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Sotheby's Spanish Paintings Sale to Offer the Breadth and Wealth of Iberian Masters
Ignacio Zuloaga, Lolita, Mujer Tendida con Chal Azul, Est. £350,000-550,000/€441,00-695,000. Photo: Sotheby's.
LONDON.- Sotheby’s annual London sale of Spanish Paintings goes beyond the national boundaries into Portugal and as far away as Puerto Rico to embrace pieces that enrich the historical and cultural mesh of this artistically variegated peninsula. Sourced primarily from private collections, this year’s sale includes outstanding works by Joaquín Sorolla, Ignacio Zuloaga, Romero de Torres and Joaquín Mir, artists for whom Sotheby’s has generated record prices. In addition the auction will feature paintings by the highly sought after Portuguese painters José Julio Souza Pinto and José Vital Branco Malhoa. Among the ninety lots offered at this 9th annual Spanish Paintings sale, which has a pre-sale estimate of £6 – 8.5 million/ €7.4 – 10.4 million, is a section of Modern and Contemporary paintings by leading proponents of late 20th century Spanish painting including Manolo Valdés, Antonio López, and Fernando Zóbel. During the second half of October, sale highlights will be exhibited in Bilbao, Valencia, Barcelona and Madrid. Presale viewing will commence in Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries on 7th November, prior to the sale on Wednesday 12 November 2008.

A Quintessentially Spanish Icon
Basque painter Ignacio Zuloaga, one of Spain’s foremost international artists, captures the essence of the subject that mattered the most to him in Lolita, Mujer Tendida con Chal Azul, Est. £350,000-550,000/€441,00-695,000. A staunch defender of his nation and of all things Spanish, he presents his favourite model Lolita Lacour swathed in a mantón de manila, striking a provocative pose as she lounges on a divan holding a fan alluringly. La Morenita con Chal Blanco (The Brunette, with White Shawl) another of Zuloaga’s works of a beauty wrapped in a shawl is estimated at £220,000 - 280,000 (€278,000 – 353,000).

The sale will also feature fine examples by their Catalan counterparts such as Hermenegildo Anglada-Camarasa, with several works from different stages in his career. In Gitana con niño (Est: £250,000-350,000 /€315,000- 441,000), from 1925, this Catalan master returns to the subject of the gypsy, which he had depicted as sensual and confrontational during his time in Paris. At this stage, Anglada-Camarasa represents these complex characters in a more vulnerable light, as mothers, and frames the tender scene with a rich backdrop of vines. Flowers were prevalent in his late work in the 1940’s. He painted Bodegón de Flores, an especially fine example of his flower painting in these years (£250,000-350,000/€315,000-441,000), during his exile in Pougues-les-eaux in the south of France, following the Spanish Civil War.

Across the peninsula, in Cordoba, Julio Romero de Torres also presents his muse and model in the spirit of the gypsy but in an in altogether different light. Romero de Torres’s gipsy, Amparo (Est. £250,000-350,000 / €315,000-441,000), an very important late portrait by the artist, echoes the pose of Fuensanta which established a new world-record price for the artist’s work when it realised £825,000/€1.173.400 at last year’s Spanish Paintings sale in London.

Mediterranean seascapes
Joaquin Sorolla painted Antes del baño (Est. £1,200,000- 1,800,000/€1,520,000 – 2,270,000) on the beach of his native Valencia in 1909, at the height of his powers, the sum of a decade spent honing his technique researching his sources and refining his subject. Sorrolla’s confidence stemmed from several consecutive years of exhibitions on either side of the Atlantic which had received the highest critical acclaim. Antes del baño ranks as of the most sublime subjects that Sorolla ever committed to canvas. Other Valencian artists of the period are José Navarro Llorens, whose seafront scene Bueyes y Barcas en la Playa (Oxen and Boats on a Beach) is estimated at £30,000 - 50,000 / €37.850-63.000, and Julio Vila y Prades Recogida de la Naranja (Picking Oranges) at £18,000 - 25,000/ €22.700-31.500.

The Catalan painter Joaquín Mir also dedicated part of his oeuvre to seascapes, In Arribada del peix (Est. 150,000-200,000/€189,000-252,000), Mir catches the vibrant bustle at the port as the fishermen bring in the catch of the day. Mir worked on this painting in the 1920’s when he was at the happiest time of his life: he was well established and his artistic output at its most consistent and fluid. The painting has been in the same family since it was purchased directly from the artist and never appeared at auction before. Also by Mir and of the same period are Flores en el Jardín, (Est £80,000-120,000/€101,000-152, 000) and Miravet (Est £120,000-180,000/€152,000 – 227,00).

The work of José Maria Sert, illustrates the international influence that Catalan artists enjoyed in the early twentieth century. Included in the sale are a fine group of eleven works in oil that relate to some of Sert’s most important commissions. A decorator to some of the wealthiest and most influential collectors and connoisseurs of his time, the works in the group relate to the large scale interior that he carried out for the March family, Mallorca, Mr and Mrs Harrison Williams, New York, Madame de Berthelot, Paris, Celedonio Pereda, Buenos Aires and the public rooms of the Park Lane Hotel, London, the Waldorf Astoria, Manhattan, and the Headquarters of the United Nations, Geneva.

Portuguese pastoral scenes
For the first time the sale includes works by the highly sought-after Portuguese painters José Julio Souza Pinto, The Little Cowherd, 1897, Est. £80,000-120,000 / € 101,000-147,000 and José Vital Branco Malhoa, A Close Shave, Est. £200,000-300,000 / € 252,000-378,000.

In 1880, after receiving a first prize in painting at the Escola de Belas-Artes in Porto, Souza Pinto went to Paris, where he worked in the studios of Alexandre Cabanel, Bastien-Lepage, and Pascal-Adolphe Dagnan-Bouveret. Although he pursued his career in France and garnered great critical and commercial success – he was bestowed the titles of Officer, Member of the Jury and finally Hors-concours at the Salon, and was decorated as a chevalier of the Légion d'honneur – Souza-Pinto's work was widely exhibited in Portugal.

In A Close Shave, Malhoa's fine draughtsmanship and discerning eye for colour are evident. Malhoa created accurate yet fresh representations of popular Portuguese scenes and situations, in a style that gradually demonstrated the loose immediacy of Impressionism.

Historic Painting Discovered
The sale boasts a discovery of notable historical significance for Spain: The Battle of Treviño by the esteemed Puerto Rican painter Francisco Manuel Oller (1833-1917) Est £340,000 - 380,000/€429.000-479.000). This work is the artist’s final, largest and most important version of his depiction of this decisive battle during the Carlist Wars. It was purchased directly from the artist and has remained in the same private collection ever since, its existence hitherto unknown. (Another version is National Heritage and is in the Royal Palace, Madrid). Painted in 1879, The Battle of Treviño, although historical in nature, depicts one of the artist's friends immortalized as the key protagonist in this important military victory. Oller had several motivations to produce at least four versions of this scene: he had been appointed official painter to the Royal Court of Spain in 1872, during the reign of King Amadeo I; he was a long time friend of the hero of the Battle of Treviño—the Colonel Contreras; Contreras was promoted to General for his success battle and later was appointed royal aide to the king.

This year the sale show-cases works by some of the most prominent Spanish artists from the latter half of the 20th century. One of the most significant pieces in the contemporary section is Antonio López García’s Bodegón de las Afueras painted in 1957 and estimated at £80,000 - 100,000/€101.000-126.000. Like a collage, López chooses objects from everyday life, takes them out of context and juxtaposes them to create strikingly surreal still lifes. A skilled draughtsman but also a master in the use of colour, López transforms the most prosaic objects of life into the main subjects in his canvases.

This sale also includes Manolo Valdes’s Rembrandt's Palette (Est: £60,000 - 80,000/€76.000-101.000) as well as Alavona 267 by Fernando Zobel (Est: £40,000 - 60,000/€50.500-76.000) and Número 103 by Luis Feito (Est,£25,000-35,000/€31.500-44.100)



Last Week News

October 15, 2008

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Kounter Kulture - In Kulture We Trust - Opens in London

The Unilever Series: Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster Opens at Tate Modern's Turbine Hall

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Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum to Present Fashioning Felt

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Presents Directions: Terence Gower, Public Spirit

Rail of Justice: A New Public Sculpture by Jeffrey Schiff

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Hofstra University Dedicates Dynamic Person of Color Sculpture on Campus

October 14, 2008

Aleksandr Rodchenko: Constructing the Future Opens at Caixa Catalunya in Barcelona

Musée d'Orsay Opens Two Correspondences Exhibitions

The Art Fund Gives 1 Million Pounds to Save Titian's Diana and Actaeon

Political and Poetic Installations by Cildo Meireles on View at Tate Gallery in London

Olafur Eliasson's The Collectivity Project Opens at U-TURN Contemporary Arts Festival

Major Getty Exhibition Showcases the Work of American Photographer Carleton Watkins

The Art of David Cox Opens at the Yale Center for British Art

Museum of Fine Arts in Bilbao Opens Sorolla Exhibition from The Hispanic Society of America

Anton Henning: Blumenstilleben No. 193 Opened at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Museum of Latin American Art Hosts Significant Auction of Contemporary Latin American Art

Art in the Service of Power at the Imperial Court of China and at the Saxon-Polish Court

A New Wave Of Contemporary Artists At Bonhams

MOCA Renews Patrnership with Pacific Design Center

Photographer Wim Tellier Plans Installation in Antarctica

Vintage and Modern Posters - Bloomsbury Auctions New York on 22 October

October 13, 2008

Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck to Titian Opens Wednesday at the National Gallery in London

November Film Series Reveals Aspects of Artistic Luxury at the Cleveland Museum of Art

Art Deco Exhibition at The New York Public Library Showcases Rarely Seen Prints and Posters

New Museum Presents C.L.U.E. (Color Location Ultimate Experience)

Aperture Gallery Presents Work From Josef Koudelka's Latest Project-Invasion 68: Prague

Cleveland Museum of Art Painting Chosen by U.S. Postal Service as Christmas Stamp

Virgin Name Train After Tate Liverpool in Honour of its 20th Anniversary

Surrealist Wifredo Lam's Afro-Cuban Mythology Meets Salvador Dalí's Personal Myths

Plains Art Museum Names Jaclyn Miller Membership Manager

National Museum of the American Indian and the National Gallery of Art Present Visionary Series

Cape Ann Museum to Present Gershon Benjamin and His Contemporaries

A Major Exhibition of Paintings by George Tooker Presented at the National Academy Museum

Boise Art Museum Announces Reflections on Conflict An-My Le: Small Wars

The Museum of Modern Art to Host Film Benefit Honoring Award-Winning Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann

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Munch, Picasso, and Two Distinguished Collections Lead Christie's Fall Prints and Multiples Sale

Azam Painting Raises 80,000 Euros at The 2008 Sovereign European Art Prize Auction

Art on the Plains X Juried Art Exhibition Opens at Plains Art Museum

October 12, 2008

Exhibitions Showcasing Masterpieces from All Areas of Louvre's Collections Opens in Atlanta

Warhol's Jews: Ten Portraits Reconsidered at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

Superstars of Modern Art on View at Detroit Institute of Arts

The BMA Organizes First Comprehensive Survey of Austrian Artist Franz West in the United States

Story of Nineteenth-Century America Revealed in Special Exhibition at the Amon Carter Museum

The Goslar Kaiserring 2008 Prize Goes to Andreas Gursky

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Plains Art Museum Names Rebecca Seelig Executive Assistant

Jacquemart-André Museum Stages France's First Major Retrospective of the Work of Antoon Van Dyck

Serial Landscape Photographs by Three Legendary American Photographers on view at National Gallery of Art

Musem of the Ara Pacis in Rome Opens Exhibition Dedicated to Bruno Munari

RIBA Announces Fourteen Honorary Fellowships

ROM Hosts International Symposium on Ancient Egypt and Nubia

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October 11, 2008

The Art Gallery of New South Wales Presents "Monet and the Impressionists" Exhibition

Frida Kahlo: Portraits of an Icon at San Jose Museum of Art

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Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Over the River, A Work in Progress at The Phillips Collection

The Second Golden Age of Dutch Art: 19th Century Opens Today

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Florence Griswold Museum Presents Bessie Potter Vonnoh Exhibition

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Norton Museum Exhibition Redefines 20th Century Chinese Paintings

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October 10, 2008

Total Enlightenment: Conceptual Art in Moscow, 1960-1990 at Fundacion Juan March

Richard Avedon: Larger Than Life Opens at Grand Rapids Art Museum

Patricia Urquiola: Purely Porcelain Opens at Design Museum in London

National Portrait Gallery Presents Women of Our Time: Twentieth Century Photographs

The Best of Photography and Film from the George Eastman House Collection Opens at Frist Center

First Major Museum Survey of Tara Donovan Opens at ICA/Boston

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Special Photography Exhibition to Celebrate the Generosity of Baroness Jeane von Oppenheim

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Rhodes College and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art to Host Italian Renaissance Sculpture Conference

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