On 23 June in London, Christie’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale will present the market with 52 highly covetable works by the trailblazers of late 19th and 20th century art, from Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Alfred Sisley and Auguste Rodin to Marc Chagall, Kees van Dongen, Franz Marc, Paul Signac, René Magritte and Joan Miró.
Comprising key works dating from critical points in the oeuvres of the respective artists, estimates range from £250,000 up to £9 million. Select highlights from the sale will go on view for the first time between 12 and 16 June during Christie’s free five-day public exhibition Christie’s Curates: Past Perfect/Future Present, a celebration of creativity which launches the summer season.
‘Christie’s established the highest total ever achieved in one week for the Impressionist & Modern category in the hugely successful May New York sales,’ says Jay Vincze, International Director and Head of the Impressionist & Modern Art Department, Christie’s London. ‘We are pleased to build on this success by offering today’s informed and intelligent collectors a diverse and dynamic group of important works, to meet the current market’s eclectic collecting tastes.’
Below, we present some selected highlights from the sale.
Claude Monet (1840-1926) Iris mauves, 1914-17. Oil on canvas 78.3/4 x 39.1/2 in. (200 x 100.3 cm.) Estimate: £6,000,000-9,000,000
Iris mauves by Claude Monet dates from the artist’s first concerted campaign of work on the most ambitious undertaking of his career: the Grandes decorations. An ensemble of 22 mural-sized canvases totalling more than 90 metres in length, Monet completed the group just months before he passed away, donating them to the French state (Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris). The Grandes decorations were the culmination of a complex series of around 250 canvases that constitute some of the most innovative and influential works of his entire oeuvre.
Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Bouquet près de la fenêtre, 1959-60. Oil on canvas. 47 1/4 x 58 5/8 in. (120 x 149 cm.) Estimate: £2,500,000-3,500,000. Chagall ® / © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015.
Painted from 1959 to 1960, Bouquet près de la fenêtre by Marc Chagall has been identified as one of the finest flower paintings of this period. This monumental work presents the themes that dominated Marc Chagall’s painting throughout his career: romance, memory and nostalgia — and reflects the peaceful Mediterranean idyll that was Chagall’s life at this time. The artist had first introduced floral still-lifes in his paintings in the mid-1920s, having returned to France from his native Russia in 1923. He developed a new feeling for nature, and was particularly enchanted by flowers as the embodiment of the French landscape.
Kees van Dongen (1877-1968), Anita en almée, 1908. Oil on canvas. 76 3/4 x 44 3/4 in. (194.9 x 113.7 cm.) Estimate: £4,000,000-7,000,000. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015
Anita en almée by Kees van Dongen, painted in 1908, is a highly charged, sensuous celebration of the Parisian demi-monde of Montmartre in the first decade of the 20th century, with echoes of French Orientalist painting. The artist’s subjects in the years before the First World War confront, provoke, titillate and lure the viewer into their space. No other modern painter in Paris at the time made his pictures as heatedly and blatantly sexual as Van Dongen, who executed his sensational subjects in a riot of violent colours.
Franz Marc (1880-1916) Gemsen, 1911.Tempera on paper laid down on board. 22 5/8 x 28 5/8 in. (57.5 x 72.5 cm.) Estimate: £1,800,000-2,500,000
Appearing at auction for the very first time and dating from 1911, the year when Franz truly articulated his artistic vision, Gemsen encapsulates the ideas and stylistic tendencies that were at the very core of the artist’s aesthetic endeavours. Marc sought to create an image of the world in harmony, as a holistic and abstract spiritual entity. This approach led to increasingly abstracted elements in his art, starting from 1911 when he founded Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) with Kandinsky. Not only are the geometric shapes of the mountains in the present work abstract, but crucially also the colours — the green chamois, blue mountains, purple clouds. Blue held a particularly strong meaning to Marc, with blue mountains often appearing in his work as symbols of his spiritual aspirations.
Paul Signac (1863-1935), Marseille, le port, 1934. Oil on canvas. 28 3/4 x 36 1/4 in. (73 x 92 cm.) Estimate: £2,000,000-3,000,000
With a kaleidoscopic array of vibrant colour, Marseille, le port, by Paul Signac is an exuberant painting that bursts with light and movement. Depicting one of Signac’s favourite subjects, a maritime scene, this painting captures the bustling port of Marseille. Signac depicted the harbours of France in the later phase of his career, a pursuit that enabled him to combine his two greatest passions: painting and sailing. Marseille, le port is an exultant culmination of Signac’s lifelong exploration into colour and composition.
For more features, interviews and videos, see our Christie’s Daily homepage