Assembled over a lifetime by a collector with homes in London, Saint Tropez and St Barths, An Adventurous Spirit is a carefully curated collection of art, furniture, ceramics, silver and 20th-century design.
The collection will be offered across two London sales — The Collection Sale on 13 December and the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on 27 February 2019 — with major works being shown together in an exhibition at King Street during Christie’s Classic Week in early December.
‘These were homes of wonderful contrasts, filled with joy, and with refined objects which caught the eye and the imagination,’ says Jussi Pylkkänen, Christie’s Global President. ‘Every object and every painting in the collection has been chosen with considerable care and with a grand design in mind.’
‘It's very much a collection about life lived well, and the fun of collecting,’ says Charles Cator, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s International. ‘It’s very eclectic — there are Impressionist and Modern pictures, 20th-century decorative arts, wonderful French and English 18th-century furniture, ceramics and silver.’
Underlining that sense of fun is ‘a wonderful group of Lalanne sheep’, by the French artist François-Xavier Lalanne, which will be offered on 13 December. Lalanne intended his sheep to be functional as well as sculptural. ‘It is, after all, easier to have a sculpture in an apartment than to have a real sheep,’ he once explained. ‘And, it’s even better if you can sit on it.’ Six sheep are being offered, ranging in estimate from £50,000-80,000 for a single stone and bronze lamb, to £100,000-150,000 for a pair.
Cator also singles out a pair of 18th-century coquilliers attributed to André-Charles Boulle, below, which furnished the collector’s London drawing room. ‘When he decided to redo the room, he went for the best,’ Cator explains. ‘Their distinctive form added grandeur and scale.’ The commodes carry an estimate of £400,000-600,000.
Impressionist and Modern Art specialist Anne Wallington, singles out Sir Alfred Munnings’ painting The Whip, Trevelloe Wood, Cornwall as the star lot of the December collection sale. Executed in 1913, the work, below, which shows a rider in red hunting attire mounted on a white steed, is estimated at £1,000,000-1,500,000.
‘What strikes you is the various layers of woodland he creates with the amazing array of different colours, and the thick layering of pigment,’ she explains.
Wallington also selects an 1891 pastel work by the French avant-garde artist Louis Anquetin, depicting a young, red-headed woman carrying a parasol; a Fauvist painting of a Saint Tropez marketplace from 1905 by Albert Marquet (above); and a sensuous 1941 ink drawing by Henri Matisse of a seated woman (below).
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‘Each work is a wonderful example of the vivacious nature of the artist, and they really give you a sense of time and place,’ says the specialist.
Five more major works from the collection, by Paul Signac, Gustave Caillebotte, Félix Vallotton, Edouard Vuillard and Giovanni Boldini, will be highlights of the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on 27 February 2019 at Christie’s in London.
‘The Signac [above] is among the finest of the artist’s great Opus paintings, and certainly among the greatest of Signac’s works in private hands,’ says Pylkkänen. ‘The Caillebotte and the Vallotton are also museum-quality pictures which will challenge the world records for the artists.’