‘I began my collection in the early 1970s, and have lived with Impressionist masterpieces,’ explains Barbara Lambrecht, celebrated patron of the arts and philanthropist. ‘Works by female artists Berthe Morisot and Eva Gonzalès, as well as striking examples of early Impressionism by Monet and the bold colours of Fauvists such as Dufy and van Dongen, have brought me great joy.’
Works from Barbara Lambrecht’s personal collection will lead the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 28 February, which launches the 20th Century season of sales at Christie’s in London (28 February–9 March). All the works offered from the collection will be displayed at Christie’s on King Street in London from 23–28 February.
Highlights include two important oils by Berthe Morisot, who, in an art world dominated by men, defiantly pursued a career as an artist in the latter half of the 19th century. Morisot painted the world around her with constant innovation. She was a founding member of the Impressionist group, and exhibited with them in all but one of the group exhibitions between 1874 and 1886.
Exemplifying the artist’s nascent Impressionist style, Femme et enfant au balcon is composed with a combination of spontaneous, softly feathered brushwork and areas of fine, exquisite detail. In many ways a breakthrough work of the artist’s early career, the painting was held in such high regard by Morisot that she executed a small copy of it in watercolour, which now resides in the Art Institute of Chicago.
Femme en noir (1875, estimate: £600,000- 800,000), also known as Avant le théâtre, was most likely included in the Second Impressionist Exhibition of 1876, and is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated works of Morisot’s career.
Further highlights from the collection include Claude Monet’s Les Bords de la Seine au Petit-Gennevilliers (1874, estimate: £2,000,000-3,000,000), painted in the immediate aftermath of the ground-breaking first Impressionist exhibition in 1874.
Les deux anges by Kees van Dongen (1907, estimate: £400,000-600,000) exudes a raw sensuality, which dominated his art at this time. Shocking to contemporary audiences, the work’s eroticism brought the artist a certain degree of notoriety as a painter of lustful sirens. Pablo Picasso’s Lluis Alemany with a House in the Background (1899-1900, estimate: £300,000-500,000), dates from the beginning of his career, just ahead of his first trip to Paris.
‘Art widens my horizons, and my paintings always allowed me to enter new worlds,’ explains Lambrecht. ‘I am delighted to offer future collectors an opportunity to appreciate these works as much as I have over the years.’
With the sale of her carefully assembled personal collection, Barbara Lambrecht — who was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2015 — continues her longstanding philanthropic engagement with social and educational projects, classical music, theatre and the arts. All proceeds from the auction will contribute towards the future of the Rubens Prize Collection in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Siegen.
The Rubens Prize, founded in 1955, is awarded by the city of Siegen every five years to a painter who occupies an outstanding position in European art. Previously awarded to painters such as Francis Bacon (1967), Antoni Tàpies (1972), Cy Twombly (1987), Lucian Freud (1997), Sigmar Polke (2007) and Bridget Riley (2012), the prize commemorates Peter Paul Rubens, who was born in Siegen and expressed the idea of European unity through his work long before it became a political reality.
The Rubens Prize Collection consists of substantial groups of works by all 12 Rubens Prize-winners. Works by future laureates, such as Swiss artist Niele Toroni, who was recently announced as the 13th winner of the Rubens Prize, will be integrated into the collection in future.