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Picasso Portraits and Rare Works by Ernst, Giacometti, and Jawlensky Highlight Christie's Sale
Max Ernst (1891-1976), Malédiction à vous les mamans, oil on canvas, 51¼ x 63¾ in. (139 x 162 cm.) Painted in 1928 estimate: $7-9 million). Photo: Christie's Images Ltd. 2009.
NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s announced details of its Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on May 6, 2009. Comprised of 50 works from the great masters of the era, the sale presents a unique opportunity to collect rare and important works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miró, Max Ernst, Tamara de Lempicka, Henry Moore, Alexej von Jawlensky, and Egon Schiele, among others. The sale is expected to realize in excess of $94 million.

At well over a meter in height and length, Max Ernst’s monumental Malédiction à vous les mamans from 1928 (estimate: $7-9 million) is a striking cerulean blue canvas from a European collection. Acquired by the present owner circa 1974, it has never before appeared at auction.

Malédiction à vous les mamans evolved from a series of paintings devoted to Ernst’s Dadaist subversion of traditional Madonna-and-child depictions. “Being a man of ‘ordinary constitution’ (to use Rimbaud’s term), I have done everything to make my soul monstrous”, Ernst wrote in his 1937 text Beyond Painting. Here, the loving image of a mother and son is replaced by strange half-bird, halfhuman figures locked in a contentious embrace. A younger man looks on and flexes his limbs in a menacing pose, as if ready to join the fray. To heighten the drama of the scene, Ernst removed nearly all indications of a pictorial setting so that his group of figures appears to float untethered against a sea of vivid blue. This entirely modern pictorial device is remarkable for its similarity to the signature style adopted by the Irish-born painter Francis Bacon half a century later. In February 2008, Christie’s London set the world auction record for an Ernst painting with the sale of La conversion du feu from 1937 for $2.38 million.

Late Picasso Portraits
Among the top works at this season’s Evening Sale are a pair of important late Picasso portraits, one male and one female, and both bearing more than a passing resemblance to the artist himself. Mousquetaire à la pipe from October 1968 (estimate: $12-18 million) is a vivid, full-length image of the artist in one of his favorite guises: the brave and adventurous musketeer with long, wavy hair, clad in doublets and ruffled collars. Equally vivid in palette is Femme au chapeau from August 1971 (estimate: $8-12 million), an iconic portrait hand-selected by Picasso for inclusion in his second solo exhibition at the Palais des Papes in Avignon, France. Since 1989, Femme au chapeau has been a centerpiece of the private collection of the artist and Oscar-nominated film director Julian Schnabel. As Schnabel noted of the portrait, “The painting can be read as a self-portrait as well as a portrait of a woman. Picasso painted his own image into the head.”

Jazz Age Icons
The distinctive style of Tamara de Lempicka fuses elements of French Cubism, Purism, Neo-Classicism, and Italian Mannerist techniques into a cool and urbane vision of physical beauty that has become synonymous with the Jazz Age. This season, Christie’s offers two exceptional portraits, La Chemise Rose I from circa 1927 (estimate: $1.3-1.8 million) and the seductive Portrait de Madame M. from 1932 (estimate: $6-8 million). As one of the last of the large portraits Lempicka completed on a commission basis, Portrait de Madame M. is an exquisite swan song. Lempicka executes with relish the folds in her subject’s dress and the decorative floral clusters of drapery in the background, achieving a baroque effect that recalls Bernini’s great masterpieces. Christie’s achieved the current world auction record of $4.59 million for a Lempicka work in May 2004 with the sale of Portrait de Mrs. Bush from 1929.

Distinguished Private Collections
A trio of exceptional works by Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, and Joan Miró are drawn from the private collection of the late Caral Gimbel Lebworth, a prominent New York philanthropist and arts patron. Giacometti’s Buste de Diego (Stele III), a rare full-size bronze bust balanced on a tall, narrow plinth (estimate: $4.5-6.5 million) is fresh to the market, having been acquired by the Gimbel family in 1959, the year after it was cast. Two more pivotal works from the collection are Matisse’s Nu à la serviette blanche (estimate: $2-3 million), an early figure painting that hints at Fauvist innovations to come; and Joan Miró’s Maquette pour Personnage, 1971 (estimate: $300,000-400,000), a unique study for a monumental 11-foot wide sculpture completed the following year.

An exceedingly rare full-length nude entitled Odalyske by the Russian-born painter Alexej von Jawlensky (estimate: $4-6.5 million) is a highlight from the collection of Evelyn Annenberg Jaffe Hall. Only a handful of nudes by Jawlensky are extant, and none are of a comparable scale and accomplishment as Odalyske. The painting has been in private hands since 1958, when it was acquired by the late collector. Other highlights from the family collection include Camille Pissaro’s La cueilette des pommes from 1881 (estimate: $1.4-1.8 million); Picasso’s Arlequin (estimate: $600,000-800,000), a watercolor study from circa 1915 for the large oil painting of the same name; and Henri Edmond Cross’ Paysage avec le cap negre (estimate: $700,000-900,000), a pointillist landscape from 1906. From the estate of Joan S. Ben-Avi comes Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Madame Misia Natanson from 1897 (estimate: $2-3 million), an idyllic portrait rendered in loose exuberant brushwork that has been in the family collection since 1954.

From the Serge and Vally Sabarsky Collection, the Evening Sale presents three works on paper by Egon Schiele that were most recently exhibited at New York’s Neue Galerie. Seher from 1913 is a double self-portrait in gouache, watercolor and pencil with the added visage of the artist’s girlfriend Walli Neuzil (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000); Wieblicher torso in unterwäsche und schwarzen strümpfen from 1917 is one in a series of studies of a young red-headed model (estimate: $500,000-700,000); and Liegende from 1918 is a reclining figure drawn with great economy of line in black crayon on paper (estimate: $200,000-300,000).

Sculpture Highlights
Like Giacometti's Buste de Diego (Stele III), Henry Moore's five-foot long bronze Falling Warrior (estimate: $2.5-3.5 million) boasts a pristine provenance, having been acquired direct from the artist soon after casting was completed in 1957 and maintained in an important European collection. Other casts of Falling Warrior are in institutional collections, including the Tate, London and the Art Institute of Chicago. Among the additional sculptural highlights is a charming bronze portrayal of two deer with a fawn by Rembrandt Bugatti (estimate: $350,000-450,000), one of only three recorded copies cast between 1911 and 1937. Two bronzes by Jacques Lipchitz, both cast in the artist's lifetime, assimilate cubist principles learned directly from Picasso and Juan Gris into three-dimensional form. Arlequin à l’accordéon (estimate: $700,000-900,000) is the inaugural sculpture of one of Lipchitz’s most masterful series of cubist figures; an earlier work, Baigneuse assise (estimate: $500,000-700,000) marked a new phase of free-standing cubist sculptures that would occupy Lipchitz from 1916 to the early 1920’s.





Last Week News

April 19, 2009

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam May Have to Give Up Berckheyde Painting to JPMorgan

Photographs of Jewish Life and Loss in Poland to Open at Detroit Institute of Arts

MoMA Screens the West: Myth, Character, and Reinvention by Andy Warhol

Drawings On Site: Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen on View at the Menil Collection in May

San Francisco will Say Good-bye to Crouching Spider Made by Louise Bourgeois

Dressed to Rule: Imperial Robes of China on View at the National Gallery of Victoria

First U.S. Exhibition in 25 Years of Luis Meléndez's Still Lifes to Premiere at the National Gallery of Art

Brooklyn Museum Announces Response to New Economic Reality

The American Institute of Architects Select 17 Recipients for the 2009 Housing Awards

"Double Exposure: African Americans Before and Behind the Camera" to Open at DePaul University

Sheldon Statewide to Present 'Divine Abstractions' Beginning May 1

Royal Ontario Museum's New Permanent Gallery Vividly Presents the Diversity and Fragility of Life on Earth

2009 Portland Museum of Art Biennial Prize Winners

See, Shop and Savor at the 2009 Bellevue Arts Museum Artsfair

Columbia Museum of Art's Saturday Family Program Features Sally the Salamander Inspired Art Activities

Plains Art Museum Observes International Museum Day

SFMOMA to Present Sensate: Bodies and Design in August

Fiber Arts Create Detailed Works with Traditional Techniques at Crystal Bridges at the Massey

MetLife Foundation Renews Grant to the Museum of Modern Art to Support Expansion of the MoMA Alzheimer's Project

Seeking Wider Audiences, Six Museums Offer Special Benefits in New Fair-Chester Museum Alliance

April 18, 2009

Exhibition of Pioneer Video Artist Nam June Paik Opens at The James Cohan Gallery

Silences, A statement by Marin Karmitz at Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

Of Rage and Redemption: The Art of Oswaldo Guayasamín Opens

Fine Art, Antiques & Decorations Auction, Saturday May 2, 2009 at Gray's Auctioneers

Plug In - Re-Imagining the Collection - New Episodes at Van Abbemuseum

VMFA Sets May 1, 2010, As Grand Opening For James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing

2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art: Praxis: Art in Times of Uncertainty

Art Sway Presents Today Gayle Chong Kwan - Terroir and the Pathetic Fallacy

An Approach to the Museu Hawai - Fernando Bryce Opens at Museum Het Domein

Daniel Schwartz - Travelling through the Eye of History

The New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) Art Fair Announces Major changes: Moving to Miami Beach

Art for Darfur Brings National Tour of Exhibit Darfur to Dallas

Judging Books By Their Cover: A History of Bookbinding at the Bodleian

Stedelijk Goes West: The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour

American Folk Art Dealers and Artists To Hold Festival in Napa Valley to Benefit San Francisco Museum

Group Exhibition at the DCCA Focuses on Portrayals of Contemporary American Culture

Museum Adventures in Art continues April 18 & 25

Daiwa Foundation Art Prize 2009 - Introducing British Artists to Japan

April 17, 2009

Amedeo Modigliani Exhibition Opens Today at The Art and Exhibition Hall in Bonn

The Morgan Library & Museum Exhibits Superb Collection of Recent Acquisitions

The National Gallery of Canada Opens Today Nomads Exhibition

Rediscovered Cuban Masterpiece By Mario Carreno Leads Christie's Latin American Art Sale In May

The Exhibition "Made in Korea" Opens Today in Hanover

Greenville (SC) Museum Receives Major Painting by Andrew Wyeth

Found and Lost Opens at Museum of Contemporary Art Puerto Rico

Agnieszka Kalinowska: Draughty House at Museum Moderner Kunst

Christie's Rich Array of Irish and Spoting Art in May 2009

SOFA New York Opens Today at The Park Avenue Armory

The San Diego Museum of Art Presents 28th Annual Art Alive

Sixth Edition CIGE 2009 In Beijing Energizes the Art World

Off The Wall: Contemporary Installation at Manhattanville College Gallery of Fine Art

Historical Works from the Bass Museum of Art Together with Contemporary Works Form Exhibition

Kind Of, But Not Really: Emily Kozik, Alex Zak and Noelle Sharp

Healing through Art - Local Artists to Show Work at Relay for Life

The Bronx Museum of the Arts Announces Three New International Artists in Residence

The Weekend Australian Art Melbourne: Affordable & Collectable

Light in the Attic: 2009 Senior Thesis Exhibition Opens at the University of Richmond Museums and Artspace Gallery

April 16, 2009

Maison Européenne de la Photographie Celebrates Henri Cartier-Bresson's Centennial

National Portrait Gallery Acquires Newly Discovered Portrait of First Poet Laureate

Oakland Museum of California Reinventing Visitor Experience with Reinstallation of Collections

Sotheby's To Offer Five Important Works by Vilhelm Hammershoi in its Sale of Scandinavian Art in June

Art Gallery of Ontario Appoints Tony Gagliano as New President

Tsarist Treasures to be Sold at Sotheby's Russian Art Sales

IVAM Shows Alberto Corazon Retrospective at the Vietnam Museum of Fine Arts

Dorestad. World City in the Middle Ages on View at the National Museum of Antiquities

Saint Louis Art Museum Responds to Economy with Reductions

Mississippi Museum of Art Presents Eudora Welty in New York, New Exhibition Marks Welty Centennial

Plains Art Museum and Red River Watercolor Society Present 16th Annual National Watermedia Exhibition

Everson Presents Syracuse's Young Artist Project: Sitting Still

New Orleans Museum of Art and THNOC Present Women Artists in Louisiana, 1825-1965: A Place of Their Own

Major Awards in British Columbia Visual Arts Announced

Sir Brian McMaster One of Four New Barbican Board Members

Roxy Paine Creates Monumental Sculpture for 2009 Installation of Metropolitan Museum's Roof Garden

Smithsonian American Art Museum Presents Monumental Installations by Jean Shin

Intern Development Program Advisory Committee Selects Recipients of IDP Firm Award and IDP Outstanding Firm Award

April 15, 2009

Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup Chosen to Design New Smithsonian Museum

Grosz Heirs File Suit Against MoMA for Artworks Unlawfully Taken During Nazi Era

First Large-scale Showing of Futurism in Britain in Thirty Years at Tate Modern

Monet's Iconic Water Lilies from the Museum of Modern Art Going to Atlanta this Summer

In a Dream: Film Tells the Story of Philadelphia Artist Isaiah Zagar

Peabody Museum Announces Masked Festivals of Canton Bo, Southwest Ivory Coast

Everson to Welcome Frank Warren's Postsecret Exhibition

Major Work by Contemporary Artist Focuses on Stanford Family

Victoria & Albert Museum Announces Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courts

35 Works on Video by 22 Artists, All from Latin America to be Shown in Zurich

American Icon Merce Cunningham Celebrates 90th Birthday on April 16

Colorado River Photographs by Karen Halverson Explored in New Exhibition Space at the Huntington

Mississippi Museum of Art Announces New Exhibition

Conversation with Artist-in-Residence Zhang Peili at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Just Added! Tom McCarthy in Person! at George Eastman House

Maryhill Museum of Art Receives $2 Million Bequest From Mary Hoyt Stevenson

Art and Power in the Central African Savanna at the de Young Museum

Plains Art Museum Assistant Director of Education and Curator of Outreach Receive Professional Development Grants

Frist Center Kicks Off 2009 Fridaysconcert Series on May 29

April 14, 2009

Italian Earthquake in the Abruzzo Region Damages Art Treasures, Churches and Monuments

Smithsonian Photography Initiative Announces Its New Blog "The Bigger Picture"

Sotheby's Sales of Impressionist and Modern Art to be Held on May 5 & 6 in New York

Musee Rodin Presents Gillian Wearing, Confessions / Portraits, Vidéos

The Film Society of Lincoln Center to Present On the Edge: New Independent Cinema from China 2009

Live Music Returns to MoMA's Sculpture Garden in July and August

Pulitzer Prize Photographs to Open at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics

Modern Works' Titles Reveal Links to Classical Roots

Depleted Uranium OK for Iraqis and US Troops, but Not for North Carolina

Moscow Museum of Modern Art Presents Tatiana Selvinskaya "Playing Classics"

Argentinean Artist Alberto Montoreano to Show Paintings at Schody Gallery in Warsaw

Exhibitions Continue Exploration into Frye Collection

Rock Prophecies: Feature-length Chronicle of Conflicted Photographer Robert M. Knight

Performance, Video, Music, and Audio Features by Contemporary New York Artists Included in Metropolitan Exhibition

The American Institute of Architects Announces the 2009 COTE Top Ten Green Projects

The Window, Carlos Soríns Poignant, Bergman-Inflected Drama, has U.S. Theatrical Premiere at Film Forum

Artists Vie for Honors in Arts & Crafts Guild Competition

"America's Funniest Home Videos" Brings Laughter to the Smithsonian

Announcing the Establishment of The Július Koller Society

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Colossal statue of Amenhotep III unveiled on the west bank of the Nile in Egypt

2.- British royals crown New York visit with gala dinner

3.- Missing artwork rediscovered in "Stuart Little" sells for over 200,000 euros at auction

4.- Rossetti's Venus Verticordia soars at Sotheby's in London to sell for £2.88 million

5.- Russian magnate buys, then returns Nobel prize to American geneticist James Watson

6.- Egyptian Museum unveils four newly renovated halls of the famed Tutankhamun gallery

7.- 'The Secret of Dresden: From Rembrandt to Canaletto' on view at the Groninger Museum

8.- Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum reopens after three-year renovation

9.- More than 200 queries about works by possible heirs received on Nazi-era art hoard

10.- Attorney, artist and filmmaker reflects on the seven lessons learned at 2014 Art Basel Miami Beach

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