New York – On 18 April Christie’s will hold an intriguing auction entitled The Arrogant Eye: Prints from The Collection of The Late Larry Saphire as part of the Prints & Multiples auction. The collection includes over 150 works on paper by modern masters such as Picasso, Braque, Miro, Matisse, Dalí, Chagall, Léger, Ernst, Giacometti, Matta, and Masson. Larry Saphire is best known for being the author of the catalogue raisonnés of the prints of Fernand Leger and Andre Masson, compiled whilst running the Blue Moon Gallery in New York. Larry was a Renaissance man and the quintessential collector-dealer. His extensive knowledge of the print medium meant he could spot a diamond in the rough and acquire art that he loved. His wife Tricia Saphire observed that “[Larry’s] cordiality, his avuncular camaraderie, his intellect, mantled his acquisitive passion. If it was good, or rare he wanted to own it. The nominal properties that endow art with value, its signature, its provenance, the arcana that fascinate galleries…were a sideline to his appraisal.”
Prints from the Saphire collection will be on public view in Christie’s Rockefeller galleries from 13 - 17 April. In addition, works on paper from his collection will be sold in the Impressionist & Modern Works on Paper sale on 14 May and in the Picasso Ceramics online auction.
Richard Lloyd, International Head of Prints & Multiples: “It is highly likely that any enthusiast of twentieth century prints and drawings active over the last few decades will have encountered Larry Saphire - either in person or by benefiting from the expertise contained in his monographs on Léger and Masson. Larry’s knowledge and passion made him a formidable operator in the saleroom and a considerable resource of information. The depth and breadth of his interests was a rare thing indeed. His passing may mark the end of an era.”
Highlights from the collection include Tête de jeune fille, an etching from 1924 by Salvador Dalí that is thought to be the only surviving example ($30-50,000), a plate from Joan Miró’s Série noire et rouge, an etching in red from 1938 ($20-30,000) and a hand colored work by Roberto Matta Par la bait-naître ($2-3,000). Two highlights from the collection that will be offered in May are Fernand Léger’s Femme à la feuille ($18-25,000) and André Masson’s Le Philosophe ($15-20,000).
Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had auction sales in the first half of 2019 that totalled £2.2 billion / $2.8 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.
Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.