By Carter B. Horsley
The afternoon auction of Impressionist
and Modern Art at Sotheby's May 8, 2008 has a few gems, most notably
a sensational work by Marino Marini that is probably the best
painting at either Sotheby's or Christie's in the Impressionist
and Modern Art auctions this season, and a fine early drawing
by Pablo Picasso and a superb and vibrant Raoul Dufy.
Lot 3676 is an oil and pastel
on paper laid down on canvas by Marino Marini (1901-1980). Entitled
"Cavallo Cavaliere," it measures 34 1/2 by 25 inches
and was executed in 1957. From across a large room, it looks like
the greatest Cubist painting ever done by Juan Gris. Up close,
it has the bold coloration of the greatest Matisses and Derains
and its composition has the dynamics of the Futurists. It pulsates
with energy. It has a modest estimate of $180,000 to $250,000.
This magnificent work is Marini's masterpiece. It sold for
$325,000 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned
in this article.
Lot 310 is a wonderful charcoal
on paper by Pablo Picasso (1881-1975) of a group of artists standing
in the countryside. It was executed circa 1900-1901 and measures
9 3/4 by 12 1/2 inches. It was once in the collection of Mr. and
Mrs. Irving Mitchell Felt of New York. It has a modest estimate
of $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $361,000.
Lot 343 is a good watercolor
on paper of a boy with a donkey by Emil Nolde (1867-1956). It
measures 13 1/2 by 17 7/8 inches and was executed in 1921. It
has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. It sold for $73,000.
Raoul Dufy (1877-1955) is an
uneven artist whose oeuvre is dominated by facile illustrative
sketches, usually of the rich at play. Early in his career, however,
he dabbled successfully and very well in the Fauvist playpen and
some of his later works are surprisingly strong in composition
and palette. Lot 381, "Le Bal Chez L'Amiral," is a very
fine oil on canvas that he executed in 1923. It measures 23 7/8
by 28 3/4 inches and has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.
It sold for $265,000. Apart from its abundant use of dark
black and asymmetrical composition, it is dazzling for its upper
right corner where, according to the catalogue entry "bright
green lights refract through the glasss patio doors and spill
into the room, constrasting with the deep purple drapery."
Lot 355 is a nicely decorative
collage by Max Ernst (1891-1976). A gouache, playing cards and
paper collage on card, it measures 11 1/2 by 21 1/4 inches and
was executed in 1959. It has an estimate of $70,000 to $80,000.
It sold for $79,000.
Lot 332 is a beautiful painting
of Elisabeth van Rysselberghe on the beach by Théo van
Rysselberghe (1862-1926). An oil on board, it measures 27 5/8
by 12 5/8 inches. It has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It
sold for $34,000.
Lot 358 is a delightful encaustic
and collage on panel by Victor Brauner (1903-1966). Entitled "La
Clef Blanche," it measures 22 1/4 by 30 inches and was executed
in 1958. It has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold
Lot 359 is another good work
by Victor Brauner. It is entitled "Le Lien Secret" and
is an oil on canvas. It measures 39 1/4 by 32 inches and was painted
in 1964. It has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold
Lot 420 is a strong and very pleasant nude
by Jean Metzinger (1883-1956) entitled "Nu couché
sur les coussins violets." An oil on canvas, it measures
21 1/4 by 28 3/4 inches and was painted in 1946. It has an estimate
of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $145,000.
Lot 385 is a very good landscape by André
Lhote (1885-1962) that is entitled "Gordes." An oil
on canvas, it measurees 18 by 21 3/4 inches. It has an estimate
of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $91,000.
Lot 419 is a strong landscape with a muted
palette by André Lhote. An oil on canvas, it measures 15
by 18 1/8 inches and was executed circa 1959. It has an estimate
of $25,000 to $35,000. It sold for $34,000.
Lot 396 is an untitled work by Salvador Dali
that is gouache on a lithographic reproduction of a painting by
Vermeer. It measures 24 5/8 by 19 5/8 inches and was executed
in 1974. It has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold
Lot 39 is a fine abstraction
by Ben Nicholson (1894-1982). Entitled "Still Life (Feb 14-49)
Siena," it is an oil on board that measures 16 1/2 by 16
inches and it was executed in 1949. It has an estimate of $350,000
to $450,000. It sold for $541,000.