New York – On 2 May, Christie’s New York will offer a fantastic line-up of works in the Impressionist & Modern Works on Paper and Day Sales. With pieces ranging in style, medium, and estimate, the sales present an exciting opportunity for collectors of all levels. Many works of notable provenance will be featured with the sale of private collections, including The Collection of Alan Dershowitz and Carolyn Cohen, The Estate of Paul Mellon, Property From The Ascher Family Collection, and Property From The Collection Of Evelyn D. Haas, as well as works from prominent institutions, such as The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, sold to benefit the museum’s programs and Acquisitions Fund. With over 370 lots, the sales are expected to realize in excess of $25 million.
WORKS ON PAPER
Among the highlights from The Collection of Alan Dershowitz and Carolyn Cohen is Pablo Picasso’s Femme se regardant dans un miroir tenu par un enfant, painted in 1905-1906 (pictured right, estimate: $300,000-400,000). The idyllic scene has classical roots and is most clearly linked to the subject of Venus Anadyomene, a goddess who is often depicted as wringing out her hair as she emerges from the water. Executed early in the artist’s career, before having fully embraced the Cubist style, this piece reflects Picasso’s experimentation during the period, as well as his influence by the master NeoClassicist, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, who had painted the same subject roughly 50 years prior, also with the addition of the putto holding up a mirror.
Wassily Kandinsky’s Vibrierend is a completely abstract construction of colorful geometric forms, which dates from the height of Kandinsky’s involvement with the Bauhaus (pictured left, estimate: $500,000-700,000). A quintessential work by the artist, the dynamic composition was methodically assembled, with the goal of eliciting emotion in the viewer, as powerful as can be derived from listening to music.
An exceptional group of four early drawings by Fernand Léger is being sold by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, through the generosity of Albert Robin, to benefit the museum’s programs and Acquisitions Fund. Femme au vase is among these works, drawn in 1927 at a period that marked the artist’s shift from fine classical forms to increasing abstraction (pictured right, estimate: $250,000-350,000). The composition of this drawing juxtaposes the sinuous curves of the model with art deco geometric forms, a motif Léger revisited throughout the mid-1920s.
Also highlighting the sale of Works on Paper are several textile designs by Henry Moore from the Ascher Family collection. In the early 1940s, Zika Ascher became intrigued with the potential connections between fine art, fashion, and industry, concluding that textiles were a democratic means of sharing contemporary art with a broad audience. He proposed a collaboration to Henry Moore, in which Moore would execute drawings, which the two would later translate into textiles. Included in the sixteen lots from the Ascher Family is Textile Design Sketchbook 1, which contains over twenty different motifs (detail pictured left, estimate: $200,000-300,000). Textile Design Sketchbook 1, also known as No. 1 Design Notebook is the only sketchbook of the four that were completed to remain completely intact with twenty-four pages.
Property from the Estate of Paul Mellon includes Pierre Bonnard’s La Plage (Arcachon), an oil on canvas that employs the artist’s characteristic colorist techniques to depict a beach landscape in the South of France (pictured below, estimate: $200,000-300,000). The artist’s intention was to communicate an experience, rather than solely information, through his artwork. The use of such intense fields of color facilitates the affecting nature of the work, provoking reactions and emotions in the viewer.
Barbara Hepworth’s Stringed Figure (Curlew), an impressive sculpture of brass and string constructed at her St. Ives studio in 1956, will be offered in the Day Sale (pictured page 1, estimate: $250,000-350,000). Three brass sculptures entitled Stringed Figure (Curlew) exist, varying in size; the present example is the “maquette” for the largest version. The second title of the sculpture, Curlew, as well as its delicacy, arches, and lightness, allude to Hepworth’s fascination with birds.
L’âge d’airain, petit modèle by Auguste Rodin will also be featured in the Day Sale (pictured right, estimate: $150,000-250,000). The full-sized bronze sculpture was conceived in 1877, upon Rodin’s return to Brussels, following a tour of Italy, was based on the features of Auguste Neydt, a young Belgian soldier, with whom Rodin worked for eighteen months. The sculpture was so life-like that it eventually became a subject of controversy for the artist, as critics accused him of making the cast directly from the model. An investigation was begun and officials eventually found in Rodin’s favor, restoring his reputation at the Salon.
Paul Signac’s Samois, Etude no. 6 was painted in 1899, after he had adopted a technique called Divisionism, a less restrictive approach to Neo-Impressionism (pictured left, estimate: $200,000-300,000). A classic example of a Signac work of art, Samois, Etude no. 6 was executed at the height of his artistic career. A self-taught artist, Signac thrived with his painterly approach to painting, despite having been mentored by Georges Seurat, an artist known for his rigid and scientific methodology.
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