Impressionist & Modern Art Sale at Sotheby’s NY

Sotheby’s fall sales of Impressionist and Modern Art will include an impressive offering of paintings and sculpture by 19th and 20th century masters such as Gustav Klimt, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Alberto Giacometti, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne and Alexej von Jawlensky, among others. The evening sale will be highlighted by one of most important works by the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt ever to appear on the market, Landhaus am Attersee. Painted in 1914, during the summer he spent with the family of his muse, Emilie Flöge, on the south shore of the Attersee, the painting is estimated to sell for $18/25 million. Prior to the November auctions, the works will be on view in Sotheby’s 10th floor galleries from November 1st through 1pm on November 5th.

Gustav Klimt’s Landhaus am Attersee – David Norman, Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Department Worldwide, said: “Landhaus am Attersee is one of the most marvelous works that Sotheby’s has ever had the privilege to offer for sale and is remarkable for both its beauty and modernity. The complex composition and cloisonnist application of color move beyond Impressionism and point toward the abstract innovations of 20th Century art. Like all of his landscape paintings, Landhaus am Attersee was undertaken for Klimt’s own private, artistic exploration, and is imbued with a freedom and sense of experimentation that the artist enjoyed outside his meticulously planned, formally commissioned work.”

From 1908 to 1912, Klimt and Emilie Flöge spent the summer months in Villa Oleander in Kammerl near Kammer am Attersee. As the house was not available in the summer of 1914, Klimt decided to spend the summer in Weissenbach on the south shore of Attersee where a relative of the Flöge sisters lived. The Flöge sisters, their mother Barbara, and the young Helen Klimt moved into the house next door to their relative, but Klimt found lodgings in the forester’s house on the outskirts at the entrance to the Weissenbach valley. It is that house which would be the subject of two works by the artist, Forsthaus in Weissenbach am Attersee, 1914 (Neue Galerie, New York), and the present work. In Landhaus am Attersee Klimt’s vision of the house and its gardens is realized through a bold mosaic of colors. The effect is one of a flattening-out of the landscape, creating a richly textured surface that nevertheless retains great depth in its subtle and delicate modulation of color.

Property from Various Owners – Discussing the November sale, Charles Moffett, Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Department Worldwide, said, “It is indeed rare for Sotheby’s to offer in a single sale so many iconic works by such a wide range of masters of Impressionist and Modern Art. Nature Morte: Pommes et Poires is a superb example of Cézanne’s mature still lifes. Nymphéas of 1908 is one of the forty-eight examples that Monet himself selected to include in the landmark 1909 exhibition of his first Water Lilies series. Grande femme debout IV is among the largest and most beautiful of Giacometti’s celebrated interpretations of female figures. Landhaus am Attersee is one of the most sublime and luminous examples of Gustav Klimt’s extraordinary landscapes. Nu couché, from The Bill Blass Collection, is from the remarkable and fascinating group of images depicting Marie-Thérèse sleeping that Picasso executed in 1932. And Schokko (Schokko mit Tellerhut), circa 1910, is one of the finest portraits by Jawlensky ever to appear for sale.”

Claude Monet’s Nymphéas, from 1908, is a luminous painting from the artist’s water lilies series of 1903-1908 (est. $10/15 million). Of the many series that Monet completed during his late career, his Nymphéas are undoubtedly the most popular and the best loved. The present work is among a handful of water lilies pictures executed in 1908 whose allure lies with their remarkable ability to capture the interplay of light reflected and refracted on the surface of the water. In this work, horizontal patches of flowers and leaves are juxtaposed with undulating reflections of the world above the water.

Paul Cézanne’s magnificent Nature Morte: Pommes et Poires, circa 1888-90, depicts a simple arrangement of apples and pears, which achieves classic harmony by uniting the richly colored shapes of fruit with simple and delicate touches. During the first decade of his artistic career, Cézanne painted a number of still-lifes of great accomplishment, romantic in feeling but based on observed reality. The present work, estimated to sell for $8/12 million, is a superb example of the mature still-lifes of the late 1880s and 1890s, in which an assortment of simple fruits on a table top are transformed into a pictorial statement of remarkable grandeur and profundity.

Alberto Giacometti’s spectacular sculpture Grande femme debout IV ($8/10 million), is one of a series of four monumental female figures that Giacometti created for an outdoor sculptural installation in Chase Manhattan Plaza. The installation was never completed, but the Grandes femmes became iconic in their own right and have been widely exhibited both independently and as an ensemble since their conception in 1960. Each approximately nine feet in height, these figures were the largest that the artist ever made, and are often regarded as the culmination of his life’s work as a sculptor. Giacometti never submitted his final versions of these sculptures to the selection committee in New York, and his intentions for displaying these works in the plaza were never clarified. His reservations rested mostly with his mixed feelings about the size of the Femmes, which he felt were too tall. When he finally visited New York in 1965 and saw Chase Manhattan Plaza for the first time, his feelings about the size of his sculptures suddenly changed, and he wanted to make his Grandes femmes twenty-five feet tall. Although his brother Diego created an armature for this project, Giacometti died before he could ever complete the work.

Vincent van Gogh’s La Moisson en Provence is a panoramic view of the landscape outside Arles, conceived in pen, ink and watercolor (est. $7/9 million). Executed in 1888, this work simultaneously expresses the artist’s impassioned response to the colors of the Provençal summer, and his extraordinary command of the reed-pen as an expressive instrument of draughtsmanship. The swirling foliage of the foreground contrasts with the more delicate lightness of touch achieved in the rolling clouds, where van Gogh’s ardent admiration for Japanese art is apparent. The harvest was a theme dear to the artist’s hand, linked into his appreciation of the changing seasons and the effect human presence had on the land.

Alexej von Jawlensky’s 1910 masterpiece, Schokko (Schokko mit Tellerhut), is one of the finest portraits by the artist ever to appear for sale (est. $5/7 million). The fiery array of colors and emphasis on the bold sweeping forms of the figure, in contrast to the specific details of facial features and setting, make this work a unique synthesis of the high-keyed color of French Fauvism, the power and emotion of German Expressionism and the folkloric tradition of Jawlensky’s native Russia. Her exotic appearance and elaborate apparel notwithstanding, the model was a young provincial girl from a village near Munich. Jawlensky, like his compatriot Kandinsky, was working in Germany at the time, and invited the girl to sit for him on several occasions. Before posing in the artist’s cold studio, the model liked to drink a cup of hot chocolate. Her requests for ’a cup of Schokko’ led to the nickname given to her by the Jawlenskys.

Also included is one of two interpretations executed by Paul Cézanne of Edouard Manet’s shocking masterpiece Olympia which was shown at the Salon des Refusés in 1865. Painted circa 1870, Une Moderne Olympia (La Pacha) is a “modern” version of Manet’s work, representing a naked courtesan and an attendant being observed by a clothed male figure. This work, which was in the collection of the great Impressionist collector August Pellerin and his descendants for nearly ninety years, is expected to bring $5/7 million.

Pablo Picasso’s Nu couché, from The Bill Blass Collection, is a depiction of the artist’s twenty-two year old mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter. The present work belongs to a series of paintings Picasso completed in early 1932 depicting Marie-Thérèse sleeping in the nude. Executed on canvas with black chalk, it demonstrates the artist’s skill as a draftsman and the numerous preliminary ideas that he considered before arriving at this final image. This canvas is one of the many pictures Picasso completed at Boisgeloup, the 18th century château in Normandy where he and Marie-Thérèse carried on their romance, far away from the scrutiny of Picasso’s wife Olga’s. This work, which was part of the landmark Matisse-Picasso exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art earlier this year, is estimated to sell for $5/7 million

Property from the Estate of Ruth and Jack Wexler – The evening sale will also feature a number of Modern and Impressionist works from the Estate of Ruth and Jack Wexler. Mr. Wexler and his wife Ruth began collecting after the Second World War and were early patrons of the Whitney Museum, as well as founding members of the Nassau County Museum of Art and supporters of many diverse charitable institutions.

Kees van Dongen’s large-scale painting, Grand bouquet de fleurs, is a daring approach to the traditional still-life genre, where flowers erupt from the dark background and spill out to the very edges of the canvas, transforming a typically unassuming subject into a dynamic Fauvist composition (est. $1/1.8 million). Among the three superb Picasso paintings offered from the Wexler Collection this season, Personnage à la pipe, from 1971, one of the artist’s last great canvases of the musketeer, a character that became his emblem at the end of his life (est. $2/2.5 million). This theme first emerged in his production in 1966, the year after his ulcer surgery and during a lengthy period of convalescence when he wanted to prove that his creative ability had not lost its luster.

Other works from the Wexler Collection will be offered in a variety of sales at Sotheby’s this fall, including Prints (November 1st), Contemporary Art (November 12th and 13th) and American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture (December 3rd).

Published in: on October 19, 2003 at 3:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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