Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Sale on May 4 and 5, 2015

Among the star works from the Whitehead Collection to be featured within the May Evening Sale are Amedeo Modigliani’s Portrait de Béatrice Hastings from 1916 (US$7-10million) and Claude Monet’s Paysage de matin (Giverny) (US$6-8million; pictured page one). Together, these works depict the sweeping range of the collection; Modigliani’s portrait representing the dynamism of the European Avant-Garde and Monet’s landscape evoking the purity of French Impressionism with its revelry in light.    

Amedeo Modigliani, Portrait de Béatrice Hastings, oil on canvas, 1916. US$7-10million 

This dynamic portrait depicts Modigliani’s muse Béatrice Hastings, one of many pen names for South African writer, poet and literary critic, Emily Alice Haigh.

Hastings frequently posed for Modigliani, with whom she shared an apartment in Monteparnasse.
Modigliani used portraiture, especially of those in his immediate circle, as a means to explore an idealised aspect of humanity, an image of internal as well as external likeness.

With its expressive painterly surface, Béatrice Hastings, is in glorious physical condition, giving it the appearance of just having left the easel.

Claude Monet, Paysage de matin (Giverny), oil on canvas, 1888. US$6-8million

  • Paysage de matin (Giverny) is a consummate example of the luminescent landscapes completed by Monet during his distinguished middle career.
  • Monet executed these works by situating himself in the midst of the French countryside with the hopes of encapsulating the light and conditions of a summer day within his canvases. Paysage de matin is an exceptional illustration of Monet’s ability to capture the light effects of his beloved Giverny.
  • The present work is representative of Monet’s most sought after qualities, contributing to its broad global appeal. 

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Portrait of André Bérard, Pastel on Paper, 1889-1890. US$400,000-600,000

  • While Whitehead stated that each work moved him in different ways, he professed Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Portrait of André Bérard, to be his favorite.
  • “If I had to spend the rest of my life on a desert island and could take only one of the pictures from my collection with me, I would take this one,” Mr. Whitehead wrote. “It is a simple portrait, done in pastel, and not very large. But I find it completely beautiful. There is such innocence to the boy. Is that my inner self? A happy memory of when my own children were young? I don’t know.”