We present a superb selection of masterpieces by the likes of Giacometti, Tanguy and Derain. All are offered in our Impressionist and Modern Art sales in New York in November
In this drawing Tanguy’s signature forms, combining the corporeal and the mechanical, are rendered in coloured wax crayon. The work can be traced back to the summers of 1938 and 1939, which Tanguy spent with fellow surrealists André Breton, Roberto Matta and Estebàn Francés at the Château de Chemillieu.
This watercolour sketch of two boats displays Derain’s characteristic bright colours and boldness. The year 1905 was important for the artist — he spent the summer with Henri Matisse in the village of Collioure, near Perpignan, in the south of France.
The artists painted each other during their stay, and Derain’s portrait of Matisse is now in the collection of the Tate in London.
At the end of that year Matisse and Derain participated in the Salon d’Automne exhibition in Paris, displaying paintings from their summer together. This landmark exhibition marked the birth of Fauvism — the critic Louis Vauxcelles used the disparaging term ‘les fauves’ (wild beasts) to describe Derain, Matisse and their fellow travellers Maurice de Vlaminck, Kees van Dongen, Albert Marquet and Charles Camoin.
Valadon grew up in poverty in Montmartre but taught herself to draw at an early age. Aged 15, she joined a circus, though a fall from the trapeze meant that her career as an acrobat was short-lived. She then began modelling for artists, including Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec and Berthe Morisot. Valadon also became friends with Degas, who bought some of her drawings and introduced her to collectors. In 1896 she married a wealthy stockbroker, Paul Mousis, which enabled her to become a full-time artist.
Signac is best known for developing the Pointillist style of painting with his friend Georges Seurat. He befriended Vincent van Gogh in Paris in 1886 and three years later visited him at Arles in Provence, where both artists drew and painted Les Alyscamps, a Roman necropolis. A watercolour sketch of the ruins by Signac from 1905 is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Giacometti’s sculptures of attenuated human figures are instantly recognisable. In this drawing we see his same radical shift in perspective brought to bear upon the natural world.
Shells are a recurring subject in Ernst’s work. In the early 1920s, as a young Surrealist, he created many collages depicting them, which gave him his first taste of commercial success.
Vlaminck is most famous as one of the Fauvist painters but he also made ceramics. They were exhibited for the first time in March 1907 in the gallery of dealer Ambroise Vollard. Vlaminck worked with ceramicist André Metthey, a friend of Vollard’s, and together they became successful collaborators.
Ceramics were of fundamental importance to Picasso, from his first experiments in 1947 until his death almost 30 years later. He explored the medium abundantly, delighted by the play between line and form, two and three dimensions, colour and ground. Created in the Madoura studio, Picasso’s ceramics were designed for editions of varying size or as unique artworks, such as the piece presented here.