Saturday, September 22, 2018

A Passion for Collecting: Modern Works from the Pérez Simón Collection

Di Donna Galleries
September 13 – October 12, 2018
Monday – Friday, 10AM to 6PM
Saturday, 12PM to 6PM September 15 and 29

Edvard Munch, Sommernacht im Studentenhain (Summer Night in Studenterlunden), 1899. Pérez Simón Collection. © 2018 The Munch Museum / The Munch-Ellingsen Group / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Di Donna Galleries announces a rare glimpse into the renowned private art collection of Juan Antonio Pérez Simón with the exhibition A Passion for Collecting: Modern Works from the Pérez Simón Collection, to be held from September 13 to October 12, 2018. This exhibition presents highlights from the collection representing major episodes in the history of modernism, with paintings by Georges Braque, Paul Cézanne, Salvador Dalí, Paul Delvaux, Fernand Léger, René Magritte, Joan Miró, Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, and Mark Rothko.

A Passion for Collecting: Modern Works from the Pérez Simón Collection will feature a curated selection of approximately eighteen works that travels to Di Donna Galleries from Mexico, where Mr. Pérez Simón is one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs. There, over the span of more than four decades, Pérez Simón has assembled one of the largest and most comprehensive private art collections in the world, encompassing Old Master paintings, Dutch vanitas, Pre-Raphaelite paintings, Latin American art, and European modernism, to mention only a few areas within his vast scope of interest. Portions of the collection have previously been shown in various cities in Europe, Asia and America, including Madrid, Paris, Rome, London, Beijing, Shanghai, Quebec, Dallas and San Diego.

A Passion for Collecting: Modern Works from the Pérez Simón Collection at Di Donna Galleries will offer the first opportunity to experience the collection in New York. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue featuring an essay on the significance of these works within the context of an art-historical narrative, with full cataloguing and illustrations for each work.

Pérez-Simon’s collection is unified through a prevailing interest in timeless human experiences encompassing love, death, physicality, spiritual ecstasy, and an appreciation of the sublime potential of nature. His early passion for art was stimulated by reproductions of Barbizon School paintings, with woodland scenes that reminded him of his youth in the Asturia region of northwest Spain. His admiration for the Impressionist and Modern artists who followed lies in the innovative ways they individually approached light, landscape, and color, in effect drawing out the sensuous aspects of nature and daily life in abstracted form. Later works in the exhibition from the categories of Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, and Color Field painting are similarly characterized by lush execution that amplifies poignant subjects concerning the human condition.

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As the earliest work in the exhibition and a reference to mythic bathing scenes from classical antiquity, Cézanne’s Scène légendaire (c. 1878), establishes a foundation for considering artistic interpretations of timeless themes.

The Edenlike setting seen in that composition assumes a very different tone in Munch’s painting Sommernacht im studentenhain (1902), in which embracing couples are arranged around a dramatically landscaped park. Though the subject literally depicts human intimacy, the anonymity of the figures and the large void confronting the viewer at the center of the composition communicate a sense of alienation.
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By contrast, Picasso’s portrait of his girlfriend Françoise Gilot sitting in an armchair (Françoise dans un fauteuil, 1949) is arranged on an emphatically frontal plane, in primary colors and with a centralized geometric structure—a bold representation that nevertheless captures the sitter’s likeness with remarkable sensitivity.

A group of paintings by Magritte in the exhibition reveals the artist’s skill as a colorist throughout a range of scenes that challenge experiential knowledge, drawing into question the certainties of life in the physical world.

In an untitled red and white painting on paper by Rothko (1959), color and ambiguous, floating forms transport the viewer further from concrete associations, to convey transcendence of earthly concerns.

Together, these works reveal a uniquely humanistic approach to modernism that illuminates art-historical dialogues across centuries and styles. Di Donna Galleries invites visitors to reexamine the development of modernism in the context of this extraordinary glimpse into one of the world’s most significant private collections.

 Salvador Dalí, La ascensión de Cristo (Piedad), 1958. Oil on canvas. Pérez Simón Collection Photo: Studio Sébert Photographes. © 2018 Salvador Dalí, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image result   Frida Kahlo, “Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María or Sun and Moon” (1942)    

Dalí’s Aliyah: A Moment in Jewish History

The Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, Dallas 
September 9, 2018 –January 13, 2019

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In 1966, the publisher Samuel Shore of New York commissioned Salvador Dalíto produce a series of works by 1968, when their completion would celebrate the 20th anniversaryof the founding of the State of Israel. Inspired by the historic challenges and post-World War II renewal of the Jewish people, Dalí created a series of 25 mixed-media paintings on paper that loosely trace major moments in Jewish history—both the tragic and the joyous—culminating in the creation of Israel in 1948.

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From the paintings, Shorewood Publishers produced a limited edition of 250 sets of 25 lithographs, with each set accompanied by a letter of introduction from David Ben-Gurion (1886–1973), the founding Prime Minister of Israel. The title, Aliyah, comes from the Hebrew word “to rise or ascend,” and is commonly used to describe migration to Israel, a process that many Jews see as stepping up to their homeland.The paintings were shown in 1968 at the Huntington Hartford Gallery of Modern Art in New York, timed with Israel’s anniversary celebrations, while the lithographic sets were offered for sale to those who wished to commemorate the anniversary through art.

Salvador Dalí Figurative Print - Aliyah, Convenant: Eternal Circumcision

Salvador Dalí
Aliyah, Convenant: Eternal Circumcision

Although the current locations of the original paintings are not known, in 2017 the Meadows Museum acquired a rare, complete set of the 25 lithographs thanks to a gift from Linda P. and William A. Custard and The Meadows Foundation, in tribute to the Honorable Janet Pollman Kafka, Honorary Consul of Spain, for her twenty years of service to the country. Both Linda P. Custard and Janet Kafka serve on the Museum’s Advisory Council, the former in the role of chair. Aliyah will be presented during Israel’s 70th anniversary year.

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In 1962, Dallas businessman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows donated his private collection of Spanish paintings, as well as funds to start a museum, to Southern Methodist University. The museum opened to the public in 1965, marking the first step in fulfilling Meadows’s vision to create “a small Prado for Texas.” Today, the Meadows is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. The collection spans from the 10th to the 21st centuries and includes medieval objects, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures, and major paintings by Golden Age and modern masters.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on 12 November at Sotheby's

The Beautiful and Damned: Radical Art of the Great War

This November, as the world pauses to remember the events of the First World War on the centenary of the Armistice of 11 November 1918 that drew it to its close, Sotheby’s will bring together a group of works that illustrates the tremendous and varied impact of the War on the artistic production of those whose lives it transformed.

Incorporated into the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on 12 November, the offering will assemble works that capture the period from immediately prior to the outbreak of the war through to its aftermath, together telling the artistic history of that momentous period. Highlighting this group are important works by Marsden Hartley, Ludwig Meidner and Franz Marc.

The works will be presented under the moniker ‘The Beautiful and Damned,’ in reference to the 1922 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald – the title of which alone captures the vicissitudes of the time.

An abstract painting in blue, yellow, red and white with geometric forms
Marsden Hartley, Pre-War Pageant. Estimate in the region of $30 million.
A true masterpiece of Modern art and the finest example of the artist’s renowned Berlin Pictures remaining in private hands, Marsden Hartley’s triumphant Pre-War Pageant represents one of the first examples of an American artist working in a purely abstract idiom. Radically melding diverse influences including Cubism, German Expressionism, Native American Art and Mysticism, the groundbreaking work captures the tenor of Berlin and Hartley’s emotional response to the city that he loved.

Ludwig Meidner, Apokalyptische Landschaft (Apocalyptic Landscape) (recto). Estimate $12–18 million.
Ludwig Meidner’s dual-sided painting Apokalyptische Landschaft (Apocalyptic Landscape), estimated to sell for $12–18 million, was executed in 1912 near the brink of the Great War. The arresting and cataclysmic urban scene reflects the social, political, emotional and artistic upheaval in Germany at the time. In stark contrast, the verso depicts a delightful and assured portrait, Junger Mann mit Strohhut, featuring an unidentified young man reading in a smart blue blazer and jaunty straw hat, enveloped in the joy of life afforded during the pre-war Edwardian era.

Ludwig Meidner, Junger Mann mit Strohhut (verso). Estimate $12–18 million.
With its spectacularly rhythmic composition, comprised of dazzling, overlapping angular areas of color, Kühe explores the central subject of Franz Marc’s oeuvre – the animal world. Executed in 1912, at a crucial moment in his career, immediately following the formation of Der Blaue Reiter – the artistic movement that Marc co-founded with Wassily Kandinsky in 1911 – the semi-abstracted treatment of the figures, coupled with the richly contrasting colors of bold blue and vermillion that reject the naturalistic use of color, epitomizes the profound contributions of Marc’s oeuvre to the emerging modernist aesthetic at the turn of the twentieth century.

The Beautiful and Damned works will be incorporated into the Impressionist & Modern Art sale on 12 November.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 15 November 2018 at Christie’s

Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction will present work by some of the great artists of the 20th Century alongside those currently at the forefront of their artistic practice. The season will be led by Francis Bacon’s Figure in Movement (1972, estimate: £15,000,000-20,000,000), a seminal work which creates a vivid sense of the transition from life to death, and Gerhard Richter’s Schädel (Skull) (1983, estimate on request), unveiled for the first time in 30 years.

Alongside these are masterpieces by American Contemporary artists Jeff Koons and Mark Grotjahn, as well as the finest examples of European Post-War Abstraction with works by Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Yves Klein, Jean Dubuffet and Pierre Soulages, and German artists such as Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen and Sigmar Polke.

Three works from the personal collection of Paul Maenz and 12 works by Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud (see separate post here) will be offered, the largest and most diverse selection of works ever offered at auction by the artists. The Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction will be held on 4 October 2018 and is followed by the Post-War and Contemporary Art Day Auction on 5 October 2018. All works will be exhibited at King Street from 28 September 2018.

American Contemporary Art


Jeff Koons, Cracked Egg (Blue) (1994-2006, estimate: £10,000,000-15,000,000). © Christie’s Images Limited 2018.

With its monumental scale, vibrant colour, elegant contours and dual mirrored surface, Cracked Egg (Blue) (19942006, estimate: £10,000,000-15,000,000), is an icon of Jeff Koons’s sculptural practice. A feat of technical virtuosity, engineered to precision over a twelve-year period, it is one of the central works in Koons’s landmark Celebration series, taking its place alongside masterpieces such as Balloon Dog and Tulips.

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The current auction record for any living artist was set by Jeff Koons’s Balloon Dog (Orange), 1994-2000, which sold for $58,405,000 at  at Christie’s New York on November 12, 2013.

Mark Grotjahn’s Face Paintings combine expressive abstraction and kaleidoscopic hues, with strong connections to the mask-like faces rendered by Picasso and Matisse. Within Untitled (Yellow and Green Low Fall Face 41.80) (2011, estimate: £6,000,000-8,000,000) a palette of whites, greens, yellows, blues and blacks conjures an animated surface of movement and colour. Bright light appears to explode from the centre of intertwined lines that subtly intimate the features of a face.

Works from the Collection of Paul Maenz 

Christie’s will offer three works from the personal collection of Paul Maenz: Albert Oehlen’s Stier mit Loch (Bull with Hole) (1986, estimate: £800,000-1,200,000), Anselm Kiefer’s Midgard (1983-85, estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000)

Keith Haring, Untitled (1984, estimate: £3,000,000-5,000,000). © Christie’s Images Limited 2018.

and Keith Haring’s Untitled (1984, estimate: £3,000,000-5,000,000).

One of the most influential gallerists of his generation, Maenz had a pivotal impact on the international art world during the 1970s and 1980s, introducing new waves of Avant-garde artists to both European and American audiences. Working closely with artists, curators and critics, Maenz gave voice to some of the most pioneering movements of the time: most notably Conceptualism, Arte Povera, Italian Transavanguardia and Neo-Expressionism. The works presented from his collection offer a snapshot of this world during the mid-1980s, capturing the spirit of political subversion, painterly radicalism and restless creative optimism that captivated Maenz during this period.

European Abstraction

‘Beyond the Monochrome’ brings into focus the seminal achievements of Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni and Yves Klein. United by their far-reaching innovations in relation to the picture plane, the artistic process, materiality, spirituality and transcendence, Fontana, Manzoni and Klein together forged a new era. Concetto spaziale, Attese (1959, estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000) is an early example of Fontana’s tagli or ‘slashes’, which ruptured the canvas as part of his Spatialist mission to introduce an infinite fourth dimension into the work of art. Made in the same year, Untitled Blue Monochrome (IKB 276) (1959, estimate: £4,000,000-6,000,000) exemplifies Klein’s ‘International Klein Blue’ monochromes, through which art became a portal to the unknown. Manzoni’s Achrome (1957-58, estimate: £3,000,000-5,000,000) takes the monochrome to absolution, creating a colourless surface of pure, limitless potential.

Held in the same collection since the 1980s, and featured in the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden’s major Jean Dubuffet retrospective in 1993, Madame au Jardin (Lady in the Garden) (1956, estimate: £2,500,000-3,500,000) is a romantic large-scale work from the artist’s important series of Assemblages. Never before seen in public, Peinture 162 x 114 cm, 29 août 1958 (1958, estimate: £1,800,000-2,200,000) is a dramatic large-scale oil painting by Pierre Soulages. It has been held in the same private collection for the last 60 years, and dates from a defining decade in the artist’s career.

German Art

The diversity of German contemporary art is represented by a group of 13 works by Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen and Sigmar Polke. Georg Baselitz’s inverted portrait Fingermalerei - Haubentaucher (Finger Painting - Great Crested Grebe) (1972, estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000) is one of the earliest works within his series of Fingermalerei (‘Finger-Paintings’) which encompass birds, trees and self-portraits, some of his most significant motifs.

This is presented alongside Baselitz’s 11 P.D. Füße (11 P.D. Feet) (1960-63, estimate: £6,000,000-10,000,000), a seminal suite of early works depicting wounded feet.

A third work by the artist, Locke (Tress) (1990, estimate: £500,000-700,000), is a totemic example of his sculptural portraits. Anselm Kiefer’s Die Ungeborenen (The Unborn) (1978, estimate: £700,000-1,000,000) is one of the earliest examples where he explores the theme of a netherworld of unborn people, ideas and creative possibility. In contrast, the sophisticated psychedelia of Sigmar Polke’s Mexiko (1977-79, estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000), depicts saguaro cacti in saturated hues of green and purple against a white ground; at the foot of the foremost cactus is a Jeep, revealed only by its purple shadows while two people stand to the centre.

Dreiteiliges Genähtes (Three-Piece Sewn) (1988, estimate: £2,500,000-3,500,000) is a monumental abstraction by Polke, which towers three metres in height, comprised of four pieces of translucent fabric sewn together.

Martin Kippenberger’s Ohne Titel aus der Serie Krieg Böse (Untitled from the Series War Wicked) (1991-92, estimate: £800,000-1,200,000) is from a seminal series that formed an ongoing conceptual riposte to the high seriousness of Neo-Expressionists.

Painted on a dramatic scale, Albert Oehlen’s Untitled (1989, estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000) is a frenzy of techniques that marks the birth of his abstract period while, Bigote (Moustache) (2003, estimate: £500,000700,000) is a vast, shimmering and playful work from his series of Grey Paintings.

Additional Highlights

Stretching over three metres in height, Untitled (2010, estimate: £1,500,0002,000,000) is a monumental example of Rudolf Stingel’s Baroque-inspired works. Executed in 2010, its shimmering painterly surface confronts the viewer like a piece of ornamental architecture or a fragment of decorative carpet.

Country Club (2003, estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000) is an early painting from Hurvin Anderson’s celebrated ‘Country Club’ series. Poised between figurative and abstract worlds, it depicts a deserted tennis court bathed in tropical heat, inspired by photographs taken on an artist’s residency in Trinidad, following in the footsteps of his former teacher Peter Doig. Ball Watching IV (2003, estimate: £350,000-550,000) is a deeply personal work that combines Anderson’s central thematic concerns: the vicissitudes of memory, the presence of the past, the barriers erected between cultures and the mutability.     

Gerhard Richter
Unveiled for the first time in 30 years, Gerhard Richter’s Schädel (Skull) (1983, estimate on request) is one of the highlight works of Christie’s Frieze Week auction series. Last exhibited in January 1988 at the Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich, Schädel (Skull) is the first of the iconic series of only eight skull paintings created that year.

Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud

(see separate post here) 

Held for 41 years in the prestigious collection of Magnus Konow, Figure in Movement can be placed among an extraordinary group of works painted in the aftermath of George Dyer’s tragic death the previous year. In addition to this are some of the very first works in Bacon’s catalogue raisonné, chronicling Bacon’s formative influences of furniture design and the contemporary innovations of the European avant-garde. The present group includes Painted Screen (circa 1930, estimate: £700,000-1,000,000), the earliest surviving largescale work and a precursor to his famed triptychs.
These are presented alongside early paintings by Lucian Freud including Man in a Striped Shirt (1942, estimate: £1,000,0001,500,000), a portrait of Richard Chopping painted when Freud was just 19 years old, and Head of a Woman (circa 1980, estimate: £350,000-450,000), one of the artist’s earliest depictions of his friend Susanna Chancellor. .

Property from a Distinguished Private Collector. David Hockney (b. 1937), Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1972. Acrylic on canvas. 84 x 120 in (213.5 x 305 cm). Estimate on request. Offered in the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 15 November 2018 at Christie’s in New York © David Hockney 
In its November Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s will offer one of the most quintessential canvases of the 20th Century, David Hockney’s Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), 1972 (estimate in the region of $80 million). Representing a culminating apex of the artist’s two most celebrated motifs— the glistening water of a swimming pool and a double portrait – Portrait of an Artist is an immediately recognizable and iconic image in Hockney’s diverse oeuvre. Having graced the covers of numerous artist monographs, starred in various exhibitions – including his traveling retrospective organized by the Tate Britain, the Centre Pompidou, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017-2018 – as well as the 1974 cult Hockney film, A Bigger Splash, the present canvas firmly stands its ground among Hockney’s most celebrated works. 

Alex Rotter, Co-Chairman Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s, remarked:  
“Christie’s is honored to offer Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures), which stands as one of the great masterpieces of the modern era. David Hockney’s brilliance as an artist is on full display with this monumental canvas, which encapsulates the essence of the idealized poolside landscape, and the tremendous complexity that exists within human relationships. With this painting, Hockney cemented his placement within the realm of history’s most venerated artists, and come November, it is poised to become the most valuable work of art by a living artist ever sold at auction.”

An often-told story of two compositions—the first destroyed over months of working and reworking, Hockney originally conceived the composition for Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) from the accidental, almost surreal juxtaposition of two photographs on his studio floor—one of a swimmer underwater, taken in Hollywood in 1966, and the other of a boy staring at something on the ground. Intrigued by how together, the disparate clipped images made it appear as if the boy was staring at the swimmer, this double-portrait arranged by chance impelled for Hockney a substantial dramatic charge.

Chief among his courtier of muses is the standing figure in Portrait of an Artist, Peter Schlesinger. Hockney met the eighteen-year-old Schlesinger in 1966 while he was a student in one of Hockney’s advanced art classes at UCLA. For the next five years, Schlesinger would prove to be the great love of Hockney’s life as well as a favorite model. The two lived together in California and London, mixing with Hockney’s expansive social circle as a prominent couple in the worlds of art, film and literature. Throughout the late ‘60s as their relationship deepened, Hockney’s desire to capture the intensity of his feelings for Peter, as well as his physical beauty, contributed greatly to the artist’s sudden shift towards a more naturalistic approach to his work. However, the much younger Schlesinger was far less gregarious than Hockney, and tensions between the pair grew gradually before a heated fight in Cadaqués in 1971 led to the end of their relationship—leaving Hockney distraught.

Created during a highly productive period following the devastating end of the artist’s relationship with Schlesinger, Portrait of an Artist is a powerful testament to the therapeutic power of painting. And out of his great sadness, came a time of extraordinary creative output.

Hockney had begun the painting in October 1971—as documented by Jack Hazan, who recorded its progress in his movie titled A Bigger Splash, about the end of Hockney and Peter Schlesinger’s five-year relationship. Hockney first resolved to paint Portrait of an Artist in 1971, but after months of struggling through the composition abandoned the first incarnation of the canvas around the same time as the dissolution of his romance with Schlesinger.

In early April, Hockney began the canvas anew in preparation for his exhibition the following month with André Emmerich Gallery in New York. Hockney travelled to Le Nid du Duc—director Tony Richardon’s house in the South of France—to take further preparatory photographs for the painting, taking his studio assistant Mo McDermott as a stand-in for Schlesinger and a young photographer named John St. Clair as the swimmer. Hockney took hundreds of photos, which came to cover the wall of his studio. Using those images, Hockney worked on the painting with great passion for eighteen hours a day for two weeks, completing it the night before it was to leave for the New York exhibition.

Another chief source of inspiration for Hockney is the image of the pool. Hockney’s discovery of his most famous subject matter corresponded to his arrival in Los Angeles nearly a decade earlier. Already celebrated as an enfant terrible of Contemporary art by the time he left the Royal College of Art in London in 1962, Hockney had first traveled to California in January 1964. The place held a magnetic draw for the artist, who had immersed himself in the potent idealism of its sun-drenched landscape, and the California that he had found in magazines, movies and the gay novels of John Rechy. Here, he felt free to invent the city, giving it a promptly recognizable, iconic form. "[Los Angeles was] the first time I had ever painted a place," Hockney later explained. "In London I think I was put off by the ghost of Sickert, and I couldn’t see it properly. In Los Angeles, there were no ghosts... I remember seeing, within the first week, the ramp of a freeway going into the air and I suddenly thought: My God, this place needs its Piranesi; Los Angeles could have a Piranesi, so here I am" (D. Hockney, quoted in S. Howgate, David Hockney Portraits, exh. cat., National Portrait Gallery, London, 2006, p. 39).

Deeply attuned to the history of art, Portrait of an Artist recalls the images of the classical renditions of the bather placed in an idyllic background found in Western painting since the Renaissance. The convention is a metaphor not only for the harmonious relationship between the human figure and nature, but also represents a world that is uncorrupted and pure. Employing a combination of a graphic designer's eye for composition, an illustrator's technique, the precision of a photograph and a painter's sensitivity to color, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) not only conveys the essence of the Californian good-life that had inspired him a decade before, but also stands as a vivid testament to a once in a life-time love.

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The auction current record for David Hockney was set by Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica, 1990, which sold for $28,453,000 at Sotheby’s New York on May 16, 2018.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Christie’s 12 works by Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, October

This October during London’s Frieze Week, Christie’s will present the largest and most diverse selection of 12 works by Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, two British masters of the 20th century. 

The group is led by Francis Bacon’s Figure in Movement (1972, estimate on request), held for 41 years in the prestigious collection of Magnus Konow. The work is a poignant meditation on human existence, expressed through the memory of Bacon’s muse and lover George Dyer, whose tragic suicide took place less than thirty-six hours before the opening of Bacon’s career-defining retrospective at the Grand Palais, and had a devastating impact upon the artist. Within Bacon’s oeuvre, Figure in Movement sits at the centre of the black triptychs. 

In addition, a collection of some of the earliest works on record by Bacon, comprises six pieces including his earliest surviving large-scale work, Painted Screen (circa 1930), a precursor to his famed triptychs. On loan to Tate, London, since 2009, the collection bears an outstanding provenance that includes Bacon’s first patron Eric Allden and his early artistic mentor Roy de Maistre. In the 1940s, five of the works entered the family collection of Francis Elek, who met Allden around this time; he acquired the sixth following de Maistre’s death in 1968.
Similarly, Lucian Freud’s early Man in a Striped Shirt (1942, estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000), created when the artist was 19, also from the collection of Magnus Konow, is presented alongside a still-life celebrating the artist’s love for his wife Caroline Blackwood, and a 1980 portrait of his friend and lover Susanna Chancellor. Two of the first studies of Francis Bacon Freud created in 1951 are also included. Selected works from this group will be on view at Christie’s Hong Kong (4-7 September), Los Angeles (5-8 September), New York (15-18 September) and King Street from 28 September, ahead of the auction on 4 October 2018. 
In 1939, Francis Elek came to England from Czechoslovakia as part of a swimming team, and became separated from his family at the outbreak of conflict in Europe. It was whilst searching for them through the Red Cross after the war that he met Allden, and subsequently acquired the majority of the present collection in the late 1940s. The collection represents some of the very first works in Bacon’s catalogue raisonné, capturing the birth of one of the twentieth century’s greatest artistic voices. Collectively, they chronicle Bacon’s formative influences, blending his early interests in furniture design with the contemporary innovations of the European avant-garde. 

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Few works remain from this seminal period: in addition to Painted Screen (circa 1930, estimate: £700,000-1,000,000) the present group includes the earliest surviving oil on canvas, 

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 Painting, (1929-30, estimate: £450,000-650,000), 

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while an early work on paper, Gouache (1929, estimate: £180,000-220,000), is testament to Bacon’s early fascination with interior architecture and design. 
Francis Bacon’s rugs shine a vital light on the relationship between art and design in his early practice, the present three belong to a group of just 12 surviving examples (All: Rug, circa 1929, estimate £70,000-100,000). Frequently hung on the wall like paintings, inspired perhaps by the tapestries of Jean Lurçat, their bold geometric designs owe much to Bacon’s interests in Synthetic Cubism and the Bauhaus movement, encountered during his time in Berlin and Paris between 1927 and 1928

Lucian Freud (1922-2011), Francis Bacon, executed in 1951. 21½ x 16¾ in (54.7 x 43 cm). Estimate £500,000-700,000. This lot is offered in Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 4 October 2018 at Christie’s in London

Lucian Freud (1922-2011), Francis Bacon, executed in 1951. 21½ x 16¾ in (54.7 x 43 cm). Estimate: £500,000-700,000. This lot is offered in Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 4 October 2018 at Christie’s in London
Unseen in public until 2011, Francis Bacon by Lucian Freud (both 1951, estimates: £500,000-700,000) belong to an outstanding group of three studies that represent Freud’s first depictions of Bacon, the third was in the collection of R. B. Kitaj and sold by Christie’s in the estate sale of 2008 for £468,500, against an estimate of £100,000-150,000. The studies are among the most intimate records of one of the 20th century’s greatest artistic relationships. They depict Bacon in a spontaneous moment of characteristic irreverence: shirt and trousers unbuttoned, eyes downcast, hips flexed and chest bared. Freud found great inspiration in Bacon’s impulsive painterly language while Bacon appreciated his companion’s witty vitality. 

Left: Lucian Freud, Man in a Striped Shirt (1942, estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000)
Right: Lucian Freud, Still Life with Zimmerlinde (circa 1950, estimate: £400,000-600,000)

Painted when Lucian Freud was just 19 years old, Man in a Striped Shirt (1939, estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000) is a rare early work that bears witness to the young artist’s talent. Richard Chopping was a fellow student of the East Anglian School of Art in Dedham, and also a friend of Francis Bacon, appearing in the 1978 diptych Two Studies for Portrait of Richard Chopping. Freud’s painting is charged with his uncompromising eye for the specific, studying Chopping’s distinctive features with the intense focus typical of Freud’s earliest paintings. 
Executed in the early 1950s, Still Life with Zimmerlinde (circa 1950, estimate: £400,000-600,000) is an intimate study of a zimmerlinde, more commonly known in English as a house lime, dedicated to his second wife, Caroline Blackwood. One heart-shaped leaf dominates the composition, its serrated outline faithfully traced and its bright, backlit green surface exposing every vein. To the lower left, the image is cut short by a swathe of still-raw canvas in which Freud has written, in his distinctive rounded hand, ‘For Caroline / with all my love / Lucian’. 
Gifted by Lucian Freud to the current owner, Head of a Woman (circa 1980, estimate: £350,000-450,000) stands among the artist’s earliest depictions of Susanna Chancellor. Freud first met her when she was just seventeen years old and the two quickly fell into a passionate relationship that would continue in various guises until the artist’s death in 2011. However, it was not until nearly 20 years into their friendship that Freud would begin to depict Susanna, coinciding with a renewed focus on his familial circle. 


Francis Bacon (1909-1992), Figure in Movement, executed in 1972. 77⅞ x 58⅝ in (198 x 148 cm). Estimate: £15,000,000-20,000,000. This lot is offered in Post War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 4 October 2018 at Christie’s in London © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS 2018
Executed in 1972, Figure in Movement takes its place among an extraordinary group of works painted in the aftermath of George Dyer’s tragic death the previous year. In the hustle between figuration and abstraction, Bacon creates a vivid sense of the transition from life to death, transforming Dyer’s distinctive features into commentary on the fleeting nature of life. Figure in Movement sheds critical light on Bacon’s understanding of the human condition during this period. Laced with allusions to photography, literature, reportage and film, it is an attempt to visualise the ways in which figural traces continue to live in the mind: Dyer is simultaneously reincarnated and estranged, his likeness skewed to the point of ambiguity and mirrored imperfectly in billowing black. Included in Bacon’s 1983 touring retrospective in Japan, as well as his 2016 exhibition at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, Figure in Movement demonstrates the new artistic directions he pursued during the 1970s, with the period following Dyer’s death seeing a move away from the characterful portraits of Bacon’s 1960s Soho circle towards dark, existential meditations on mortality.

Christie’s: An American Place: The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection

Christie’s has announced An American Place: The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection, will be offered in a dedicated evening and day sale in November as a highlight of its flagship 20th Century Week in New York. The collection of Barney A. Ebsworth represents an extraordinary achievement in the history of collecting — a singular assemblage of over 85 artworks that illuminates the rise of American art across the 20th century. Highlights of the collection include Edward Hopper’s Chop Suey, 1929, the most important work by the artist still in private hands (estimate in the region of $70 million), Jackson Pollock’s Composition with Red Strokes (estimate in the region of $50 million) and Willem de Kooning’s Woman as Landscape (estimate in the region of $60 million).

A global tour of highlights will commence in Paris 6-9 September, coinciding with La Biennale Paris, followed by highlight exhibitions in New York, Hong Kong, London, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and culminating with the auction preview at Christie’s Rockefeller Galleries in New York. The tour in Paris will include works by Hopper, Pollock, de Kooning, Kline, Nadelman, Davis, Sheeler, O’Keeffe and Glackens. The collection is expected to realize in excess of $300 million.

Marc Porter, Chairman, Christie’s Americas, commented
Last season, Christie’s made the bold move of launching the $835 million Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller in Asia, underscoring our investment and deep commitment to collectors in this growing region. This season, Christie’s Paris will host the debut of this stunning collection for the global collecting community, positioning it in the heart of Europe and paying homage to Barney A. Ebsworth’s lifelong love affair with the city that first introduced him to great art. His unique journey as a collector resonates with the influence and art historical connections of Gertrude Stein’s Paris, and ultimately set a new high standard for the creation of a nuanced collection of 20thCentury Art that is without parallel in its exceptional depth and quality.”

As a tribute to the former Stieglitz gallery, Ebsworth bestowed the name “An American Place” on his home in Seattle, which was built in collaboration with architect Jim Olson and designed as a dialogue between art and architecture. Ebsworth’s credo in collecting was “quality, quality, quality,” and with that mindset he amassed the most comprehensive collection of American Modernism in private hands, with many works having been loaned to leading institutions throughout his years of ownership.
Hopper's "Chop Suey" is expected to fetch around $70 million.

A seminal composition within the landscape of American Modernism, Edward Hopper’s Chop Sueywas one of  Mr. Ebsworth’s most prized possessions (estimate in the region of $70 million). Possibly derived from a Cantonese phrase, tsap sui, meaning ‘odds and ends,’ chop suey referred not only to a low-cost stir-fry dish but, moreover, to a public destination where the societal fusion of different cultural elements of the modern city came together.

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As in his masterwork Nighthawks (1942, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois), Hopper’s 1929 painting Chop Suey distills the atmosphere of this everyday eatery into a cinematic scene that at once depicts an implicit narrative while creating clear allusions to broader themes of social isolation, gender roles and art historical tradition. While having its roots in the French Impressionist and Ashcan traditions of painting city life, Chop Suey incorporates a thoroughly modern play of light and color to capture a specific restaurant that the Hoppers frequented on the Upper West Side of New York.  The most important painting by Hopper left in private hands, Chop Suey epitomizes the psychologically complex meditations for which the artist is best known, while uniquely capturing the zeitgeist of New York during one of its most interesting eras of transition. Chop Suey was included in the groundbreaking retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris 2012-13, which broke attendance records for the location.

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Willem de Kooning’s Woman as Landscape is a tour-de-force of 20th century painting (estimate in the region of $60 million). Executed at the height of the artist’s career in 1955, this large-scale canvas belongs to a small group of works that are well positioned among the most powerful paintings in American art. Measuring over five and a half feet tall, Woman as Landscape is a heroic painting that encompasses the painterly bravado and radical use of color that singled out de Kooning as a leader of the Abstract Expressionist movement, and one of the pre-eminent painters of his generation. The shocking female forms sensationalized the art world, energizing and scandalizing in equal measure, but his vivid brushwork came to represent the dramatic shift in art that occurred in the postwar years, a change that would alter the course of art history. Now firmly established as part of the 20th century art historical canon, many of de Kooning’s Woman paintings form the cornerstones of major international museum collections and as such, Woman as Landscape is one of the only paintings from this important period of the artist’s career to remain in private hands.

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Jackson Pollock’s Composition with Red Strokes was executed in 1950 during the peak of his extraordinary creative output and is a central work to the artist’s oeuvre, demonstrating his new technique (estimate in the region of $50 million). It was these startling, original and accomplished paintings that, in Willem de Kooning's phrase, finally 'broke the ice' for American painting, completely revolutionizing it and in the process reshaping the entire history of 20th century art. The diverse, virtuosic and carefully controlled markmaking in Composition with Red Strokes represents the variety, subtlety and mystery that Pollock had achieved in his new language of paint. Displaying a fascinatingly dense, intricate and animated abstract surface, Composition with Red Strokes is one of the richest, most engaging and successfully resolved of all these famous works. Other works made by Pollock in this key period are held at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art.

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Among the other Post-War highlights in the Collection are Joan Mitchell’s 12 Hawks at 3 O’clockcreated at a pivotal time when the artist’s abstraction reached new levels (estimate: $14-16 million),  

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Gray Rectangles by Jasper Johns, the first work by the artist to be acquired by the legendary collectors Victor and Sally Ganz (estimate: $20-30 million), and

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Franz Kline’s Painting (estimate: $5-7 million).

Ebsworth had a lasting friendship with Georgia O’Keeffe – she acted as a witness to his second marriage which took place at her Abiquiú home in New Mexico – who is represented in the Collection with  

Horn and Feather, 1937

Horn and Feather1937 (estimate: $700,000-1,000,000)

Beauford Delaney, 1901–1979 by Georgia O'Keeffe (1887–1986) Pastel on paper, 1943, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation
and Beauford Delaney, 1943 (estimate: $200,000-300,000).

Additional works in the Collection by members of the Stieglitz Circle are  

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Stuart Davis’s Still Life in the Street (estimate: $500,000-700,000)

and Marsden Hartley’s Calm After Storm off Hurricane Island (estimate: $1,500,000-2,500,000).

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Among the finest examples ever to appear on the market from Precisionist artist Charles Sheeler is Catwalk, 1947, which once belonged to Nelson Rockefeller (estimate: $1,200,000-1,800,000).

Representing the Ashcan School is

William Glackens’ Café Lafayette (Portrait of Kay Laurel)which was Ebsworth’s first acquisition of American Art in 1972 (estimate: $250,000-350,000). Among several examples by the American artists in Gertrude Stein’s circle offered in the sale are Elie Nadelman’sDancing Figure (estimate: $600,000-800,000).

The Collection also includes extremely rare examples from important artists who infrequently appear on the market and are primarily held in museums, such as Patrick Henry Bruce’s Peinture/Nature Morte (estimate: $2,000,000-3,000,000 million), which was displayed alongside Hopper’s Chop Suey in the library. In total, the Collection includes a full range of price levels, with estimates starting at $100,000.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1934, Barney A. Ebsworth was an entrepreneur and his success was self-made. He founded Clipper Cruise Line, among other cruise lines, the Intrav luxury travel business and was an angel investor in the stuffed-animal phenomenon Build-A-Bear Workshop. Ebsworth’s passion for art originated during his station with the US Army in France in 1956, when he made weekly trips to the Louvre.

Mr. Ebsworth was a renowned collector who gave generously over the years to the Seattle Art Museum as well as to many other museums and charitable institutions, including gifts of major early American works. He also devoted substantial time and financial resources in support of these institutions, including serving on the Board of the Seattle Art Museum. Ebsworth was named as one of the ‘World’s 200 Greatest Collectors’ and ‘America’s Top 100 Collectors’, and served as a board member or trustee for the Seattle Art Museum, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the St. Louis Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park, St. Louis, and the Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey

De Young Museum 
November 17, 2018 through April 7, 2019 

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) "Woman with Mango Fruits," ca.  1889 Painted oak, 11 3/4 x 19 1/4 in.  (30 x 49 cm) Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 1781 Photograph by Ole Haupt © Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) "Woman with Mango Fruits," ca. 1889 Painted oak, 11 3/4 x 19 1/4 in. (30 x 49 cm) Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 1781 Photograph by Ole Haupt © Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen (Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) has announced Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey, debuting at the de Young museum on November 17. The first exhibition at FAMSF dedicated to the work of Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) will explore two themes central to his career: the relationships that shaped his life and work, and his quest to understand spirituality, both his own and that of other cultures he encountered.

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Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) "Reclining Tahitian Women," 1894 Oil on canvas, 23 5/8 x 19 1/4 in. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 1832 Photograph by Ole Haupt © Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Through an exceptional partnership with the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, more than sixty Gauguin works will be on view—ranging from oil paintings and works on paper to wood carvings and ceramics—alongside art of the Pacific Islands from the FAMSF collection. Combined, these works encompass distinctive phases of Gauguin’s career to show the development of his ideas, the scope of his oeuvre, and the inspiration he found in New Zealand, the Marquesas Islands, and Tahiti.

"The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco have the largest repository of works on paper in the western United States, including numerous works by Gauguin—among them, The Woman from Arles, one of his most important drawings,” says Melissa Buron, Director of the Art Division at FAMSF. “Putting these works on view with Gauguin’s stunning oil paintings provides an unprecedented opportunity for our collection to shine and take its place in the larger historical narrative.”

Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey will feature works showing the deep influence that other artists, places, and relationships had on the arc of his career. Embarking on a profession in painting with no formal training, Gauguin was mentored by Impressionists including Camille Pissarro and Edgar Degas. (In fact, as an avid collector himself, Gauguin originally owned two of the Pissarro paintings on view in the exhibition.) Later collaborations with Vincent van Gogh and Émile Bernard show experiments with Symbolism as Gauguin developed his own distinctive style of painting, using flat fields of bold color and dark outlines that in turn influenced artists including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

The exhibition will take visitors on a journey through the progression and scope of Gauguin’s work, from an early drawing of his wife, Mette Gad (ca. 1873), to better-known paintings inspired by his travels to Tahiti, such as 

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Tahitian Woman with a Flower (Vahine no te tiare), from 1891. Although Gauguin is best known as a painter and printmaker, the exhibition will also feature fifteen experimental ceramics and intricate wood carvings interspersed with period photography and excerpts from his own letters and writings.
Gauguin was greatly influenced by Pacific art and culture, from his time spent in the region en route to Tahiti in 1895.

 Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) Flowers and Cats, 1899 Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 27 15/16 in.  (92 x 71 cm) Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 1835 Photograph by Ole Haupt, © Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903) Flowers and Cats, 1899 Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 27 15/16 in. (92 x 71 cm) Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, 1835 Photograph by Ole Haupt, © Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Corresponding to this period of Gauguin’s travel and work in the Pacific, carvings and images from New Zealand, the Marquesas Islands, and Tahiti will be on view from FAMSF’s own extensive holdings in Oceanic arts.

Works such as the striking Māori gable figure of Tüwhakairiora, purchased by founder M. H. de Young from the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park, will add to visitors’ understanding of the Pacific histories, beliefs, and art that inspired Gauguin and captured his imagination. (Tüwhakairiora was an ancestor who avenged the death of his grandfather and became a leader of all the peoples of New Zealand’s northeast coast of North Island in the seventeenth century.)

“It is exciting to bring so many Gauguin works to San Francisco,” says exhibition curator Christina Hellmich, curator in charge of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “I am pleased that we can highlight some lesser-known aspects of his life, including his wife’s critical role in his career, and offer contemporary perspectives through a new video installation. The striking works of Māori, Marquesan, and Tahitian art from our own collection will allow visitors to learn about Gauguin’s fervent interest in the art and spirituality of Oceania.”

Among many of Gauguin’s paintings are subjects believed to depict Indigenous Māhu, or Tahitian “third gender” individuals. In Sāmoa, the equivalent is known as a Fa’afafine, an indigenous queer minority considered to be gifted in the spirit of more than one gender. Sāmoa-based interdisciplinary artist Yuki Kihara has been commissioned to create a new video work that will debut with this exhibition. Filmed in Upolu Island Sāmoa, her piece, entitled First Impressions: Paul Gauguin, shows a group of Fa’afafine friends discussing works that Gauguin created during his time in the Pacific.
"The Glyptotek contains one of the world’s finest collections of Gauguin’s works,” adds Christine Buhl Andersen, Director of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. “For us it is of crucial significance that the collection is put into new contexts and thus remains vital and relevant. This is the case here where two museums have combined their potential and worked together curatorially, thus creating an original exhibition. We at the Glyptotek have enjoyed an excellent collaboration with the de Young museum and we look forward to experiencing the public’s reception of the exhibition when it opens in San Francisco.”

Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey is organized by Christina Hellmich, curator in charge of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and co-organized by Line Clausen Pedersen, curator at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

The exhibition will be on view at the de Young museum from November 17, 2018, through April 7, 2019, and then travel to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek.


by Christina Hellmich (Author), Line Clausen Pedersen (Author), Max Hollein (Contributor)

This dazzling book showcases dozens of Paul Gauguin's most celebrated works and presents a new consideration of the artist's relationships.

This vibrant examination of Paul Gauguin's life and work features more than fifty pieces from the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek collection in Copenhagen, including paintings, wood carvings, and ceramics along with Oceanic art and Gauguin's works on paper from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco's permanent collections. Each piece is reproduced in exquisite detail, offering a superb opportunity to enjoy Gauguin's groundbreaking use of color, line, and form. Essays examine Gauguin's relationships and reveal the struggles, indulgences, awakenings, and betrayals of his personal and professional life. Other essays provide new insights into Gauguin's travels to the far reaches of the French colonial empire in the Pacific and explore his cultural identity, sexuality, and spirituality. Beautifully designed to complement Gauguin's extraordinary oeuvre, this book offers a refreshing take on an artist whose life and work continue to fascinate to the present day.