PROPERTY FROM THE FRANCEY AND DR. MARTIN L. GECHT COLLECTION
Francey and Martin Gecht started their collecting life together in the 1960's. Beginning with Japanese wood block prints they swiftly transferred their interests to the lithographs of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and gradually expanded the scope to include nineteenth and twentieth century American and European works on paper and prints. The collection was the subject of notable exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003-4.
An inspection of the collection housed high above Lake Shore Drive revealed the passion and intelligence of the collectors. By hanging prints, drawings and watercolors together the Gechts set up conversations between the various periods of individual artists' works, between artistic contemporaries and the artists who preceded or succeeded them. In their quest they worked closely with staff of the Art Institute, most specifically with the late Harold Joachim, Douglas Druick and Suzanne Folds McCullough. Martin joined the Committee on Prints and Drawings in 1975 and the Gechts were regular contributors to the collection. They were further guided by various dealers, most notably Alice Adam and Bud Holland. However, the dialogue set up in the rooms overlooking Lake Michiagan reflected the Gechts' love of their objects. Their own tastes and likes came through clearly.
Once the walls were full it became clear that the only surfaces left were the window sills and tables throughout the apartment. As a result, sculpture was added into the mix. The great Calder reclining nude arrived fairly early on but she was soon joined by other sculptures by Matisse, Picasso, Miró, Giacometti and others. Following a generous gift of a large number of prints and drawings to the Art Institute, it is a group of these sculptures that Mrs. Gecht has decided to consign to Christie's for our spring sales of Impressionist and Modern and Post War and Contemporary Art in early May. The Toulouse-Lautrec La Goulue will be offered in the Prints and Multiples sale on May 3rd, while the oldest piece in the collection, a second century figure of Isis will be offered in the Antiquities sale on June 8th.