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Impressionist & Modern Art

Sotheby's

7 P.M., May 3, 2011

Sale 8741

 Simon Shaw with Picasso

Simon Shaw of Sotheby's discussing Lot 21, "Femmes Lisant (Deux Personnages)," by Pablo Picasso, oil on canvas, 36 1/4 by 28 3/4 inches, 1934

By Carter B. Horsley

The May 3, 2011 evening auction of Impressionist and Modern Art at Sotheby's is highlighted by several nice Picassos, a very fine Vuillard, a fine Gauguin sculpture, a great Renoir, several  good Impressionist landscapes, a strong Jawlensky and a very good Van Dongen.

The "top" lot and the cover illustration is Lot 21, "Femmes Lisant (Deux Personnages)," by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), an oil on canvas that measures 36 1/4 by 28 2/4 inches and was painted on March 27, 1934. It has an estimate of $25,000,000 to $35,000,000.  It sold for $21,362,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

The sale total for the 44 of 59 offered lots that sold was $170,478,000, which Simon Shaw of Sotheby's said was "comfortably" within the auction's pre-sale estimate of $158,900,000 to $229,700,000.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"Picasso's striking portrayal of two women reading belongs to the extraordinary goup of canvases depicting Marie-Thérèse Walter, his beloved mistress during the early 1930s. Distinguished by their rich coloration, harmonic curves and sweeping arabesques, these exceptional pictures are renowned as Picasso's most euphoric, sexually charged, fantastical and inspired compositions, and they rank among the most instantly recognizable works of 20th Century art.  In fact, of all the manifestations of Picasso's exceptionally prolific career it is during the "Marie-Thérèse period' when his creative fore was at its most powerful."

The catalogue reproduces a painting from the same period that sold at Sotheby's in London February 8, 2011 for $40.7 million.

An article by Carol Vogel in the May 1, 2011 edition of The New York Times illustrated the painting and remarked that "it used to be that dealers followed the success of the auction houses, adjusting their prices so that they were  consistent with the large sums fetched in the salesrooms and then organizing exhibitions of artists after they became winners at auctions."  "Now." the article continued, "things seem to be working the other  way around.  Knowing that the Gagosian Gallery's big spring show this year is 'Picasso and Marie Thérèse: 'L'Amour Fou,' an exhibition that explores the artist and his his mistrress Marie-Thérèse Walter in one of its Chelsea spaces, one savvy seller decided to jump on the Picasso bandwagon and sell a painting he has owned for 30 years.  Executed in 1934, it depicts two women who John Richardson, Picasso's biographer, said are Walter and her sister, Geneviève, reading.  The canvas is one of several paintings inspired by the artist's time in Boisgeloup, a town outside of Paris.  It is colorful, sensually distorted and instantly recognizable as a Picasso.  The Sotheby's catalog says the painting comes form a 'distinguihsed private collection,' without naming names.  Picasso experts say they believe it belongs to Morton Janklow, the Manhattan literary agent."

Picasso baby

Lot 22, "Mother and child with flowers," by Pablo Picasso, oil on board, 20 7/8 by 26 3/4 inches, 1901

Lot 22 is a very nice 1901 painting of a mother and child with flowers, 20 7/8 by 26 3/4 inches, by Pablo Picasso.  It sold for $2,532,500 at the November 8, 1999 auction at Christie's in New York.  At this auction, it has an estimate of $6,000,000 to $8,000,000.  It sold for $5,962,500.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"Picasso's enhanting depiction of a mother and child, rendered in alternating tones of deep and smoky blues, captures the dark beauty of the Parisian demi-monde at the turn of the century....Even in his paintings of traditonal themes like still-lifes and mothers and children..., Picasso favored a palette and a technique that capture the incandesence and dazzle of this exciting chapter in his life.  Painting upon his arrival in Paris in early 1901, this picture is one of the paintings believed to have hung at the exhibition at Ambrose Vollard's gallery that launched his career in Paris."

Picasso flower

Lot 29, "Pivoine," by Pablo Picasso, oil on board, 20 1/2 13 3/4 inches, 1901

Lot 29 is a very strong painting of a flower, entitled "Pivoine," by Picasso that was also executed in 1901.  An oil on board, it measures 20 1/2 by 13 3/4 inches and could easily be mistaken for a Van Gogh.  It has a modest estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.  It sold for $3,666,500.

The catalogue notes that this picture was "owned for over half a century by Gaby Depeyre Lespinasse, a youngwomen with whom Picasso had a clandestine affair in 1915-16 while his fiance Eva was dying of tuberculosis."

Two girls by lake by Renoir

Lot 34, "Baigneuses," by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, oil on canvas, 18 1/8 by 15 inches, circa 1892

Lot 34 is a ravishing and very lovely scene of two young girls watching bathers by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919).  An oil on canvas, it measures 18 1/8 by 15 inches andwas painted circa 1892.  It sold for $3,412,500 at the May 13, 1998 auction at Sotheby's in New York.  At this auction, it has a very modest estimate of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 as it is very hard to imagine a more perfect Renoir.  It sold for $3,442,500.

Pisarro landscape

Lot 36, "L'Hermitage en Eté, Pontoise," by Camille Pissarro, oil on canvas, 22 1/4 by 35 7/8 inches, 1877

Of the several Impressionist landscapes in the auction, Lot 36, "L'Hermitage en été," by Camille Pissarro (1831-1903), is the best.  An oil on canvas, it measures 22 1/4 by 35 7/8 inches and was painted in 1877.  It was formerly owned by Gustave Caillebotte and Mrs. John Barry Ryan and exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Musée d'Orsay in Paris.  It has a modest estimate of $4,000,000 to $6,000,000 given its provenance, exhibition history, size and composition.  It sold for $4,282,500.

Monet landscape

Lot 32, "La Seine à Argenteuil," by Claude Monet, oil on canvas, 23 5/8 by 28 5/8 inches, 1877

A somewhat similar landscape painted the same year as Lot 36 is Lot 32, "La Seine à Argenteuil," by Claude Monet (1840-1926).  An oil on canvas, it measures 23 5/8 by 28 5/8 inches.  Its cloudy sky is bolder but its foreground is less interesting.  It has an ambitious estimate of $6,000,000 to $8,000,000.  It sold for $6,242,500.

Caillebotte landscape

Lot 33, "La Seine à La Pointe d'Epinay," by Gustave Caillebotte, oil on canvas, 25 5/8 by 31 7/8 inches, circa 1888

Lot 33 is a very strong and bold river scene by Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894), entitled "La Seine à La Point d"Epinay."  An oil on canvas, it measures 25 5/8 by 31 7/8 inches and was painted circa 1888.  The catalogue notes that it "ranks among the artist's most  spetacular landscapes" and that "the co-existence of the modern and the pastoral was a favorite theme of Impressionist landscape painting, and Caillebotte's depiction here is one of the most skillful."  It has a very modest estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000.  It was passed at $700,000!

Dancers by Degas

Lot 13, "Danseuses au Foyer,"by Edgar Degas, pastel on joined sheets of paper laid down on board, 29 1/4 by 23 1/4 inches, circa1901

Lot 13 is a nice pastel on joined sheets of paper laid down on board, entitled 'Danseuses au Foyer," by Edgar Degas (1834-1917).  It measures 29 1/4 by 23 1/4 inches and was painted circa 1901.  It has an estimate of $4,500,000 to $6,500,000.  It was passed at $4,000,000.

Signac seascape

Lot 37, "La Dogana, Venise," by Paul Signac, oil on canvas, 28 3/4 by 36 1/4 inches, 1923

Lot 37 is a very good Venetian scene by Paul Signac (1863-1935).  An oil on canvas that measures 28 3/4 by 36 1/4 inches, it was executed in 1923 and is entitled "La Dogana, Venise."  It has an estimate of $4,000,000 to $6,000,000.  It sold for $4,282,500.
Vuillard group

Lot 54, "La Partie de Plaisir," by Edouard Vuillard, gouache and distemper on board, 29 by 30 1/4 inches, circa 1898-9

Lot 54 is a superb painting by Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940) entitled "La Partie de Plaisir."  A gouache and distemper on board, it measures 29 by 30 1/4 inches and was executed circa 1898-9.  It has an estimate of  $2,500,000 to $3,500,000.  It sold for $3,666,500.

Van Dongen head

Lot 12, "Woman with a Green Fan," by Alexej von Jawlensky, oil on board, 25 5/8 by 21 1/4 inches, 1912

Lot 12 is a very strong painting of a "Woman with a Green Fan" by Alexej von Jawlensky (1864-1941).  An oil on board, it measures 25 5/8 by 21 1/4 inches and was painted in 1912.  It has an ambitious estimate of  $8,000,000 to $12,000,000.  It sold for $11,282,500.

Van Dongin crowd


Lot 39, "Le Moulin de la Gallette,"by Kees van Dongen, oil on canvas, 20 1/4 by 29 3/4 inches, circa 1906


Lot 39 is a good painting by Kees van Dongen (1877-1968) entitled "Le Moulin de la Galette."  An oil on canvas, it measures 20 1/4 by 29 3/4 inches and was executed circa 1906.  The work is somewhat similar to the mask paintings of James Ensor.  It has a modest estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000.  It sold for $1,202,500.


Miro painting

Lot 47, "Peinture (per a Emili Fernandez Miró), by Joan Miró, oil on canvas, 15 3/4 by 94 1/2 inches, 1964

Lot 47 is a very lyrical and colorful abstraction by Joan Miró.  The oil on canvas measures 15 3/4 by 94 1/2 inches and was painted in 1964.  It has an estimate of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000. It sold for $5,122,500.

The catalogue entry notes that after the artist visited New York in 1947 he "became acquainted with the art of the Abstract Expressionists and was fascinated by their new techniques and their aesthetic agenda."  "As the artist later recalled," it continued, "the experience of seeing canvases of the Abstract Expressionist was like 'a blow to the solar plexus.'  Several young painters, including Jackso Pollock, were crediting Miró as their inspiration for their wild, paint-splattered canvases.  In the years that followed he created works that responded to the enthusiasm of this younger generation of American painters and the spontaniety of their art.  It was also under their influence that he started painting on a larger scale."

Miro sculpture

Lot 25, "Coq," by Joan Miró, bronze, conceived in 1970 and cast during the artist's lifetime in an edition of nine plus two artist's proofs, 21 inches high.  In the background are three Picassos and one Schiele in auction gallery.

Lot 25 is a delightful bronze sculpture of a cock by Joan Miró that was conceived in 1970 and cast in a edition of nine plus two artist's proofs.  It is 21 inches high.  It has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000.  It sold for $662,500.

Delvaux ladies

Lot 40, "Les Cariatides,"byPaul Delvaux, oil on masonite, 48 by 72 inches, 1946

Lot 40 is a stunning and quite beautiful painting by Paul Delvaux (1897-1994) entitled "Les Cariatides."  An oil on masonite, it measures 48 by 72 inches and was painted in 1946.  It has been widely published and exhibited.  

The catalogue provides the following excellent commentary:

"Delvaux's spectacular Les Cariatides is among the most celebrated and widely-known compositions of his oeuvre.  Since its completion in 1946, this monumental picture has come to be regarded as one of th emost alluring examples of late Surrealist art.  Although Delvaux's paintings are renowned for their hallucionatory scenarios and dream-like imagery, the artist claimed not to be a proponent of the writings of Sigmund Freud and did not invest his compositions with the blatantly psychoanalytic references that were favored by Dali, Miro and his fellow Belgian, René Magritte.  Delvaux's approach to painting was more subtle in its representation of the uncanny: without being overtly grotesque or offensive with his imagery, he would interrupt the peacefulness and banality of a given scene with instances of the bizarre.   Many of these pictures present a conventional architectural setting, like a railway station, loggia, or a street corner. that is populated by expressionless and oddly lifeless women, usually depicted in the nude.  The passivity of these women recalls the gentle features of a Botticelli or the flawlessness of a Bougereau and adds a certain sense of timelessness to the composition."

The lot has an estimate of $3,000,000 to $5,000,000.  It sold for $9,042,500.


Dali puzzle

Lot 43, "Madone Microphysique," by Salvador Dali, oil on canvas, 9 5/8 by 7 3/8 inches, 1954

Salvador Dali (1904-1989) was unquestionably one of the greatest virtuosi of painting as well a great Surrealist.  Lot 43 is one of his masterpieces despite its dimunitive dimensions of 9 5/8 by 7 3/8 inches.  The 1954 composition is entitled "Madone Microphysique" and the catalogue says it is his interpretation of a Madonna by Raphael.  The work was once in the collection of the Marquis de Cuevas of New York.  It has a modest estimate of $500,000 to $700,000.  It sold for $962,500.

Dali Helena

Lot 2, "Princess Arthchild Gourielli-Helena Rubenstein," by Salvador Dali, oil on canvas, 35 by 25 1/4 inches, 1943

Helena Rubeinstein was a famous entrepreneur of cosmetic products for women and a major art collector who commissioned portraits from many important artists.  Lot 2 is a portrait of her by Salvador Dali that was executed in 1943.  An oil on canvas, it measures 35 by 25 1/4 inches.  It has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000.  It sold for $2,658,500.

Giacomettis

Lot 15, "Portrait de Maurice Lefebvre-Foinet," by Alberto Giacometti, oil on canvas, 32 1/8 by 23 1/4 inches, circa 1964-5, left; Lot 14, "Femme Debout," by Alberto Giacometti, bronze, 28 inches high, numbered 4/8, cast in 1957, right

Lot 14 is a good bronze statue of a standing woman by Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966).  It is 28 inches high and is numbered 4/8 and was cast in 1957.  It has an estimate of  $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.  It sold for $7,362,500.

Lot 15 is a good oil on canvas "Portrait of Maurice Lefebvre-Foinet" by Giacometti.  It measures 32 1/8 by 23 1/4 inches and was painted circa 1964-5.  It has an estimate of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000.  It failed to sell and was passed at $3,700,000.


Gauguin statue

Lot 8, "Jeune Tahitienne," by Paul Gauguin, painted tamanu wood, pasted paper, red coral and shell, circa 1893, 9 5/8 inches high

Lot 8 is a lovely sculpture of a young Tahitian woman in painted tamanu wood with pasted paper, red coral and shell by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903).  It was executed circa 1893 and is 9 5/8 inches high.  The catalogue includes 7 full page reproductions, from different angles, of the sculpture.  The catalogue notes that 8 sculptures survive from Gauguin's first "period" in Tahiti, adding that this work is the only known fully-worked, three-dimensional  bust portrait, adding that tanamu wood is known for its variant shades of gold-brown and its luminous sheen.  It has an estimate of $10,000,000 to $15,000,000.  It sold for $11,282,500, considerably more than the artist's previous auction record for a  sculpture of $1,485,000.



See The City Review article on the Fall 2010 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Christie's


See The City Review article on the Fall 2010 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Sotheby's


See The City Review article on the Fall 2010 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Christie's


See The City Review article on the Spring 2010 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2009 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2009 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2009 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2009 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2008 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2008 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2008 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2008 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2007 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2007 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2007 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Fall 2006 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2006 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2006 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's

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

See The City Review article on the Impressionist & 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

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See The City Review article on Phillips Fall 2000 Impressionist & Modern Art auction


 



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