Monday, April 30, 2018

Monet & Architecture

National Gallery, London

9 April – 29 July 2018

In a landmark show at the National Gallery in spring 2018 – the first purely Monet exhibition to be staged in London for more than twenty years – there is a unique and surprising opportunity to discover the artist as we have never seen him before.

Claude Monet The Grand Canal (Le Grand Canal), 1908 Oil on canvas 73 × 92 cm Nahmad Collection, Monaco © Photo courtesy of the owner
Claude Monet The Grand Canal (Le Grand Canal), 1908 Oil on canvas 73 × 92 cm Nahmad Collection, Monaco © Photo courtesy of the owner
 Claude Monet The Palazzo Dario, Venice (Venise, Le Palais Dario), 1908 Oil on canvas 66 × 81 cm The Art Institute of Chicago Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection 1933.446 © The Art Institute of Chicago / Bridgeman Images
Claude Monet The Palazzo Dario, Venice (Venise, Le Palais Dario), 1908 Oil on canvas 66 × 81 cm The Art Institute of Chicago Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection 1933.446 © The Art Institute of Chicago / Bridgeman Images
We typically think of Claude Monet as a painter of landscape, of the sea, and in his later years, of gardens – but until now there has never been an exhibition considering his work in terms of architecture.

Featuring more than seventy-five paintings by Monet, this innovative exhibition spans his long career from its beginnings in the mid-1860s to the public display of his Venice paintings in 1912. As a daring young artist, he exhibited in the Impressionist shows and displayed canvases of the bridges and buildings of Paris and its suburbs. Much later as an elderly man, he depicted the renowned architecture of Venice and London, reflecting them back to us through his exceptional vision.   
More than a quarter of the paintings in 'The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Monet & Architecture' come from private collections around the world; works little-known and rarely exhibited.

Buildings played substantial, diverse, and unexpected roles in Monet’s pictures. They serve as records of locations, identifying a village by its church

 ('The Church at Varengeville, Morning Effect', 1882, Collection of John and Toni Bloomberg. Promised gift to The San Diego Museum of Art.),

Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926). <em>The Doge's Palace (Le Palais ducal)</em>, 1908. Oil on canvas, 32 x 39 in. (81.3 x 99.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of A. Augustus Healy, 20.634 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 20.634_SL1.jpg)

 or a city such as Venice ('The Doge’s Palace', 1908, Brooklyn Museum, Gift of A. Augustus Healy 20.634),

Cleopatras Needle And Charing Cross Bridge

or London ('Cleopatra’s Needle and Charing Cross Bridge', about 1899–1901,
Eyles Family courtesy of Halcyon Gallery) by its celebrated monuments.

Architecture offered a measure of modernity – the glass-roofed interior of a railway station, like

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The Gare St-Lazare (1877, The National Gallery, London) – whilst a venerable structure, such as

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 'The Lieutenance de Honfleur' (1864, Private Collection), marked out the historic or picturesque.

Architecture aided Monet with the business of painting.

 A red-tiled roof could offer a complementary contrast to the dominant green of the surrounding vegetation


('From the top of the Cliffs, Dieppe (Du haut des falaises, à Dieppe ou La falaise à Dieppe'), 1882, Kunsthaus Zürich, Vereinigung Zürcher Kunstfreunde).

The textured surfaces of buildings provided him with screens on which light plays, solid equivalents to reflections on water

 ('Rouen Cathedral', 1893–4, Private Collection).

A man-made structure helps the viewer engage with the experience of a Monet landscape.

Claude Monet The Church at Vétheuil (L'Église de Vétheuil), 1879 Oil on canvas 51 × 61 cm Southampton City Art Gallery (183/1975) © Copyright Southampton City Art Gallery / Bridgeman Images

A distant steeple ('The Church at Varengeville', 1882, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts)

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or nearby house ('Gardener’s House at Antibes', 1888, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade),

are marks of scale, responding to our instinct to read our physical surroundings in terms of distance, destination, and the passage of time involved in transit.

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Claude Monet, San Giorgio Maggiore (Saint-Georges Majeur), 1908, oil on canvas, 65 × 92 cm © Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana The Lockton Collection ...

Architecture can stand in for absent human presence and suggest mood, whether it be awe at the grandeur of a historical monument ('San Giorgio Maggiore', 1908, Private Collection),

 thrill at the vitality of a teeming city street ('The Pont Neuf', 1871, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection),

 or loneliness at the solitude of the clifftop cottage ('The Custom's Officer's Cottage, Varengeville', 1888, Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Annie Swan Coburn, USA).

'Monet & Architecture' will be displayed in three sections – 'The Village and the Picturesque', 'The City and the Modern', and 'The Monument and the Mysterious' – and will explore how one of the world’s best-loved painters captured a rapidly changing society though his portrayal of buildings.
It will feature a rare gathering of some of Monet’s great ‘series’ paintings – five Dutch pictures from trips made in the early 1870s, 10 paintings of Argenteuil and the Parisian suburbs from the mid-1870s, seven Rouen Cathedrals from 1892–5, eight London paintings from 1899–1904, and nine Venice canvases from 1908.

'Monet & Architecture' will feature exceptional pairings, such as

 both paintings of the church at Vétheuil, which Monet made immediately on arrival in the village in late 1878

Claude Monet, The Church at Vétheuil

(one Scottish National Gallery,

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 the other Private Collection).

One was shown at the 4th Impressionist exhibition in 1879, and the other at the 7th in 1882, but they have never been seen together. The National Gallery's well-known

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The Thames below Westminster (1871) will be seen alongside a picture of the beach at Trouville (1870, Private Collection), made only months before with the same size canvas and a very similar composition.

Many world-famous and much-loved Monet pictures will be travelling to London:

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the 'Quai du Louvre' (1867, Gemeente Museum, Den Haag), one of his first cityscapes;

the 'Boulevard des Capucines, Paris' (1873, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow) shown at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 where it aroused controversy;

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and the flag-filled 'The rue Montorgeuil, Paris, The National Holiday of 30 June, 1878' (Musee d’Orsay) made to celebrate the celebration of a national holiday.

Through buildings Monet bore witness to his location, revelling in kaleidoscopic atmospherics and recording the play of sunshine, fogs, and reflections, using the characteristics of the built environment as his theatre of light. He said in an interview in 1895 “Other painters paint a bridge, a house, a boat … I want to paint the air that surrounds the bridge, the house, the boat – the beauty of the light in which they exist.”

Claude Monet The Beach at Trouville (La Plage à Trouville), 1870 Oil on canvas 53.5 × 65 cm Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1948.116 © Allen Phillips\Wadsworth Atheneum

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Claude Monet, Houses of Parliament, Sunset (Le Parlement, coucher de soleil), 1904, oil on canvas, 81 × 92 cm, Kunsthaus Zürich, Donation Walter Haefner,


Monet and Architecture Richard Thomson

The first book to focus on Monet’s work through his representation of architecture

In an innovative approach, Richard Thomson considers Claude Monet’s paintings of buildings in their environment, offering a reappraisal of an artist more often associated with landscapes, seascapes, and gardens. Buildings fulfilled various roles in Monet’s canvases; some are chiefly compositional devices while others throw into sharp contrast the forms of man-made construction against the irregularity of nature, or suggest the absent presence of humans. The theme was both central and consistent over five decades of his 60-year career.

Written by a renowned expert on Impressionism, this book covers Monet’s representations of historical buildings, inner cities, beach resorts, railway bridges and stations, suburban housing, and busy harbors—subjects spanning northern France, the Mediterranean, and the cities of Rouen, London, and Venice.  In addition to 75 great paintings by Monet, this thematic, picture-led book includes a wealth of comparative material, such as postcards, posters, original travel photography, and rarely seen aerial photography that sets Monet’s work firmly in its historical, cultural, and social framework.

Photography: “Not An Ostrich: And Other Images From America’s Library”

The Annenberg Space for Photography, a cultural destination dedicated to exhibiting both digital and print photography, announced its next exhibition – Not an Ostrich: And Other Images from America’s Library.


The exhibition, running from April 21 through September 9, 2018, is a collection of nearly 500 images – discovered within a collection of more than 14 million pictures – permanently housed in the world’s largest library at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Put together by the distinguished photography curator Anne Wilkes Tucker, the exhibition features the image entitled “Not an Ostrich” and a large selection of rare and handpicked works from the vaults of the library, many never widely available to the public. Each picture documents a special moment in America’s culture and history. Tucker, named “America’s Best Curator” by TIME, was granted special access to the photographic archives at the Library of Congress.

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The images selected for Not an Ostrich: And Other Images from Americas Library span three centuries of photography (1800s, 1900s, 2000s), simultaneously telling America’s story through evocative imagery, while revealing the evolution of photography itself – from daguerreotypes, the first publicly available photographic process, to contemporary digital images. The exhibition’s name, Not an Ostrich, refers to an actual image included in the collection – a photo of actress Isla Bevan holding a “Floradora Goose” at the 41st Annual Poultry Show at Madison Square Garden – and hints at the unexpected and unusual artifacts collected at the Library of Congress over its 218-year history, some of which will be on display inside the Annenberg Space for Photography.

Other pictures among the hundreds on display: The Wright brothers’ first flight, the earliest known portrait of Harriet Tubman, Harry Houdini bound in chains for a magic trick, action scenes from Vietnam war protests, Ku Klux Klan demonstrations, and an image of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

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Not an Ostrich marks the first time an exhibition of this scale, featuring a selection of photographs from the Library of Congress, has been displayed on the West Coast, and represents a fraction of the Library’s full collection as a way for visitors to rediscover one of America’s most important cultural institutions. The full exhibition will include over 440 photographs from 1839 to the present, by 148 photographers – displayed both physically and digitally – including the works of Sharon Farmer, Donna Ferrato, Carol M. Highsmith, Danny Lyon, Camilo José Vergara, and Will Wilson, who will also be featured in the exhibit’s original documentary produced by the Annenberg Foundation in partnership with Arclight Productions.

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“The exhibit Anne Tucker has put together is one that truly reflects America in images. Each photograph exposes us to just a fraction of the millions of American stories held in the Library of Congress, from the iconic to the absurd,” said Annenberg Foundation Chairman of the Board, President and CEO Wallis Annenberg. “Though cameras and technology have changed over the years, this exhibition shows us that nothing captures a moment, a time, or a story like a photograph.”

“What a pleasure and an honor it was to work with the Library of Congress selecting these photographs. Glamour, worship, invention, bravery, humor, cruelty and love – this collection of photographs preserves all examples of our humanity as well as chronicling America’s history in extraordinary photographs. The Library is an inexhaustible trove available for anyone to explore,” said Anne Wilkes Tucker, Curator Emerita of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

“The Library of Congress not only collects and preserves America’s cultural heritage but also works to make those comprehensive collections accessible to as many people as possible. I am so thrilled about this opportunity to present the Library’s rich photography collection at the Annenberg Space for Photography,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “I hope photography and history enthusiasts around Los Angeles and beyond who visit this unprecedented exhibition will have their curiosity piqued about all that is available to them at their national library.”

Not an Ostrich will remain on display from April 21 through September 9, 2018. Visitors can access the exhibition with free admission Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 AM to 6 PM, at the Annenberg Space for Photography (2000 Avenue of the Stars Los Angeles, CA 90067). For more information about Not an Ostrich: And Other Images from Americas Library, visit:


Friday, April 27, 2018

More on Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale 14 May 2018

Amedeo Modigliani, Nu couché (sur le côté gauche). Signed Modigliani (lower left). Oil on canvas, 35¼ by 57¾ in.; 89.5 by 146.7 cm. Painted in 1917. Estimate in excess of $150 million. Courtesy Sotheby’s.

Amedeo Modigliani, “Nu couche (sur le cote gauche)," 1917.

Amedeo Modigliani’s stunning Nu couché (sur le côté gauche)  is estimated to sell for in excess of $150 million in Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 14 May 2018 – the highest estimate ever placed on a work of art at auction.

Painted a century ago, Nu couché is the greatest work from the iconic series in which Modigliani reinvented the nude for the Modern era. Upon their debut exhibition in 1917, these striking and sensual images stopped traffic – quite literally – and prompted the police to close the show. Today, the series is recognized as one of the seminal achievements in Modern painting. The shock and awe that Modigliani’s nudes continue to elicit was evident most recently during Tate Modern’s celebrated retrospective of the artist’s work that included Nu couché.

In addition to being the finest example from the series, Nu couché is distinguished further as the largest painting of Modigliani’s entire oeuvre – measuring nearly 58 inches / 147 centimeters across – and the only one of his horizontal nudes to contain the entire figure within the canvas.

The majority of the 22 reclining nudes from the series are found in museums, with particular depth in the United States: the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York each hold three examples. Outside of the United States, institutions with reclining nudes include the Long Museum in Shanghai and The Courtauld Gallery in London.

Nu couché was acquired by the present owner at auction in 2003 for $26.9 million. In 2015, another reclining nude from the series sold at auction for $170.4 million, at the time marking the second-highest price ever paid for a work of art at auction.

Simon Shaw, Co-Head Worldwide of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department, commented: “This painting reimagines the nude for the Modern era. Modigliani depicted his models as confident and self-possessed in their sexuality. Nu couché is an incredibly sensual image, with the sitter’s gaze meeting the viewer’s head-on in truly mesmerizing fashion. While situating itself within a classical canon of nude painting, the work is radically innovative in style: Modigliani assimilates a world of visual cultures across the centuries, from Egyptian, Japanese, African, Indian and Iberian sculpture, from Renaissance frescoes through Romanticism to the cutting-edge of Cubism. Together these pictures signal a watershed in perhaps the greatest tradition in art – there is the nude before Modigliani, and there is the nude after Modigliani.”

Modigliani began painting nudes in 1908, but it was only after he abandoned sculpture in 1914 that he developed the unique idiom evident in Nu couché. His aesthetic was gleaned from the artistic precedents of Italian Renaissance and Mannerist painting, the linear simplicity of African carvings and the earth-toned palette and geometric modelling of Cubism – all of which can be seen in the present work.

The majority of Modigliani’s output was based in portraiture, which, more often than not, depicted those who surrounded him: fellow artists, poets, lovers and patrons. Aside from a veritable who’s who of the more bohemian artistic circles in Paris, Modigliani would also seize upon chances to find other sitters – though the opportunities for unpaid models were few and far between.

It was not until Modigliani’s dealer Léopold Zborowski stepped forward with both a space and paid models that Modigliani embarked on his great series of nudes. Zborowski provided the artist a stipend of 15 Francs a day, and paid the models five Francs to pose in an apartment just above his own at 3 Rue Joseph Bara.

Draped in sheets, perched on chairs, reclining on sofas or beds, the models are relatively anonymous – Modigliani did not paint his prime paramours in the nude. But while he may have had emotional distance from the sitters, he certainly did not have physical distance: the women dominate their space, filling the frame with stretching hands and feet, forearms and calves literally off of the edges of the canvas. Their nudity is self-assured and proud, not cloaked in myth or allegory.

In total, Modigliani completed 22 reclining nudes and 13 seated nudes between 1916 and 1919, with the majority – including the present work – painted in 1917. And from the first moment the works were displayed that year, they stopped traffic.

At the request of Zborowski, Parisian dealer Berthe Weill staged an exhibition of Modigliani’s paintings and works on paper. In the window of her gallery – by some accounts directly hung in the window, and by others clearly visible through it – were a number of the nudes.

Upon opening, crowds immediately gathered in the exhibition to witness the strikingly-real works, and traffic began to build up outside. Across from Weill’s gallery was a police station, and the commotion did not go unnoticed. An officer traipsed across the road and asked for the removal of the offending canvases, which he considered indecent. Weill’s refusal to do so found her in the police station speaking with the police chief. The show was closed with Zborowski only selling two drawings at 30 Francs each.

Over 100 years after its creation, the power of Nu couché to amaze and startle remains as potent as it did in 1917.

 Rufino Tamayo, Perro aullando a la Luna (Dog Howling At The Moon). Signed Tamayo and dated 42 (lower left). Oil on canvas, 44 1/4 by 33 3/4 in. 112.4 by 85.7 cm. Painted in 1942. Estimate $5/7 million © Tamayo Heirs/Mexico/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.


Rufino Tamayo’s powerful Perro aullando a la Luna from 1942 will be offered in the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 14 May 2018. A masterpiece of Mexican modernism that captures the existential angst following the onset of World War II, the poetic painting is the last major work from Tamayo’s renowned Animal series remaining in private hands. Emerging from a distinguished collection after more than two decades, the work was first exhibited at Valentine Gallery in New York, and was once owned by Peter G. Wray — one of the foremost collectors of pre-Columbian and modern Mexican art in the US in the 1970s and 1980s.

Perro aullando a la Luna is estimated to achieve $5/7 million when it is auctioned this May at Sotheby’s New York. The work will travel to Hong Kong from 24-26 April – the first Latin American painting to travel to Hong Kong as part of Sotheby’s exhibition of highlights from the marquee May and November auctions – before returning to New York for public exhibition in the York Avenue galleries beginning 4 May.

Anna Di Stasi, Director of Sotheby’s Latin American Art in New York, remarked: “We are honored to offer this extraordinary work by Rufino Tamayo in our May Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art, continuing our pioneering approach to presenting works by Latin American artists to collectors worldwide. Many of these artists worked with and have been exhibited alongside their European and American peers in renowned museums, galleries and other institutions; it is fitting that these immensely-creative minds are reunited in our global Fine Arts sales.”

Simon Shaw, Co-Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department commented: “We are pleased to formally welcome our Latin American Art colleagues to the Impressionist & Modern Art department in New York. As we saw with the strong result for Wifredo Lam’s Sans titre during our November 2017 Evening Sale, collectors are ready to look in every corner of the marketplace for the best of the best. We look forward to continuing to expand our client base through this important and immersive initiative in both our Evening and Day sales.”

Following the successful integration of Sotheby’s Contemporary Latin American Art into its New York Contemporary Art sales this past November, Perro aullando a la Luna introduces Sotheby’s new Latin American Art sales strategy: a formal integration of Modern Latin American Art offerings into its sales of Impressionist & Modern Art in New York. This expansion will continue to grow the collector base for, and concentrate the broad appeal of, this dynamic area of collecting.

World War II played a critical role in informing Tamayo’s work of the early 1940s. While primarily-based in New York during this time, he created a series of unsettling pictures in which animals, and dogs in particular, serve as explicit symbols of unrest.

This particular group of paintings was directly inspired by Picasso’s monumental Guernica from 1937. Tamayo studied the mural-sized canvas in exhibitions in New York, ultimately drawing a number of parallels between the figures represented in the famed painting and the present work – Guernica prominently features both a threatening bull and a screaming horse. Tamayo’s paintings, however, were distinguished by their vibrant color palette instead of the muted hues that can be found in Guernica.

Tamayo’s sentiments of desperation, isolation and anguish are expressed through a host of motifs exhibited by the canine subject. The animal raises his head towards the moon, the veins of his throat strained as he howls towards the dark and desolate sky; his piercing white teeth are visible in his open mouth. Perhaps most notably, dry meatless bones appear in the foreground of the work – an attribute that’s shared among other works in this series, most importantly, 

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 Animals (1941), now in The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

A quintessential painting inspired by pre-Columbian terracotta burial sculptures, the work embodies humanity’s angst during the early years of America’s participation in WWII. Executed in New York, where the artist first achieved international recognition as a leading exponent of modern art, Perro aullando a la Luna is one of the finest examples by Tamayo in private hands.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Christie's May 17 Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art in New York

Mark Rothko’s monumental canvas,

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Mark Rothko, No. 7 (Dark Over Light), 1954, oil on canvas, 90 ⅛ x 58 ⅝ in. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018.
No. 7 (Dark Over Light), 1954, will highlight Christie's May 17 Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art in New York (estimate in the region of $30 million). At nearly eight feet tall, No. 7 (Dark Over Light) belongs to a select group of canvases that were among the largest that Rothko ever painted. Its grand scale is matched only by the emotional intensity of its painted surface. Such a highly active painterly surface is a mark of Rothko’s paintings from this important period, but it is the scale on which it has been executed in No. 7 (Dark Over Light) that makes this particular work one of the most extraordinary; its broad sweeps and feathered edges reveal the artist’s ambition to create a pure and direct form of painting. No. 7 (Dark Over Light) is being offered at auction for the first time in over a decade.

Jussi Pylkkänen, Christie’s Global President, remarked: “No. 7 (Dark Over Light), comes from a small and highly sought-after group of monumental canvases by Mark Rothko. Standing before this radiant picture, one is immediately enveloped by the dramatic brilliance of Rothko’s artistic vision. Between its intensely kinetic surface and its epic scale, No. 7 is a consummate example of Rothko’s ability to convey pure emotional power. Given the international demand for canvases of this quality by Mark Rothko, we expect that No. 7 will draw enthusiasm from collectors around the globe."

Rothko’s stated aim was to dissolve the traditional, and what he thought of as artificial boundaries, between paint and canvas, between painter and idea, and ultimately between the idea and the observer. To the artist, what the viewer saw was not a depiction an experience, it was the experience, and to this end he championed what he considered to be the two fundamental elements of picture making—space and color—making these the sole protagonists of his aesthetic drama. Reaching its height in his iconic Seagram Murals, this painterly struggle dominated Rothko’s work for a little over a decade, as in 1968, on the instructions of his doctors, he was forced to retreat into making smaller paintings, often no larger than 40 inches. As a result, works such No. 7 (Dark Over Light) represents the fullest and purest expression of Rothko’s unique artistic vision, one whose visual and emotional power is present in abundance in this magisterial canvas.

No. 7 (Dark Over Light) belongs to a small group of paintings that Rothko executed in the mid-1950s which feature large passages of predominately dark, moody color. Primarily, his paintings from this period are known for the triumphant schema of fiery reds, golden yellows and deep oranges. But in a handful of canvases he also introduced opposing hues, such as can be seen in the present work along with Untitled (Violet, Black, Orange on Gray), 1953 (National Gallery of Art Washington), No. 203 (Red, Orange, Tan and Purple), 1954 and Untitled (Red, Black, White on Yellow), 1955 (also in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). These dark paintings reflected not so much a "darkening" of Rothko's mood as a deepening of feeling.

In addition to color, size was also an important factor in Rothko achieving the necessary emotional intensity that he desired. As he explained, “I paint very large pictures. I realize that historically the function of painting large pictures is painting something very grandiose and pompous. The reason I paint them, however—I think it applies to other painters I know—it is precisely because I want to be very intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside you experience, to look upon an experience as a stereopticon view or with a reducing glass. However, you paint the larger picture, you are in it. It isn’t something you command.”

No. 7 (Dark Over Light) was first acquired by Count Alessandro Panza di Biumo, Sr. in 1961. He was the brother of the legendary Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, widely considered to be one of the most important collectors of postwar American Art. Works from the elder Panza di Biumo’s holdings later formed the basis for the collection of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and in the 1990s, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum filled a yawning gap in its holdings when it acquired, in a combined gift and purchase arrangement, more than 300 Minimalist sculptures and paintings from the collection.

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Among the Post-War Highlights is Willem de Kooning’s Untitled XVIII, 1976. Distinguished by its lavishly painted surface and riotous palette, Untitled XVIII epitomizes de Kooning’s last great cycle of “pastoral” paintings that ushered forth from the artist in a final flourish between the years 1976 and 1977. Widely considered to be among his best work, these large-scale landscapes—with Untitled XVIII a seminal example—evoke the bucolic splendor of the artist’s East Hampton studio at Springs. In exuberant strokes of effervescent, translucent paint, de Kooning captures and distills the essence of the seaside hamlet. Penetrated by an inner glow, the painting evokes the specific character of North Atlantic light, making it a harmonious ballet of color, form and gesture. Having featured in the seminal debut of de Kooning’s “pastoral” paintings at the Solomon R. Guggenheim in 1978, Untitled XVIII belongs to a select group of only about twenty paintings that the artist deemed worthy of exhibition, in what would be his first solo museum show in New York in nine years. Estimate: $8-12 million.

Update: Christie’s Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art May 15

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Kazimir Malevich, Suprematist Composition, 1916, oil on canvas. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018. 
Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist Composition, 1916, will lead Christie’s Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art (estimate upon request). Suprematist Composition is among the groundbreaking abstract paintings executed by Malevich that would forever change the course of art history. The present canvas was last sold at auction in November 2008, when it established the world auction record for the artist, which it continues to hold today.* One decade later, Suprematist Composition is expected to set a new benchmark for the artist when it is offered at Christie’s New York on May 15.

Loic Gouzer, Co-Chairman, Post-War and Contemporary Art, remarked: “Malevich’s work provided a gateway for the evolution of Modernism. Malevich pushed the boundaries of painting to a point far beyond recognition, forever changing the advancement of art. Without the Suprematist Composition paintings, the art being made today would not exist as we now know it.”

Max Carter, Head of Department, Impressionist and Modern Art, New York, continued: “Malevich’s Suprematist abstractions didn’t break with the past so much as articulate the future. What an honor to offer Suprematist Composition, 1916 which has lost nothing of its revolutionary power in the century since it was painted, this spring.”

On 17th December 1915, the Russo-Polish artist Kazimir Malevich opened an exhibition of his new ‘Suprematist’ paintings in the Dobychina Art Bureau in the recently renamed city of Petrograd. These startling, purely geometric and completely abstract paintings were unlike anything Malevich, or any other modern painter, had ever done before. They were both a shock and a revelation to everyone who saw them. Malevich’s Suprematist pictures were the very first purely geometric abstract paintings in the history of modern art. They comprised solely of simple, colored forms that appeared to float and hover over plain white backgrounds. Nothing but clearly-organized, self-asserting painted surfaces of non-objective/non- representational form and color, these pictures were so radically new that they seemed to announce the end of painting and, even perhaps, of art itself.

Suprematist Composition
is one of the finest and most complex of these first, truly revolutionary abstract paintings. Comprised of numerous colored, geometric elements seeming to be dynamically caught in motion, it epitomizes what Malevich defined as his ‘supreme’ or ‘Suprematist’ vision of the world. The painting is not known to have been a part of the exhibition in the Dobychina Art Bureau but is believed to date from this same period of creative breakthrough and, if not included, was, presumably painted very soon after the show closed in January 1916.

It is clear, from the frequency with which Malevich later exhibited the picture, that he thought very highly of the painting. Malevich subsequently chose, for example, to include Suprematist Composition in every other major survey of his Suprematist pictures made during his lifetime. These exhibitions ranged from his first major retrospective in Moscow in 1919 to the great travelling retrospective showcasing much of his best work that he brought to the West in 1927. It was as a result of his last exhibition held in Berlin that Suprematist Composition came to form part of the extraordinarily influential group of Malevich’s paintings that remained in the West and represent so much of his creative legacy.

Hidden in Germany throughout much of the 1930’s, Suprematist Composition and the other works from this great Berlin exhibition, were ultimately to become part of the highly influential holdings of Malevich’s work in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Until 2008, when it was restituted to the heirs of Malevich’s family in agreement with the Stedelijk museum, Suprematist Composition was on view in Amsterdam as part of the Stedelijk’s unrivalled collection of the artist’s work.


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Fernand Léger’s Les trois femmes au bouquet, 1922. 

When Léger received a medical discharge in early 1917, ending his front-line service, he had not picked up a paintbrush in fully three years. Léger needed to catch up on later synthetic cubism, constructivism, abstraction, and neo-plasticism, as well as the new classicism. Remarkably, just four years later, Léger had achieved a position at the very forefront of the avant-garde. His first fully fledged manifesto of this new idiom was Le grand déjeuner (The Museum of Modern Art, New York), which he exhibited at the 1921 Salon d’Automne; a preliminary version of this masterwork will be offered in the present sale (see dedicated press release here). However, Les trois femmes au bouquet, painted in 1922, represents the next stage in the evolution of Léger’s unique vision of the Three Graces. 

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In Le grand déjeuner, Léger directly confronted the theme of the female nude, by which so many past masters had staked their claim to artistic greatness. Seeking a more authentically modern subject, the artist expanded his focus to encompass the example of 17th century genre imagery, in which simple daily routines provide a pretext for monumental figure painting.  

Les trois femmes au bouquet, which centers upon the modest domestic luxury of a floral bouquet, is a key signpost in this development. Estimate: $12-18 million 

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Alberto Giacometti is represented by three works in the collection, including two sculptures and one painting. The group is led by La Clairière, conceived in 1950 and cast between 1950-1952. From 1948-1950 Alberto Giacometti created a series of multi-figure compositions that were shown in his second exhibition at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, in December 1950. The new sculptures proved to be a most astonishing development in his work. Whereas the most recently created highlights of his previous show had been large, figures and body parts, which were mainly male, the standing figures in Giacometti’s newest group sculptures were predominantly female. These works would establish the paradigm to which the artist would generally adhere for the rest of his career—woman as goddess and muse, modeled full-length, upright, immobile, viewed as if from a distance. 

The chance arrangement of the figures in La Clarière, each in its own scale, rejects any conventional sense of distance and consistent perspective. There is no single, definitive vantage point—this sculpture virtually reinvents itself for the viewer each time one approaches it. Estimate: $10-12 million.

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Joan Miró painted Femme entendant de la musique on 11 May 1945 —Germany had surrendered on 7 May, ending the Second World War in Europe. The western Allied democracies celebrated their V-E Day on the 8th, the Soviet Union the following day. Miró, residing in Barcelona, soon afterward received a letter from Henri Matisse dated Venice 8 May: “At last! Let us rejoice together.” One may appreciate in the animated calligraphy of Miró’s figures in this painting the artist’s joy at this welcome, long awaited news. For Miró, however they are more complex, as the events of the day were also a reminder of his own nation’s grim political reality. The whole of the Iberian Peninsula remained under fascist control, where it would remain for years to come. (Estimate: $10-15 million).

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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), L'Atelier, painted in Cannes, 24 October 1955. Oil on canvas, 74¾ x 31⅜ in (189.8 x 79.7 cm). Estimate: $5,000,000-7,000,000.

 Pablo Picasso’s L’Atelier, dated 28 October 1955, brims with sundry accoutrements of the artist’s profession.

This choc-a-bloc studio inventory is the fourth and most elaborate of the eleven Atelier canvases that Picasso painted between 23 and 31 October 1955:

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The occasion of the October Atelier series coincided with Picasso’s 74th birthday—25 October—the first that he celebrated in “La Californie,” having purchased the villa in the spring of that year. “He quickly responded to the stimulus of the place in a series of what he called paysages d’intérieur: interior landscapes,” Marie-Laure Bernadac explained. “For Picasso, his studio is a self-portrait in itself.” Moreover, The Atelier series is a sequel to the fifteen canvases of Les femmes d’Algers completed in February 1955, a second eulogy Picasso devoted to his rival, friend and sole acknowledged peer—Henri Matisse—who died in November 1954. Estimate: $6-9 million.

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The painted ceramic Tête de femme, 1953 (Musée Picasso, Paris) represents the classic studio encounter between artist and model.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Mary Cassatt, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Moran, Winslow Homer, Ernest Lawson, and Childe Hassam

The exhibition “Bloom Where You’re Planted: The Collection of Deen Day Sanders” features a vibrant and highly varied collection of American works of art, on view at the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia from May 19 to July 29, 2018.

“Bloom Where You’re Planted” is a singular opportunity for visitors to see that collection, and its presence in the state museum of art, on the campus of the state’s flagship public university is fitting. The exhibition will allow the public to view an impressively cohesive collection that tells a story both of American life and of Mrs. Sanders’ support of the State Botanical Garden, art and all things that grow.

Dating from the 19th to the early 20th century, the paintings, furniture, porcelain and other works in the exhibition emphasize the diversity of American art at this time. The exhibition focuses on themes of childhood, nature, still lifes, interiors and depictions of the American West and Native Americans. Together, they touch on every major trend in American art during the period, which speaks to Mrs. Sanders’ eye as a collector and to the quality and scope of the works in general.

The collection’s visual art in particular highlights a number of influential artists. One will find names such as Thomas Sully, Mary Cassatt, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Moran, Winslow Homer, Ernest Lawson, and the impressionist Childe Hassam among others. The show’s curator, Sarah Kate Gillespie (curator of American art at the museum), is especially proud of the inclusion of two rarely seen works by John Singer Sargent in the exhibition.

The exhibition “Bloom Where You’re Planted: The Collection of Deen Day Sanders” features a vibrant and highly varied collection of American works of art, on view at the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia from May 19 to July 29, 2018. The collector has a number of impressive distinctions, especially in relation to her philanthropy to the University of Georgia and the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. She has served as president of the Garden Club of Georgia, National Garden Clubs Inc. and, most recently, as vice president of the World Association of Floral Artists, as well as on the boards of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the US Botanic Garden and the Diplomatic Reception Rooms in Washington, D.C. She has also spent a significant portion of her life building one of the most notable art collections in the state of Georgia, at Bellmere, the home of Deen and Jim Sanders.

Raspberries and Sweet Pea by August Laux 

“Bloom Where You’re Planted” is a singular opportunity for visitors to see that collection, and its presence in the state museum of art, on the campus of the state’s flagship public university is fitting. The exhibition will allow the public to view an impressively cohesive collection that tells a story both of American life and of Mrs. Sanders’ support of the State Botanical Garden, art and all things that grow.

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Albert Bierstadt, "Pacific Coast"

Dating from the 19th to the early 20th century, the paintings, furniture, porcelain and other works in the exhibition emphasize the diversity of American art at this time. The exhibition focuses on themes of childhood, nature, still lifes, interiors and depictions of the American West and Native Americans. Together, they touch on every major trend in American art during the period, which speaks to Mrs. Sanders’ eye as a collector and to the quality and scope of the works in general.

Asher B.  Durand (American, 1796–1886), "Hudson River Scene," 1846.  Oil on canvas, 32 x 32 inches.  Collection of Deen Day Sanders.
Asher B. Durand (American, 1796–1886), "Hudson River Scene," 1846. Oil on canvas, 32 x 32 inches. Collection of Deen Day Sanders.

The collection’s visual art in particular highlights a number of influential artists. One will find names such as Thomas Sully, Mary Cassatt, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Moran, Winslow Homer, Ernest Lawson, and the impressionist Childe Hassam among others. The show’s curator, Sarah Kate Gillespie (curator of American art at the museum), is especially proud of the inclusion of two rarely seen works by John Singer Sargent in the exhibition.

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Frederick Childe Hassam, "The Giant Ailanthus October"

The museum will publish an exhibition catalogue including full-page color illustrations of every work on display as well as essays by Gillespie, Dale Couch, the museum’s curator of decorative arts,, Linda Chafin (conservation botanist at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia), UGA associate professor of history Akela Reason, UGA associate professor of education Jennifer Graff and others, which will be available for purchase in the Museum Shop.

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Jasper Francis Cropsey, "Sunset at Etretat" 

Friday, April 20, 2018

William Glackens and Pierre-Auguste Renoir

NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale 
October 21, 2018 through May 19, 2019
One of America’s leading modern artists, painter William Glackens (1870-1938) had a keen interest in the work of Pierre-Auguste Renoir that has long been recognized. He saw the French Impressionist's works in New York galleries as early as 1908 and had unique access to the growing collection of his friend and colleague, Albert C. Barnes. However, Glackens’ specific debt to the art of this important French modernist has never been fully explored. 

William J. Glackens, Lenna Dressed as Toy Soldier, c. 1923, Oil on canvas, Private Collection.

Pierre‑Auguste Renoir, The Young Soldier, c. 1880, Oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington,
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon

William Glackens and Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Affinities and Distinctions fills this void by bringing together 25 works by each artist that illuminate Renoir’s influence on Glackens’ artistic development. It also reveals how changes in Glackens' work after 1920 illustrate his response to Renoir's late work, as well as that of other important European modernists in Barnes' collection in order to forge his own distinctive American modernism. On view at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale from October 21, 2018 through May 19, 2019, the exhibition defines Glackens’ late style for the first time (c.1920 to 1938), and also sheds light on the history of taste in American collecting from the late-19th to the mid-20th century. 
William J. Glackens and Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Affinities and Distinctions is organized by NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale and is curated by Barbara Buhler Lynes, Ph.D., Sunny Kaufman Senior Curator. Following its presentation in Fort Lauderdale, the exhibition will also travel to other venues to be announced.
The exhibition demonstrates Glackens’ response to Renoir’s Impressionistic work from 1860 to the mid-1880s, which was avidly purchased by a wide variety of American collectors. Renoir’s late work from the mid-1880s to 1919 appealed to other influential collectors such as Leo Stein and Barnes. Glackens, who traveled to Paris in 1912 on behalf of Barnes, purchased works for his then fledgling collection. Glackens was the only American artist who subsequently had nearly carte blanche access to Barnes’ increasingly important collection of American and European modernist art, which consequently had a profound influence on Glackens' painting as demonstrated by Dr. Lynes in this exhibition.
Glackens presumably became aware of Renoir’s art as early as 1895, when he first visited Paris. However, his knowledge of Renoir did not play a role in the development of his work until after he attended the 1908 exhibition of 41 Renoir paintings at the Durand-Ruel Gallery, New York. When he was sent to Paris by Barnes in 1912, Glackens’ purchases included works by Renoir, Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and others. These acquisitions sparked Barnes' growing interest in modem European art as well as his enthusiasm for the late work of Renoir. Glackens’ study of the late Renoirs and the other works in Barnes’ collection by Cezanne, Matisse and Charles and Maurice Prendergast, shaped his continuing realization of his own conception of the modern.

 William J. Glackens and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Affinities and Distinctions (cover)
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue published by Skira, with essays by Bonnie Clearwater, Barbara Buhler Lynes of NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Avis Berman, independent scholar, and Martha Lucy, Deputy Director and Curator of the Barnes Collection.

Affinities and Distinctions
NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale
Essays by Avis Berman, Barbara Buhler Lynes, Bonnie Clearwater, Martha Lucy

Published by Skira Editore
Hardcover, 144 pages with 101 color illustrations and 148 b/w illustrations
Price: £ 28 / $ 35 US
The first book to reference and compare the works by two masters: Glackens and Renoir.
William James Glackens (1870-1938) was an American painter and a founder of the Ashcan School of American art. He is known for his work in helping Albert C. Barnes to acquire the European paintings that form the nucleus of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.
In 1912, Barnes sent Glackens to Paris to purchase works for his collection. This trip was just the beginning of Glackens' deep admiration and study into the work of Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
This book sheds new light onto Glackens' sensitivity to the works of specific artists whom precipitated his late style. In particular, his fascination with Renoir alongside artists such as Cézanne, Matisse and Charles and Maurice Prendergast, whom all can be found in Barnes' collection. Such admirations shaped Glackens' realization into his own conception of the modern.

The Water Lilies: American Abstract Painting and the Last Monet

In 1955, Alfred Barr brought one of Claude Monet’s large Water Lilies panels into the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, in New York, at a time when these great “decorations,” still in the studio in Giverny, were beginning to attract the attention of collectors and museums.

Monet was presented at that time as “a bridge between the naturalism of early Impressionism and the highly developed school of Abstract Art” in New York, with his Water Lilies seen in the context of Pollock’s paintings, such as  

 Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)

Autumn Rhythm (number 30), 1950.

The reception of these later Monet works resonated with American Abstract Expression, then coming into the museum collections.

 American Abstract Art Merges with Monet's Masterpieces at Musée de l’Orangerie
Claude Monet (1840-1926), "Blue Water Lilies," circa 1916-1919
(Paris, Musée d'Orsay © RMN-Grand Palais (Orsay Museum) / Hervé Lewandowski)

The exhibition The Water Lilies: American Abstract Painting and the Last Monet at the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris, now though August 20, 2018, includes a selection of some of Monet’s later works and around twenty major paintings by American artists. Shown with Monet's works are pieces by such artists as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Philip Guston, Joan Mitchell, Mark Tobey, Sam Francis, Jean-Paul Riopelle and Ellsworth Kelly.

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Claude Monet (1840-1926), Weeping Willow, between 1920 and 1922 Oil on canvas. H. 1.1; W. 1 cm Paris, musée d'Orsay. Philippe Meyer donation, 2000 © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d'Orsay) / Adrien Didierjean

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Detail of Claude Monet (1840-1926), Weeping Willow, between 1920 and 1922 Oil on canvas. H. 1.1; W. 1 cm Paris, musée d'Orsay. Philippe Meyer donation, 2000 © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d'Orsay) / Adrien Didierjean