by Carter B. Horsley
This morning auction of Impressionist
and Modern Art at Sotheby's May 8, 2008 is highlighted by an excellent
still life by Edouard Vuillard, an "alluring" nude by
Théo van Rysselberghe, a lovely portrait by Emile Bernard,
a great drawing by Honoré Daumier and good works by Robert
Delaunay, Camille Pissarro, Jean
Metzinger and André Lhote.
One of the loveliest works
at either Sotheby's or Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art
auctions this season is Lot 204, "Jonquilles et bocal,"
by Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940). An oil on canvas, it measures
12 1/2 by 15 1/2 inches and was painted circa 1889-1890. It was
once in the collection of Donald S. Stralem of New York. It has
a conservative estimate of $300,000 to $400,000. It sold for $629,000
including the buyer's premium as do allresults mentioned in this
One of the most beautiful paintings
in the auction is Lot 154, "Portrait d'Emile Schuffenecker,"
by Emile Bernard (1868-1941). An oil on canvas, it measures 21
1/8 by 25 5/8 inches and was painted in 1888.
The catalogue provides the
"In the years just preceding
the execution of the present work, 1886-1887, Bernard was at the
forefront of a decorative anti-naturalistic style called Cloisonnism,
characterized by flattened areas of pure color, circumscribed
by strong black outlines, with its visual suggestion of the enamelled
metalwork known as cloisonné. Vincent Van Gogh, a close
friend by the mid-1880s, admired his Cloisoneist portraits and
Van Gogh and Bernard started a lively correspondence. ...Through
Claude-Emile Schuffenecker's introduction, Emile Bernard also
met Gauguin, who became a profound influence and led him to the
small idyllic town of Pont-Aven, where Gaugin welcomed many artists
who came to see him there between 1886 and 1894....In 1889, Schuffenecker
was primarly responsible for arranging the seminal Café
Volpini exhibition to which he, Gauguin, Bernard and others contributed."
The lot has a modest estimate
of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $49,000.
Lot 155 is a large and fine
oil painting on canvas by Bernard entitled "Le Repos à
Pont-Aven (La Gardeuse d'Oise)." It measures 33 1/2 by 43
1/4 inches. This work is, according to the catalogue, "a
brilliantly refined example of Bernard's mastery of the Symbolist
interpretation and of the distinguishing characteristics of Bernard's
work in contrast to Gauguin's." It has an estimate of $400,000
to $600,000. It sold for $301,000.
Lot 158 is a large, very bright
and impressive oil on linen by Robert Delaunay (1885-1941). Entitled
"Portugaise au Potiron," it is closely related to a
more sharply defined work of the same subject entitled "La
grande portugaise," a work in wax, at the Museo Thyseen-Bornemisza
in Madrid. This work measures 51 1/4 by 38 1/4 inches and was
executed in the same year, 1916. The lot has a modest estimate
of $300,000 to $400,000. It sold for $657,000.
One of the major highlights
of this auction is a beautiful painting of a nude on reclining
on a couch by Théo van Rysselberghe (1862-1926). Entitled
"Modèle au Repos, Maud," it is an oil on canvas
that measures 36 5/8 by 57 1/2 inches. It was painted in 1914.
It has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. It sold for $1,105,000.
The catalogue entry maintains
that this work "incorporates a stylistic realism that is
influenced by photography and eschewed the false modesty that
was prevalent in depictng nudes in the nineteenth century,"
adding that "This picture also shows the development away
from the Pontillist technique tha van Rysselberghe perfected in
the late 1890s."
Lot 118 is a very lovely charcoal on paper
drawing by Honoré Daumier (1808-1879). Entitled "Mére
et Enfant," it measures 12 1/8 by 9 1/4 inches. It is property
from the estate of Catherine Gamble Curran. It has an estimate
of $60,000 to $80,000. It sold for $103,000.
Another very fine work from the same collection
is Lot 121, "Au Repos Aprés Le Bain," a pastel
and charcoal on paper laid down on canvas by Edgar Degas (1834-1917).
It measures 15 1/8 by 13 inches and was executed circa 1895. It
has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It sold for $993,000.
Lot 144 is a lovely landscape
by Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) that is entitled "La Maison
de Piette à Montfoucault." An oil on canvas, it measures
18 by 21 7/8 inches and was painted in 1874. It has an estimate
of $700,000 to $900,000. It sold for $824,000.