Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Goya at Auction

Sotheby’s sale of Important Old Master Paintings January 29 & 30, 2009

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes’ Portrait of Prince Alois Wenzel Von Kaunitz-Rietbergdates to 1815-1817, after the French armies had been ejected from Spain and Goya had been re-instated as the Pintor de Cámara(est. $2.5/3.5 million). 

The portrait is painted in Goya’s late style with his subject depicted against a modern gray background, bringing his features and persona to the forefront with no distractions. Prince Kaunitz had learned an appreciation for fine art from the family collection he inherited, and sought Goya, then the most famed artist in Madrid, to paint his portrait during his appointment there as Ambassador from Vienna. 

The Prince is skillfully painted with keen attention to his facial features, which portray an air of entitlement, and through which faint remnants of the artist’s preliminary sketches show. The quick strokes suggest that the work may have been painted in a single sitting, and it seems that the work was taken out of Spain to Vienna almost immediately after its completion. The canvas has until recently been undocumented in Goya literature and reappeared only in 1989. 

Sotheby's 2013

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
Estimate 6,000,0008,000,000 USD

Sotheby’s London Sales of Impressionist and Modern Art on 5 & 6 February 2014

Jan Krugier was both a connoisseur of art and humanity and his collection mirrors his lifelong quest for works that involve the viewer both visually and intellectually. Krugier once confessed that looking at drawings helped him overcome demons of the past and Francisco de Goya’s remarkable depiction of a man with a distressed expression entitled

Loco (Madman) would probably have been be one of them (est. £700,000-900,000/$1.2-1.5 million, t). This prodigious drawing – one of four by Goya in the sale - is among the most powerful and extraordinary late works of the painter contained in the “Bordeaux albums”, an ensemble of works drawn during the artist’s exile in France, between 1824 and his death in 1828. 

Lot vendu: 542,500 GBP


Born into a Jewish art collecting family in Poland in 1928, Jan Krugier was a boy when the Second World War broke out, and was captured by the Nazis while a courier for the Polish resistance in 1943. He escaped from a train to Treblinka and spent about eight months in the forest, until he was found in the snow at the end of 1943. Eventually he endured Treblinka, as well as Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dora-Nordhausen and Bergen-Belsen.

After the end of the war, he was the only member of his family to have survived. In 1945 he was taken under the wing of a family in Switzerland, through whom he discovered a new realm of promises. He met the esteemed philosopher Martin Buber in Locarno and elected to pursue painting, enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Zurich. Art became for him a profound source of inspiration.

In 1947 he moved to Paris and rented Soutine’s studio. He spent summers in the Engadine mountains to paint and on one of thosetrips he met Alberto Giacometti whose studio in Stampa was close to his atelier in Majola. They became friends and when Krugier took a studio at the Cité Falguière in Paris, Giacometti was a frequent visitor and became a valued confidant. After some time Giacometti confessed that he thought painting was too agonizing for Krugier and that he should instead become an advisor and open a gallery as an art dealer. Krugier followed his friend’s encouragement and focused on consulting private Swiss collectors.

In 1962 he opened Galerie Krugier & Cie in Geneva and staged a number of shows with artists including Giacometti, Wifredo Lam, Bram van Velde, Morandi and Calder. He held themed exhibitions such as Metaphysica, Bonjour Monsieur Coubet,Futurism and The Nabis.

With Albert Loeb in 1966 he opened Galerie Loeb and Krugier in New York at 12 East 57thStreet which operated until 1971. In 1972 the Geneva gallery moved location and was renamed Galerie Jan Krugier. By 1983 Krugier had again established a presence in New York, first with an office and then in 1987 with anofficial space, Jan Krugier Gallery at 41 East 57th Street. Over five decades his galleries set a remarkable benchmark and the quality, intelligence, sensitivity and unexpected juxtapositions of the shows they staged became legendary.

Among Krugier’s manifold achievements, his involvement with the work of Pablo Picasso is perhaps the best known. Krugier met the Spanish master when he was himself a young artist: “I was invited to Picasso’s studio...thanks to Spanish friends who had been with me in the concentration camps. But I was so anxious, so nervous. Picasso was very kind with me. He had such a look, such a powerful expression.”

Following Picasso’s death, Marie-Thérèse Walter, the artist’s long-time muse and lover entrusted him with her collection. In the fall of 1973 in Geneva, Krugier organised the first Picasso exhibition after the artist’s passing, showing works belonging to Marie-Thérèse Walter.

In 1976, he became the sole agent for the collection of Picasso’s works inherited by the artist’s granddaughter, Marina. Krugier launched a world tour of the Marina Picasso Collection which travelled to museums in Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne, Zurich, Venice, Tokyo, Melbourne, Sydney and Miami between 1981 and 1986. He also presented the collection in his galleries in New York and Geneva in 1986, 1987 and 1989 and sold a selection of works to benefit the Marina Picasso Foundation.

Over many decades, Jan Krugier was committed to the
highest ideals in the understanding and appreciation of the arts. He and his wife, Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski were equally captivated by Antiquities and Contemporary paintings, Renaissance drawings and Cubist collage, Tribal sculptures and paradigms of the Enlightenment. Jan Krugier was nothing short of a pioneer and many recognised this during his life time. In 1996 he was honored as Commandeur des Arts et des Lettresby France.

Sotheby's 2014

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
LOT SOLD. 206,500 GBP