888 and has a very modest estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $800,000.

"Le repos" by Picasso

Lot 43, "Le repos," by Pablo Picasso, oil on canvas, 63 3/4 by 51 1/4 inches, 1932

The lot with the second highest estimate is "Le repos," Lot 43, a large oil on canvas by Pablo Picasso. It has an estimate of $15,000,000 to $20,000,000. It sold for $34,736,000 to Larry Gagosian, the dealer, who was bidding on behalf of a client. Bright, big and bold, it is a strong composition although clumsily painted in the white areas. It is a portrait of the artist's wife, Olga Khokhlova, and was consigned by the artist's grandson.

"Portrait de Germaine" by Picasso

Lot 29, "Portrait de Germaine," by Pablo Picasso, oil on canvas, 19 3/4 by 16 3/8 inches, 1902

Another Picasso work is Lot 29, "Portrait de Germaine," an oil on canvas from 1902 that measures 19 3/4 by 16 3/8 inches. It has an estimate of $12,000,000 to $18,000,000. It sold for $18,608,000. Germaine, the catalogue entry observes, "was the young coquette for whose affections Picasso's friend Carles Casagemas had killed himself," adding that "Picasso also had a liaison with her....the presence of Germaine ran like a throbbing vein in Picasso's life from the years 1900 to 1903."

"Les arbres sur la place" by Vlaminck

Lot 34, "Les arbres sur la place," by Maurice de Vlaminck, oil on canvas, 23 3/4 by 28 3/4 inches, 1906

Maurice Vlaminck (1876-1958) was an important member of the Fauves whose later works fell into a formulaic rut filled mostly with dark, swirling green and black landscapes. Lot 34, "Les arbres sur la place," is a very vibrant and fine Fauve landscape by Vlaminck that is an oil on canvas that measures 23 3/4 by 28 3/4 inches and was executed in 1906. It has a modest estimate of $2,000,000 to $2,500,000. It sold for $2,592,000.

"La femme au pinceau" by Braque

Lot 46, "La femme au pinceau," by Georges Braque, oil on canvas, 36 by 28 3/4 inches, 1939

Lot 46, "La femme au pinceau," is a very appealing oil on canvas by Georges Braque (1882-1963). It measures 36 by 28 3/4 inches and was executed in 1939. It has a conservative estimate of $900,000 to $1,200,000. It sold for $3,376,000. The catalogue entry for this lot notes that "Braque displayed his mastery at orchestrating a virtual pictorial symphony, a canvas brimming with themes, in which the figure and still-life elements dovetail like polyphonic layers of melody," adding that "each object is distinct and significant in itself, as in a Chardin still-life, and all contribute to a richly satisfying whole, a modern counterpart to a Vermeer interior."

"La tasse" by Braque

Lot 42, "La tasse," by Georges Braque, oil on canvas, 9 1/2 by 13 inches, 1911

Lot 42, "La tasse," is a smaller and exquisite, Cubist still-life by Braque that was painted in 1911. An oil on canvas that measures 9 1/2 by 13 inches, it has an estimate of $1,800,000 to $2,500,000. It sold for $2,872,000. It was consigned by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago to benefit its acquisitions fund and was once in the collection of Katherine and Morton G. Schamberg of Chicago.

"Pfeile (Arrows)" by Kandinsky

Lot 27, "Pfeile (Arrows)," by Wassily Kandinsky, oil on canvas, 34 5/8 by 30 3/8 inches, 1927

Lot 27 is a strong but slightly static abstraction by Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). Entitled "Pfeile (Arrows)," it is an oil on canvas that measures 34 5/8 by 30 3/8 inches. It was executed in 1927 and has a modest estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. It sold for $3,880,000.

"Nymphéas, temps gris" by Monet

Lot 11, "Nymphéas, temps gris," by Claude Monet, oil on canvas, 39 3/8 by 28 3/4 inches, 1907

Lot 11, "Nymphéas, temps gris," is a large, vertical waterlily oil on canvas by Claude Monet (1840-1926). It measures 39 3/8 by 28 3/4 inches and was painted in 1907. It was formerly in the collections of Stavros Niarchos and Aristotle Onassis. It has an estimate of $10,000,000 to $15,000,000. It sold for $11,216,000.

 

See The City Review article on the Fall 2005 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Impresssionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's November 2, 2005

See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern evening sale at Sotheby's in the Spring, 2005

See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction in the Fall, November, 2005

See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Sotheby's November 5, 2004

See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's May 4, 2004

See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Christie's May 5, 2004

See The City Review article on the May 5, 2004 evening auction at Sotheby's of Property of the Greentree Foundation from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney

See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's May 6, 2004

See The City Review article on the Spring 2004 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Sotheby's

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

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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