Saturday, October 20, 2018

Sotheby’s Old Master Evening Sale, London: 5 December 2018

Two portraits of Charles I’s eldest children - the eleven year- old Prince of Wales, (later King Charles II), and his nine year- old sister Mary, the Princess Royal, (later, the mother of the future king, William III) will be among the highlight s of Sotheby’s London Old Master Evening sale on 5 December. 

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Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Portrait of Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange, 1641 Oil on canvas Estimate: £ 600,000 - 800,000 

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Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Portrait of Charles II, when Prince of Wales , 1641 Oil on canvas Estimate: £2 -3 million 

Among the very last works that Van Dyck painted for his royal patron, these charming, beautifully preserved portraits have been in the same private collection for nearly a century, and come fresh to market with a combined estimate of £2.6 million – 3.8 mil lion. Conceived and executed in the summer of 1641, months before the artist’ s death in December the same year, it is possible that they are the portraits of the Prince and the Princess recorded as being among the possession s left in the artist’s studio in Blackfriars on his death. Epitomising the extraordinary skill which V an Dyck brought to child portraiture, a genre in which he had excelled ever since his early years in Genoa, both works provide a penetrating likeness of the royal children at a time when their world , and the Stuart monarchy , was on the brink of collapse. Alex Bell, Sotheby’s Co -Chairman of Old Master Paintings , said: “ Van Dyck was responsible for creating the enduring image s of Charles I and his court, and in these exceptionally well -pre served portraits of his two eldest children we see the artist use his painterly skill to acknowledge both the youth and the status of his royal subjects. The tumultuous history of the Stuart court has always captured people’s imagination and with the addit ional interest sparked by the fascinating exhibitions in London this year, it is particularly timely for these royal portraits, which are extremely rare to the market, to come up for sale.’ Appointed ‘Principal Painter in Ordinary to Their Majesties ’ in 1632, Van Dyck created numerous portraits of Charles I, his wife Henrietta Maria, and their children, many of which still remain in the British Royal Collection. Depicting his sitters with a relaxed elega nce and understated authority, V an Dyck ’s sophisticated style d ominated English portraiture until t he end of the 18 th century. Portraying the eldest child of Charles I , the Portrait of Charles II, when Prince of Wales (estimate: £2- 3 million) is a unique likeness of the young prince and one of t he finest royal portraits of Van Dyck’s late career. Depicting the future heir to the throne standing in armour with the ribbon of the Garter, with his left hand resting on the hilt of his sword and his right on the head of a stick, this portrait mark s a d istinct shift in the representation of the young Prince. Moving away from the celebrated child portraits painted alongside his siblings, th e portrait exudes a more martial and adult gravitas , both in accoutrements and bearing. 

It is not known when the king gave the commission to paint such an important portrait of the Prince of Wales but the painting can probably be associated with a payment for the Prince’s barge, which on 9 August 1641 had ‘caryd his highness from Lambeth to Whithall and from thence to Sr Anthonye Vandickes and back again .’

 Although he was still very young, the Prince of Wales accompanied his father, Charles I, at the outbreak of the English Civil War, and was present at the battle of Edgehill in 1642. When by 1646 it was clear that his father was losing the war, Charles was made to flee England and take refuge on the continent. Following the king’s execution, Charles lead a number of unsuccessful campaigns to recover his throne. 

Following the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658 and the reformed parliament’s decision to restore the monarchy, Charles returned to England in 1660 as King Charles II.

 Painted shortly after her marriage to Prince Willem of Orange, the Portrait of Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange (estimate: £600,000 – 800,000), is the last of the artist’s likenesses of the young princess. t is one of three versions of the design , all most likely to have been painted in the summer of 1641. Mary is depicted wearing a fine orange silk dre ss edged with lace tied with blue ribb on, and both her wedding ring and the large diamond brooch given to her by her husband the day after their wedding on 2 April 1641. 

By this date Van Dyck was probably too unwell to finish the picture himself for it seems probable the painting of the Princess’ costume was entrusted to his studio. Following her marriage aged just nine years old, the Princess remained in London until February 1642, when she travelled with her mother to Holland to join her husband . She returned to England at the Restoration but died shortly thereafter. Her son, Willem III of Orange, later succeeded her brother Charles II and was crowned King William III of England in 1689.

November 15, Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale

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Francis Bacon, Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing, oil on canvas, 14 x 12 in., painted in 1969. Estimate: $14-18 million. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018.

On November 15, Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale will be highlighted by Francis Bacon’s Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing (estimate: $14-18 million). This coveted painting comes from the Collection of S.I. Newhouse, one of the greatest connoisseur art collectors of the 20th Century revered for his innate ability to recognize and acquire only pinnacle works: those that most fully embody the unique vision of their respective makers at the height of their power. Having only had two owners in its 49-year history, counting the artist’s sister, Ianthe Bacon, and Mr. Newhouse, Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing is now being offered at auction for the very first time.

Alex Rotter, Chairman, Post-War and Contemporary Art, continued: “Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing presents a striking closeup of Bacon’s iconic muse, which focuses not on her face, but the complexity of her psychological state. The artist’s incomparable ability to convey emotions with tangible poignance is on full display in this picture, making it a sure masterpiece within his oeuvre.”

Bacon’s Study of Henrietta Moraes 

Laughing magnetizes the viewer’s attention in part through the powerful mystery of his sitter’s equivocally closed eyes. The artist did not approach the empty canvas without an idea of what he wanted to paint, but the feelings he wanted to express – about himself, his subject, life, and death – would have been exceptionally difficult to express in paint without his astonishing dexterity and passionate conviction. Often unwell or anxious, Bacon worked alone in his studio, wrestling with his subject matter and the monumental task of capturing the poignancy of mortality in two dimensions. His inspiration, energy, and exhilaration resulted in Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing.

Henrietta Moraes was born Audrey Wendy Abbott, in Simla, India, in 1931. Raised mainly by an abusive grandmother, she never saw her father, who served in the Indian Air Force and deserted the family when her mother was pregnant. In escaping a troubled childhood, Moraes drifted into the London Soho milieu inhabited by Bacon, and modelled for artists. She was thirty-eight when Bacon painted Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing, with several suicide attempts and three failed marriages behind her. Moraes typified Bacon’s ideal woman-friend – sexually uninhibited, unconventional, spirited if vulnerable, gregarious, and a serious drinker. For her part, Moraes regarded Bacon as a prophet, principally because his paintings of her lying on a bed with a syringe in her arm had foretold the drug addiction to which she later succumbed. Bacon painted Moraes at least twenty-three times (counting each triptych as one work) between 1959 and 1969 but ceased to do so thereafter: Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing was the final named portrait of her.

The present painting was known formerly as Study of Henrietta Moraes, 1969; it was exhibited under that title in Bacon’s major retrospectives at the Grand Palais, Paris, in 1971, and at the Tate Gallery in 1985. Beyond identifying body positions (‘Seated’, ‘Lying’, ‘Reclining’) in his paintings, Bacon never appended adjectives to their titles, hoping to discourage anecdotal and narrative interpretations. He reportedly regretted adding the word ‘Laughing’ to the title of his final painting of Moraes and had Marlborough Fine Art remove it from the work’s official title.

Moraes’s laugh can definitely be described as enigmatic (her expression invites comparison with a smile), an indication that Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was in the back of Bacon’s mind. The sitter’s neckline, too, is similar to that of La Gioconda. Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing also has affinities with Picasso’s portrait of Dora Maar, Femme assise, robe bleue, 1939, wherein the sitter’s ‘smile’ has also been compared with that of the Mona Lisa. Bacon was probably aware of the coincidence that Maar’s first name was actually Henriette. These correlations, even if speculative, are particularly compelling in the context of Bacon’s theoretical discourse with Picasso.

Bacon, who was not close to his family, was very fond of his sister, Ianthe. And while Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing was likely intended for the artist’s 1971 retrospective at the Grand Palais, Paris, it was also a gift to Ianthe, whom he had visited in South Africa soon after completing the painting – a gesture that gives this work additional special status. The satisfaction that the exhibition at the Grand Palais gave Bacon was intensified by the fact that he was only the second artist to receive the honor in his lifetime; the first was Picasso, in 1966-67. The Paris exhibition was an occasion that manifestly provided the incentive for Bacon to excel, not least in terms of his continuing conversation with Picasso’s art. Ultimately, Picasso was the one twentieth-century artist Bacon respected, and against whom he measured himself.

Such were the risks Bacon took, technically as well as conceptually, that it was inevitable not all his paintings would succeed or ‘come off’, as he put it. He approached the blank canvas with a mixture of confidence and apprehension, and however strong his conviction may have been at the moment he began to apply the paint, he would recount – almost with surprise, as if he had been assisted by a miracle of outside intervention – that certain paintings had ‘come off’. He was referring to the gamble he took in the act of painting, one that relied, as he habitually insisted, on ‘chance’ or ‘accident’. His risk paid off with Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing.

On a canvas of relatively small dimensions such as this, the breadth and vigor of the paintwork on his large canvases would have been inappropriately over-scaled. Yet the brushstrokes conspicuously exhibit energy and dynamism, evinced in the blending and smearing of paint across the ‘nose’ and the virtuoso application of wet pigment pressed onto fabric above the teeth and across the left eye, a non-signifying, anti-verisimilitude strategy. The flickering paint simultaneously evokes the aura of a vivid memory – contemplative, almost melancholic – and a factual presence: Study of Henrietta Moraes Laughing is metaphorically alive, before us. 

Christie’s Old Masters Evening Sale on 6 December, 2018

‘Astonishing for its overarching quality’ — The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection

On the 6 and 7 of December in London, Christie’s will offer almost 400 lots from the celebrated Dutch collection of Eric Albada Jelgersma, including a pair of portraits by Frans Hals which are considered to be the finest left in private hands 

The top lot of the sale is a pair of portraits by the Dutch Golden Age painter Frans Hals (1580/5-1666). Dating from 1637, when the artist was at the pinnacle of his fame and fortune, the works depict an unidentified couple thought to be a prosperous Dutch merchant and his wife.

The pair of Hals portraits hanging in Mr Albada Jelgersmas home. Frans Hals (15805-1666), Portrait of a Gentleman, Aged 37 and Portrait of a Lady, Aged 36, 1637. Oil on canvas, (both) 36⅝ x 27 in (93 x 68.5 cm). Estimate £8,000,000-12,000,000. Offered in The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection Old Masters Evening Sale on 6 December 2018, as part of Classic Week, at Christie’s in

The pair of Hals portraits hanging in Mr Albada Jelgersma's home. Frans Hals (1580/5-1666), Portrait of a Gentleman, Aged 37 and Portrait of a Lady, Aged 36, 1637. Oil on canvas, (both) 36⅝ x 27 in (93 x 68.5 cm). Estimate £8,000,000-12,000,000. Offered in The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection Old Masters Evening Sale on 6 December 2018, as part of Classic Week, at Christie’s in London
While the paintings were on loan to The Fogg Museum at Harvard University, the renowned Hals scholar Seymour Slive observed that they are ‘outstanding, superlative works… in a near miraculous state of preservation.’ Their exceptional condition means that Hals’ fluid brushwork and subtly toned palette can be clearly appreciated.
An ‘imagined’ illustration of Eric Albada Jelgersma (1939-2018) surrounded by his collection

An ‘imagined’ illustration of Eric Albada Jelgersma (1939-2018) surrounded by his collection
Eric Albada Jelgersma (1939-2018) was just one of several illustrious owners of the Hals pictures, which are said to be the finest pair of portraits by the artist remaining in private hands. During the 19th century they belonged to the family of Count de Thiènnes, who lived in Castle Rumbeke, one of the oldest renaissance castles in Belgium.
In the 20th century they passed through the hands of Canadian railroad magnate and pioneering Impressionist collector William Cornelius Van Horne and the American diplomat J. William Middendorf II, before Jelgersma acquired them in 1996 from Robert Noortman, the Dutch art dealer and decade-long director of TEFAF art fair.

At that time Albada Jelgersma, a businessman from the south of Holland who had amassed a fortune in the supermarket wholesale industry, was well on his way to establishing his reputation as a connoisseur of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish masterpieces, acquiring works that covered each genre of Golden Age painting.

Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625) An Extensive Wooded Landscape, 1610. Oil on copper. 20¾ x 28½ in (52.7 x 72.4 cm). Estimate £3,00,000-5,000,000. Offered in The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection Old Masters Evening Sale on 6 December 2018 at Christie’s in London

Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625) An Extensive Wooded Landscape, 1610. Oil on copper. 20¾ x 28½ in (52.7 x 72.4 cm). Estimate: £3,00,000-5,000,000. Offered in The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection Old Masters Evening Sale on 6 December 2018 at Christie’s in London
Mr Albada Jelgersma’s collection also includes one of the largest landscapes Jan Brueghel the Elder ever painted on copper (above), and important genre paintings by Gerard Ter Borch, Michiel van Musscher and Dirck Hals, as well as Merry Company, a scene of three young revellers by Judith Leyster (below). This particularly rare work by the greatest female painter of the Dutch Golden Age was painted in 1629 when the artist was just 20 years old, and demonstrates her precocious talent.

Judith Leyster (1609-1660), Merry Company. Oil on canvas. 29⅜ x 24⅞ in (74.5 x 63.2 cm). Estimate £1,500,000-2,000,000. Offered in The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection Old Masters Evening Sale on 6 December 2018 at Christie’s in London

Judith Leyster (1609-1660), Merry Company. Oil on canvas. 29⅜ x 24⅞ in (74.5 x 63.2 cm). Estimate: £1,500,000-2,000,000. Offered in The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection Old Masters Evening Sale on 6 December 2018 at Christie’s in London
Other notable highlights include Anthony van Dyck’s monumental painting of Venus and Adonis  (below), which is a rare disguised double-portrait of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, and his wife Katherine Manners, as the characters from Classical mythology. Painted in 1620, most probably to celebrate the couple's marriage, then rediscovered in 1990, the canvas is one of only three works datable to Van Dyck’s first trip to England — and the only one still in a private collection.

Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), Venus and Adonis. Oil on canvas. 87¾ x 64⅛ in (222.9 x 163 cm). Estimate £2,500,000-3,000,000. Offered in The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection Old Masters Evening Sale on 6 December 2018 at Christie’s in London

Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), Venus and Adonis. Oil on canvas. 87¾ x 64⅛ in (222.9 x 163 cm). Estimate: £2,500,000-3,000,000. Offered in The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection Old Masters Evening Sale on 6 December 2018 at Christie’s in London
In addition, the evening sale features a selection of still life paintings, including a small-scale masterpiece by Ambrosuis Bosschaert the Elder and a monumental Frans Snyders canvas (below).
Frans Snyders (1579-1657), Larder. Oil on canvas. 66⅝ x 93⅛ in (169.2 x 236.5 cm). Estimate £1,000,000-1,500,000. Offered in The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection Old Masters Evening Sale on 6 December 2018 at Christie’s in London
Frans Snyders (1579-1657), Larder. Oil on canvas. 66⅝ x 93⅛ in (169.2 x 236.5 cm). Estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000. Offered in The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection Old Masters Evening Sale on 6 Image result
Portrait of Princess Mary (1631–1660), daughter of King Charles I of England, full-length, in a pink dress decorated with silver embroidery and ribbons by Sir Anthony van Dyck, 1641, will be offered from a Distinguished Private Collection in Christie’s Old Masters Evening Sale on 6 December, during Christie’s Classic Week (estimate: £5,000,000-8,000,000). Commissioned to celebrate the crucial alliance between the British crown and the House of Orange, this intimate ad vivum (from life) portrait of Princess Mary, the finest portrait of the type, is remarkable for its royal provenance, the superb quality of its draughtsmanship and its exceptional condition. It is one of the most important European Royal Portraits to come to auction for a generation. 

The painting will go on public view for the first time, ahead of the auction, at Christie’s Shanghai on 19 until 21 September, later touring to New York where it will be on public view from 25 to 30 October and to Hong Kong between 23 and 26 November, ahead of the pre-sale public exhibition in London from 1 to 6 December.
John Stainton, Deputy Chairman, Old Master Paintings, Christie’s EMERI:  

“This beautifully-preserved full-length portrait of Princess Mary, eldest daughter of King Charles I of England, and future mother of King William III of England, was one of the last commissions executed by van Dyck, in the summer of 1641, only months before the artist’s premature death at the age of forty-two. It bears many of the hallmarks of his remarkable genius – in the subtle rendering of the sitter’s physiognomy, the masterful depiction of the shimmering drapery, the brilliance of the palette, and the assured draughtsmanship and deft handling of the paint. A work of the finest quality, it represents the culmination of all that van Dyck had learnt from his master, Peter Paul Rubens, and from his Venetian predecessors, notably Titian. By developing his own distinctive style of portraiture, characterised by a calm authority and supreme elegance, van Dyck both revolutionised portraiture in Europe and left a legacy for future generations of artists from Gainsborough and Lawrence, to Sargent and Freud.”

 Identified by Sir Oliver Millar as one of two portraits commissioned from van Dyck for the court at The Hague, this painting would originally have formed part of the prestigious collection of the Princes of Orange, Stadtholders of the United Provenances of the Netherlands. It would likely have been displayed in one of their principal palaces, possibly at Binnenhof Palace in The Hague, where Princess Mary lived with her husband William, alongside works by many of the principal Dutch and Flemish painters of the seventeenth century. 

In July 1632, van Dyck was appointed ‘Principal Painter in Ordinary to their Majesties’ by King Charles I of England. A passionate collector and patron, the King had long hoped to attract a painter of such exceptional status and renown to his service, and found in van Dyck an artist not only capable of fulfilling his desire for magnificent portraits and paintings, but also one who shared his tastes, especially for Venetian pictures. The style, refinement and brilliance of van Dyck’s portraits was unprecedented in England; the artist instilled in his sitters a new sense of vitality and movement and his bravura technique allowed him to enliven the entire surface of his works with light, assured dashes of paint, as exemplified in the present portrait.

Van Dyck first painted the sitter in the weeks immediately following his arrival in London in 1632, when the young Princess Royal was shown with her parents, King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria, and elder brother, the future King Charles II. The monumental group portrait, known as ‘The Greate Peece’, dominated the King’s Long Gallery in the Palace of Whitehall (The Royal Collection). The earliest single portraits of Princess Mary, which show her full-length in a blue dress, with her hands linked together across her stomach – a pose that echoes van Dyck’s earlier portraits of her mother – were painted in or before 1637, and are now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and at Hampton Court. Four years later, she sat again to van Dyck with her fifteen-year-old husband, Prince William of Orange, for the double portrait now in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, as well as for the present work.

In both the present work and in the Rijksmuseum double portrait, Mary is shown wearing her wedding ring and the large diamond brooch given to her by her husband on 3 May 1641, the day after their marriage. Her spectacular coral gown, decorated with silver thread trim along its border, is thought to be similar to that worn for her wedding, rather than the cloth of silver-gold she wears in the Rijksmuseum picture. The apparent weight of the fabric, falling in broad, heavy folds, along with the bright highlights along the creases, suggest the fabric may have been cloth of silver. Shimmering highlights, applied in swift, cross-hatched strokes, were used as a form of shorthand by artists, mimicking the lustre of metallic threads as the textile caught the light. In accordance with the fashion of the period, her gown is open down the front, revealing a stiffened stomacher across the chest and a matching skirt beneath. The ribbons, which would at one time have been functional, lacing the skirt and stomacher to the bodice, were applied purely as adornment. One ribbon, however has been pinned or stitched flat to disguise the seam between the bodice and skirt. Details such as the Princess’s brooch, the string of pearls and ribbons on her shimmering dress are rendered with remarkable precision and delicacy, characteristics that defined the artist’s finest late works.
Princess Mary was born on 4 November 1631 at St. James’s Palace, the eldest daughter of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria. She was baptized on the same day by William Laud, Bishop of London. On 2 May 1641, at the age of nine, she was married to William II, son of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange and Amalia von Solms, at the Chapel Royal, Whitehall Palace. Mary remained in England for a year after the marriage, eventually following her husband to Holland in 1642, accompanied by her mother and a train of four hundred courtiers. 
In March 1647, William II succeeded his father as Stadholder of the Dutch Republic and Mary became Princess of Orange. Her new position at court, however, caused conflict with her mother-in-law. The ill health which Frederick Henry had suffered between 1640 and his death in 1647 had meant that Amalia had effectively ruled as Regent and Stadtholder during this time. Mary’s appearance at court seems to have represented something of a challenge to her mother-in-law, with one of Mary’s ladies allegedly saying that ‘it was time the princess should run the country’, since Amalia had done so for so long.
In November 1650, following his failed attempt to capture Amsterdam from his political opponents, William II died of smallpox. Eight days later, Mary gave birth to a son, the future William III of England. His baptism saw the rivalry between Mary and Amalia erupt once again: despite Mary’s desire to christen her child Charles, in honour of her father, Amalia insisted that he be called William. Mary’s position in Holland became increasingly precarious during her widowhood. She was obliged to share the guardianship of her infant son and the Regency of Holland with Amalia, and her uncle-in-law Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg. 
Amalia was reported to be ‘hateful of all things English’ and Mary’s continuous support of the Royalist cause in England provoked considerable hostility at court. This was no doubt exacerbated by her brothers, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York, who had come to The Hague in 1648 and 1649, where they borrowed large sums of money from her husband. Indeed, after the Anglo-Dutch war, which had begun in 1652, was concluded by a peace treaty in May 1654, all ‘enemies’ of Parliamentarian England were banned from the Netherlands, thus forbidding Mary to welcome her brothers on Dutch soil again. 
After the Restoration of Charles II to the English throne in 1660, Mary’s position changed dramatically for the better in the Netherlands. She returned to her homeland in September of Charles’ coronation year, where, after a short illness with smallpox, she died at Whitehall on 24 December.

Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art this November

Sotheby’s announced a few more works in its World War I-themed sale within a sale, The Beautiful and Damned. Today’s announcement includes an Oskar Kokoschka and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner work. Each work is being restituted and will be sold with an estimate of between $15 and $20m.
Sotheby’s is honored to announce that two Modern masterworks recently restituted to the heirs of art-world luminary Alfred Flechtheim will highlight theirImpressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on 12 November 2018.

Among the finest examples by their respective artists ever to appear at auction, Oskar Kokoschka’s portrait ofJoseph de Montesquiou-Fezensac from 1910 (estimate $15/20 million) and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s compelling Das Soldatenbad (Artillerymen) from 1915 (estimate $15/20 million) both encapsulate the seismic shifts occurring in visual arts during the period leading up to and including the onset of World War I. They also serve as testaments to Flechtheim’s passion for collecting exceptional Expressionist works.

In addition to their inherent art historical significance, both paintings are distinguished by their illustrious provenance and remarkable stories of restitution to Flechtheim’s heirs.  Prior to its restitution earlier this year, Kirchner’s Das Soldatenbadhad resided in the distinguished collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York for three decades, and in The Museum of Modern Art prior to that. Like the Kirchner,Kokoschka’s Joseph de Montesquiou-Fezensac was voluntarily returned to Flechtheim’s heirs in 2018 by the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. As in the past, the Flechtheim heirs are expecting to use some of the proceeds for charitable causes, and for Holocaust remembrance and education purposes.
Sotheby’s  The Triumph of Color: Important Works from a  Private  European  Collection in  theauctions  of Impressionist & Modern Art this November in New York.

Put  together  primarily  in  the  1970s  and  ‘80s,  the  collection  today  represents  one  of  the  finest  assemblages  of  post-Impressionist    and    Modern    Art    in    private    hands.    The    collection is defined by three superb masterworks by Wassily Kandinsky  and  rare  works  by  the  key  protagonists  of  Fauvism  and   German   Expressionism.  

 Several   of   the   paintings   were loaned  to  the  Courtauld  Institute  of  Art  in  London  for  over  fifteen  years,  where  they  provided  a unique display of works from the Fauve movement, the Expressionists and the route to Abstraction in the early-20th century.

Helena Newman, Head of Sotheby’s Worldwide Impressionist & Modern Art Department, commented: “Infused  with  an  intensity  of  color  and  expression,  this  collection  of  works  provides  a  rare  and exciting   opportunity   to   acquire   several   exceptional examples   of   early-20th   Century   Art.   It   is   unprecedented  for  three  major  paintings  by  Kandinsky,  each  from  a  key  moment  in  the  artist’s  creativity,  to  appear  at  auction  together,  and  complemented  by  stunning  examples  by  the  Fauves  and the German Expressionists, the collection encapsulates the triumph of color in art at the start of the 20th century.’’The three major paintings by Wassily Kandinsky chart the artist’s development across four decadesfrom the earliest successes to his greatest achievements. 

Wassily Kandinsky, Zum Thema Jüngstes Gericht (detail). Painted in 1913. Estimate $22/35 million. Courtesy Sotheby's. 

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The group is led by one of the last 1913 oil paintings left in private hands, Zum Thema Jüngstes Gericht, a unique composition from this prime year of Kandinsky’s career, during which he reached the summit of his path to Abstraction (estimate $22/35 million).

Wassily Kandinsky, Le rond rogue. Painted in 1939. Estimate $18/25 million. Courtesy Sotheby's.  

A stunning composition from the artist’s Paris period, painted in 1939, Le rond rouge is an exceptional large-format oil on canvas dating from the exhilarating years he spent in France (estimate $18/25 million).

The core of the collection has always been works by the Fauves, including three outstanding canvases by Maurice de Vlaminck. Paysage au bois mort (estimate $12/18 million), Pêcheur à Chatou (estimate $9/14 million) and Nu couché (estimate $2/3 million) represent the full spectrum of Vlaminck’s greatest achievements. Executed in 1905 and 1906 at the height of the Fauve movement, the three works boast remarkable, thickly-painted surfaces and vivid palettes.

Further highlights include exceptional works by some of the key artists of the German Expressionist movement, including Alexej von Jawlensky, Max Pechstein, August Macke and Heinrich Campendonk.

Sotheby’s will offer 33 works in total from the collection across their Evening and Day Sales of Impressionist & Modern Art in New York on 12 & 13 November, together estimated to sell for in excess of $90 million. Highlights are now on view in their London galleries as part of Frieze week exhibitions, and will travel to Hong Kong this fall, before returning to New York for the full viewing of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern and Contemporary Art auctions beginning 2 November. 

An  early  abstract  masterpiece,  Improvisation  auf  Mahagoni,  was  painted  at  the  end of the artist’s Murnau period (estimate $15/20 million). A stunning composition from the artist’s 

 Sotheby’s  is  honored  to  announce  that  Egon  Schiele’s  masterwork  landscape

Egon Schiele, Dämmernde Stadt (Die Kleine Stadt II) (City in Twilight (The Small City II)) signed Egon Schiele and dated 1913 (centre left) oil on canvas 35 5/8 by 35 1/2in. Painted circa 1913. Estimate $12/18 million. Courtesy Sotheby's.

Dämmernde  Stadt(Die  Kleine  Stadt  II)  (City  in  Twilight  (The  Small  City  II)) will highlight the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on 12 November 2018.Painted in 1913,Dämmernde Stadt is one of Schiele's finest    landscapes    remaining    in    private    hands,    with comparable   works   now   principally   found   in   museum  collections.  The  dreamlike  view  above  the  city  of Krumau -  birthplace  of  the  artist's  mother  - documents  the  pivotal  period  during  which  Schiele  established    his    singular    and    now-iconic    visual    language,   after   years   of   shadowing   his   mentor   Gustav Klimt.Independent of its art historical importance, the work is  distinguished  by  the  remarkable  family  history  it  has  brought  to  life.Dämmernde  Stadt was  purchased  in  1928  by  Elsa  Koditschek,  a  young Jewish widow  living  in  Vienna.  During  the  course  of  her  harrowing  persecution  by  the  Nazis  following  the  annexation  of  Austria  in  1938,  the  work  was  forcibly  sold  in  payment  of  alleged  debts  to  the  very  person who helped Elsa survive. Sotheby's will present the work this November as the resolution of a joint and private restitution between the present owners and Elsa's heirs.Elsa's story is told today through an extensive and incredibly rare family archive of correspondence she  wrote  throughout  the  war  and  for  years  after.  However,  her  heirs  had  remained  unaware  of  the  landscape until recent years, when Sotheby's research on an unrelated picture uncovered reference to  the  Koditschek  name.  Lucian  Simmons,  Sotheby's  Worldwide  Head  of  Restitution,and  Andrea  Jungmann, 

Managing  Director  of  Sotheby’s  Austria,initiated a dialogue between the family and the present owners that has ultimately resulted in the present offering.Dämmernde Stadt is now on public view in Sotheby's London galleries for the first time in nearly 50 years,  through  9  October.  The  landscape  will  return  to  our  New  York  headquarters  for  the  full  exhibitions  of  our  Impressionist  &  Modern  and  Contemporary  Art  auctions,  which  open  on  2  November. Dämmernde Stadt is estimated to sell for $12/18 million in the 12 November auction.

’DÄMMERNDE STADT (DIE KLEINE STADT II) The  series  of  large-scale  townscapes  painted  by  EgonSchiele  between  1913  and  1917  show  him  working  at  the  apex of his artistic powers, experimenting with elements of  composition,  color  and  form  that  would  eventually  lead him to Abstraction.Dämmernde Stadt  depicts  the  small,  medieval  town  of  Krumau,  the  birthplace  of  Schiele’s  mother  and  one  of  only two locations that are the subjects of his celebrated landscapes.  Referred  to  by  Schiele  as  the  ‘‘ dead  city’’ , Krumau’s  compact  configuration  was  intriguing  to  the  artist, who captured its winding streets and crumbling buildings from perched atop the high left bank of  the  Moldau  river  -  known  today  as  the  Vltava  in  the  Czech  Republic.   The  result  of  this  radical  approach  to  perspective  is  a  flat  pictorial  dreamscape  that  reflects  both  his  highly-personalized interpretation, as well as his emotional and psychological response to the storied town.These  stylistic  element
s  manifest  in  myriad  characteristics  throughout  the  canvas:  the  boldly-delineated shapes  of  buildings’  rooftops;  twilight  cast  in  a  muted  palette;  and  windows  aglow  with  brilliant,  jewel-likecolors  reminiscent  of  Gothic  stained-glass.  In  looking  to  a  Medieval  past,  Schiele  was aligned with a contemporary strain of Gothic revivalism. However he was also attuned with the artistic  movements  developing  concurrently  across  Europe  at  the  time.  His  adoption  of  the  high  viewpoint  and  his  growing  sensitivity  to  formal  relations  suggest  that  he  was  looking  at  the  work  of  Post-Impressionist  artists,  such  as  Vincent  van  Gogh  and  Paul  Cézanne.  The  influence  of  Klimt’s experiments with form, and the square format in particular, are also apparent in the present work was aligned with a contemporary strain of Gothic revivalism. However he was also attuned with the artistic  movements  developing  concurrently  across  Europe  at  the  time.  His  adoption  of  the  high  viewpoint  and  his  growing  sensitivity  to  formal  relations  suggest  that  he  was  looking  at  the  work  of  Post-Impressionist  artists,  such  as  Vincent  van  Gogh  and  Paul  Cézanne.  The  influence  of  Klimt’s experiments with form, and the square format in particular, are also apparent in the present work.

Christie’s November 11 Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale, Including Property from the Collection of Herbert and Adele Klapper.

Working with prominent gallerists and auction house specialists, the Klappers steadily acquired important examples of Old Master paintings, Impressionist, and Modern art. The couple carefully curated their assemblage to focus on the very best by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Jean Arp, Claude Monet, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Edgar Degas.
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Leading the collection is Claude Monet’s L’escalier à Vétheuil, 1881 ($12-18 million) – pictured left. With its extraordinary profusion of flowers and foliage, this sun-drenched canvas captures the splendor of high summer in Monet’s garden at Vétheuil, a rural hamlet that the artist called home from 1878 until 1881. The staircase at the center of the canvas acts as the compositional anchor for a series of four closely related views of the house and garden, which Monet created during the height of the summer sunshine.

The present L’escalier à Vétheuil was most likely the first in the series to be created, its close-up view of the unpopulated steps suggesting that the artist set his easel on the upper terrace to capture the view. The decorative quality of the Vétheuil garden scenes very clearly appealed to the contemporary market. Monet sold all three of the plein air canvases within a year or two of their execution, retaining only the National Gallery studio variant for himself. The first owner of the present version was the Pennsylvania Railroad tycoon Alexander Cassatt, the brother of Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt and a pioneering American collector of the New Painting; the canvas entered his collection around 1883, when Monet’s work was still little known across the Atlantic. In the spring of the same year, Monet and his extended family moved downriver to Giverny, where the artist’s garden as a subject for modern painting would eventually reach its apogee. L’escalier à Vétheuil is the last of the four from the series remaining in private hands: one version hangs in the National Gallery in Washington; D.C., another is in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena; and the third was bequeathed by the legendary California businessman, philanthropist and collector, A. Jerrold Perenchio, to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2014.

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Picasso’s inspiration in creating the pastel Femme accoudée, 1921 ($10-15 million) – pictured on  right – was twofold, as he pursued parallel interests in matters of subject and style. The sitter is the artist’s wife Olga, née Khokhlova, whom he met in 1917 while she was a leading dancer in Serge Diaghilev’s Les Ballets Russes. They married the following year, and soon after took an apartment on the rue la Boétie, the new epicenter of the Parisian art trade. Sales were making Picasso a wealthy man. On 4 February 1921, Olga presented her husband, with a son as his first-born, the sole male heir on his side of the Ruiz-Picasso family. The grateful artist celebrated the event in a series of maternity drawings and paintings, while also honoring Olga as a timeless model of graceful, fruitful femininity in figure paintings and portraits.

Picasso typically relished the idea of working against the grain of convention, and contravened “the call to order” in the aberrant facial and body proportions he chose to employ in his classical figures. In Femme accoudée, Picasso subjected Olga’s finely boned Slavic features to subtle rococo distortions, widening the space between her eyes while miniaturizing her lips. Present here, too, as a hallmark of Picasso’s classical manner, is the apparent enlargement of the sitter’s arms and hands. Such anti-naturalistic elasticity in plastic forms stems from precedents in Picasso’s earlier figurative styles, as well as his cubist practice, and would prevail throughout his subsequent oeuvre.

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Painted on 28 November 1924, Pablo Picasso’s Buste de femme au voile bleu ($8-12 million) –  is among the last of a series of elegant and hauntingly enigmatic neoclassical portraits that the artist painted during the early years of the decade. The sitter’s dark hair, pensive, melancholy gaze, and fine, flawlessly chiseled features immediately bespeak the presence and character of Olga Khokhlova. This painting showcases the culminating, subtle power of expression that Picasso could summon forth while working in the urbane and coolly sensual style of portraiture Olga had inspired in his work. Within months, the artist’s decade-long fascination with classicism would give way to an utterly transformative immersion in the convulsive intensity of the surrealist revolution.

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Painted in 1896, Danseuse ($6-8 million), is among Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s most notable works in the ballet theme. As Lautrec stepped into his studio, he gazed upon his model as she was adjusting the layers of tulle in the ballet tutu she had just put on, in preparation for their working session together. Leaning toward a large mirror, the young woman would have appeared to the artist as if she were bowing to an audience. Her off-center posture, the angled polygon of her shoulders and bent back arms created an impromptu and pictorially perfect contrapposto effect. Quickly appreciating the beauty of the moment, Lautrec would paint his model in precisely this way. The result is this quiet, mysterious painting, a fortuitous success of timing and observation, a sensitive evocation of a lone figure in an intimate, moody ambience. Lautrec’s Danseuse includes in its distinguished provenance the renowned German-born dealer Justin K. Thannhauser, whose collection was given its own wing in The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. A subsequent owner was Arthur Murray, a specialist in ball-room dancing, who developed lessons and trained instructors in this activity. In 1938 Murray founded the dance studio franchise that bears his name.

Sotheby’s: 14 November, Contemporary Art Evening Auction, American Art Auction on 16 November

David Hockney’s large-scale painting Montcalm Interior with 2 Dogs from 1988, a highly regarded period within the artist’s career, will highlight their Contemporary Art Evening Auction in New York on 14 November 2018. The work comes to auction from the collection of legendary television producer and writer Steven Bochco, who acquired it in 1997, and appears at auction for the first time this fall with an estimate of $9/12 million.

Jacqueline Wachter, Sotheby's Vice President of Private Sales, Contemporary Art, said:

“We are thrilled to present this dynamic Los Angeles interior to collectors on the West Coast next week and to bring it to auction for the first time in November. Los Angeles has played a major role in Hockney’s life and work, and this painting is an excellent illustration of that relationship. This piece is also one of the greatest Hockney’s to be kept in a private California collection, out of public view for the last 20 years. It is a particular privilege to offer this painting from the collection of the late Steven Bochco – himself a legend of the entertainment industry and of the city of Los Angeles."

Lit with the bright glow of California sunshine, Montcalm Interior with 2 Dogs encapsulates Hockney’s evolution in the tradition of interior painting, while also displaying his unique interpretation of the genre. Painted in 1988 – the same year as his first, critically-acclaimed U.S. retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art – the canvas captures a room within Hockney’s Montcalm Avenue home in Los Angeles, which he purchased in the summer of 1979.

This home went on to inspire a number of the artist’s most iconic paintings of the late-1980s, including the sister painting to the present work,

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 Large Interior, Los Angeles, which has been held in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York since 1989. Montcalm Interior with 2 Dogs was featured prominently in the artist’s 1992-93 retrospective organized by Fundación Juan March, Madrid, which traveled to both the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels and the Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona. The work has not been exhibited publicly since.

At once highly personalized and deeply rooted in art historical tradition, Montcalm Interior with 2 Dogs exemplifies Hockney’s ability to merge the painterly techniques of the past with his own distinctive, inventive, and remarkably intimate experience of reality. Painting with vivid brushstrokes and vibrant, raw colors that clearly evoke the post-Impressionist masters whom he greatly admired, Hockney flattens space to enhance the emotional and physical immediacy of the viewing experience. In this way, Montcalm Interior with 2 Dogs showcases the rich, saturated color application and deft handling of space that are characteristic of Hockney’s greatest paintings. 

On 14 November, Sotheby’s will present works by O’Keeffe in a Contemporary Art Evening Auction for the first time: A Street from 1926, one of the most psychologically penetrating paintings from the artist’s rare and distinguished series of New York cityscapes (estimate $12–18 million), and Calla Lilies on Red from 1928, a vibrant depiction of the flower with which O’Keeffe would become synonymous (estimate $8–12 million).

Our American Art Auction on 16 November will feature Cottonwood Tree in Spring from 1943, which reveals the profound inspiration O’Keeffe gleaned from the American Southwest (estimate $1.5–2.5 million).

Robert A. Kret, Director of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, said:

“Museum leadership, with the endorsements of the donors and Board of Trustees, selected these works to de-accession after very careful and thoughtful consideration. Removing an artwork from the collection is never an easy thing for any museum to do, but it is an integral part of good collections management to continually build and refine our holdings.”

“A Street, Calla Lilies on Red, and Cottonwood Tree in Spring represent some of O’Keeffe’s most beloved subjects. They are bold, strong, wonderful paintings that epitomize everything that made Georgia O’Keeffe a master of American Modernism.”
Cody Hartley, Senior Director, Collections and Interpretation, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum
Grégoire Billault, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Department in New York, said:

“Georgia O’Keeffe remains one of the most singular artistic voices of the last century – nothing looks like an O’Keeffe – and the diversity of this particular group of paintings touches upon the breadth and depth of her iconic career. Her images are not only an essential part of American culture, but are now appreciated on an international stage among the great works of her time. We are thrilled to present these superb paintings in a new and wider context this November, sparking dialogues between O’Keeffe’s work and that of artists spanning the 20th and 21st centuries. It is a great privilege for Sotheby’s to work with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum again this fall.” 

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In May 2014, Sotheby’s sold Georgia O’Keeffe’s iconic flower painting Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 to benefit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum’s Acquisitions Fund. The painting achieved a remarkable $44.4 million, setting a world auction record for any work by a female artist that still stands today. Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 now resides in the collection of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, and was the star of the blockbuster retrospective Georgia O’Keeffe at the Tate Modern and Art Gallery of Ontario in 2016–17.

Painted In 1926, A Street is one of the most physically imposing and psychologically penetrating works from the distinguished series of New York cityscapes that Georgia O’Keeffe created between 1925 and 1929. Critics now regard this small but powerful series of some 20 works as standing among the most satisfying, painterly, and memorable of her career. The cityscapes stand as both a personal and universal expression of the ambivalence of urban existence – the simultaneous glorification and condemnation of the overwhelming human and mechanical energy of a city.

O’Keeffe began her New York life in 1918. Following her marriage to the influential photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz in 1924, the couple moved to an apartment building on East 58th Street. It was here that O’Keeffe began her fascination with the skyscraper, observing the construction of the Shelton Hotel at Lexington Avenue and 49th Street in Midtown Manhattan – a building the couple moved into in 1925. The identifiable buildings from her subsequent cityscapes were all found within walking distance of the Shelton, which the artist often presented as simplified masses – isolated icons of New York’s unique modernity.

When O’Keeffe began her cityscapes, Stieglitz cautioned her against what he considered a man’s topic. They stood in stark contrast to O’Keeffe’s sinuous abstractions and flowers, and represented a bold challenge to her male contemporaries and critics. The series served as inspiration for Joan Mitchell’s rebellious cityscapes from the early 1950s – among others – which similarly revolt against the stereotypical hyper-masculinity of Abstract Expressionism.

Between 1918 and 1932, Georgia O’Keeffe created more than 200 flower paintings. But it was arguably in the calla lily that the artist found her ideal motif, one that provided the perfect synthesis of subject and form that now defines her most celebrated work.

O’Keeffe painted Calla Lilies on Red in 1928. She would ultimately depict the calla lily eight times in this period, both in oil and pastel, revisiting the blossom on each occasion with a new viewpoint or altered perspective. In the present work, she emphasizes the verticality of the flower’s delicate form by presenting an elongated picture plane with its sensuous petals at center. She utilizes vibrant hues of red and green, which contrast dramatically the white flower, to imbue the canvas with energy and vitality, and emphasizes the simple elegance of the flower’s curves by reducing extraneous details.

O’Keeffe started to visit New Mexico regularly in 1929 when, in an effort to escape city life, she left New York to spend the summer there. While the stark simplicity and expansiveness of the desert landscape always strongly appealed to O’Keeffe’s artistic sensibilities, this particular trip proved transformative for her both personally and artistically.

Works such as Cottonwood Tree in Spring reveal the profound inspiration O’Keeffe gleaned from the American Southwest. The sublime beauty of the landscape provided a free range for her imagination, and she would continue to investigate its imagery for the remainder of her life, returning almost every summer until 1949 when she made Abiquiu her permanent home. While the artist had always utilized the natural world as the basis for her unique visual language, in New Mexico her art gained an even deeper intimacy and, in works such as Cottonwood Tree in Spring, it transcends a literal study of nature to evoke the spiritual connection she felt with her adopted home.