Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more THE PERSONAL COLLECTION OF BARBARA LAMBRECHT, SOLD TO BENEFIT THE RUBENS PRIZE COLLECTION IN THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART IN SIEGENChristie’s is honoured to offer the following selection of works from the personal collection of the esteemed philanthropist and patron of the arts, Barbara Lambrecht. Assembled over the course of nearly four decades, Ms Lambrecht’s collection features works by a diverse range of artists, from early compositions by the great painters of Impressionism, to the refined techniques of the Pointillists, and the free, expressionist colours of the Fauves. In this way, the collection offers an intriguing insight into one of the most dynamic and exciting periods of the European artistic avant-garde. Ms Lambrecht’s collecting journey began in the 1970s, when an early interest in Impressionism encouraged her to purchase paintings by Eugène Boudin, Raoul Dufy and Berthe Morisot. From here, her treasured collection has grown and evolved to encompass works by some of the most influential artists of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee. This highly personal collection, shaped by Ms Lambrecht’s discerning vision and keen knowledge of art history, has filled the walls of the collector’s home for the past forty years. Considered together, the works reveal a series of intriguing connections to one another, their similarities and differences causing a dynamic dialogue to develop between each of the individual works in the collection. This is evident, for example, when Dufy’s portrayal of the northern coast of France is considered alongside Boudin’s painting of the same subject, or the contrasting painterly techniques of Monet’s loose, spontaneous compositions are observed beside Kees van Dongen’s highly saturated, impastoed areas of colour. One of the most striking features of the collection is the way in which the collection focuses on the pivotal periods in each artist’s career, often highlighting on a moment of transition as they begin to explore new, ground breaking techniques, subject matter or styles. Ms Lambrecht’s dedication to collecting has been paralleled by a prodigious journey in cultural philanthropy and patronage, as her passion for the arts has driven her to support a number of institutions in her native Siegen. Through her generous support, these bodies have become leaders in their respective fields, from the Philharmonic Orchestra Südwestfalen, to the city’s Apollo Theatre. Amongst her most remarkable and enduring charitable projects is her commitment to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Siegen, and her promotion of the Peter Paul Rubens Prize. Founded in 1955, the same year as the documenta in Kassel, this highly acclaimed international award is presented every five years to a contemporary artist living in Europe, to honour his or her lifetime achievements in art. Presented in remembrance of Peter Paul Rubens, who was born in Siegen, previous recipients include Giorgio Morandi, Francis Bacon, Antoni Tápies, Cy Twombly, Sigmar Polke, Lucian Freud, Maria Lassnig and Bridget Riley. To support the award, Ms Lambrecht founded the Rubens Prize Collection, acquiring comprehensive and exemplary groups of important paintings, sculptures and graphic pieces by each of the award’s former laureates, and then placing them on permanent loan to the Museum. Conceptually, the collection has been carefully curated so as to include works from each artist’s various creative phases, and continues to grow as it gathers examples from each new recipient of the prize. Creating an impressive survey of twentieth- and early twenty-first-century European art, from the quiet still-lifes of Morandi, and Riley’s iconic explorations of line and colour, to Bacon's emotionally charged figurative paintings and Maria Lassnig’s self-exploration of the human body, the Rubens Prize Collection offers visitors to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Siegen an in-depth look into the work of the acclaimed artists honoured by the city. With the sale of this outstanding group of impressionist and early modernist works, Ms Lambrecht plans to ensure the continued growth and evolution of the Rubens Prize Collection, and to secure its future for the enjoyment of subsequent generations in Siegen and throughout Europe.
Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)

Le balcon

Details
Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)
Le balcon
signed 'Van Dongen' (lower right)
oil on canvas
25 3/8 x 21 1/8 in. (64.6 x 53.6 cm.)
Painted circa 1910
Provenance
Anonymous sale, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 23-25 February 1960, lot 476.
Anonymous sale, Hôtel des Ventes d'Enghien, Enghien-les-Bains, 1983, lot 84.
Schröder und Leisewitz, Bremen.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1983.
Exhibited
Lausanne, Fondation de l'Hermitage, De Cézanne à Picasso, June - October 1985.
Turin, Palazzo Bricherasio, I Fauves e la critica, February - May 1999, no. 54, pp. 176 & 223 (illustrated pp. 177 & 223; dated ‘1910’); this exhibition later travelled to Lodève, Musée Fleury, May - September 1999.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

Jacques Chalom des Cordes will include this work in his forthcoming Van Dongen catalogue critique being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute.

Kees van Dongen’s Le balcon forms part of a small group of works inspired by the artist’s sojourn to Seville, where he found himself during a 1910 voyage that proved to be a revelatory experience. Towards the end of 1909 Van Dongen had signed a contract with Félix Fénéon of Galerie Bernheim-Jeune following his success at the Salon d’Automne of that year. This agreement guaranteed the artist a stable income of roughly 6,000 francs per annum, granting him a new level of financial security that allowed him to spend several months travelling around Spain and Morocco. The vibrant culture he experienced on this tour sparked Van Dongen’s imagination, inspiring him to produce a string of dynamic and engaging compositions which delved into Mediterranean and North-African life, whilst the colours and bright light infused his palette with a new vitality. The works he produced during and immediately after this trip formed the foundation of two important solo-exhibitions staged in 1911 at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune – Van Dongen HollandeParisEspagneMaroc, and Oeuvres nouvelles de Van Dongen.

Le balcon is one of a number of works in which Van Dongen captures the sophisticated and refined spectators of Seville’s famous corrida de toros displays. Rather than focusing on the drama unfolding within the bullring, the artist trained his eye on the elegant crowds that frequented the events, and in particular the dark eyed beauties who watched from the balconies overlooking the action. In the present composition, two women are shown side by side, the figure on the left elegantly poised behind the balcony railings as she gazes out towards the viewer, while the other turns her back on the ring to converse with the dashing young caballero standing behind her. The artist focuses on the local costumes of these youthful members of the audience, particularly the elaborately embroidered mantilla draped over the woman’s shoulders, whose complex patterns and rich colours are captured using thick, undulating brushstrokes. These forms offer a startling contrast to the delicate rendering of the woman’s face on the left hand side of the composition, which is recorded using an intricate interplay of pure colours and fine brushwork. In many ways, Le balcon may be seen to echo Édouard Manet’s painting of the same name, painted in 1868 and on view at the Musée de Luxembourg during this period. However, in highlighting the Spanish character of the scene, Van Dongen was most likely harking back to the earlier precedent of Francisco de Goya’s Majas al balcón (c. 1810), which had also proved a source of inspiration for Manet’s composition.

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