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Pivotal Works by Beckmann, Ernst, Munch, Picasso, Warhol and Others on Offer at Christie's
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Les Deux Femmes Nues (M. 16; Hatje 76-79, 81, 85-87, 89-91, 95; cf. B. 390) An important series of 22 lithographs, 1945, comprising thirteen of Mourlot's eighteen states, (states 4-15 and 18) and nine additional proofs, five of which are unrecorded intermediate states and variants, the 18th (final) state signed in pencil, numbered 3/50, the thirteen states recorded by Mourlot from editions of 19, the nine additional proofs extremely rare, on Arches and wove, some light and mount staining, occasional minor defects, framed. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd. 2009.
LONDON.- The Christie’s London bi-annual sale of Old Master, Modern and Contemporary Prints in September will feature a fantastic variety of original prints from the Renaissance to the present day including well-known artists such as Dürer, Rembrandt, Picasso, Beckmann, Matisse, Miro, Bacon, Warhol, Lichtenstein and Hockney.

A leading highlight from the sale is Les Deux Femmes Nues, an important and rare series of 22 lithographs from 1945 by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), including five previously unrecorded intermediate variants of the print (estimate: £100,000-150,000). This incredible collection, portraying the image of two women ‘morphing’ with each impression, brilliantly displays Picasso’s relentless creative drive, as well as his talent as a remarkably skillful printmaker. Over half a century on, commentators and cataloguers are still adding to the literature on this period of intense artistic activity, almost unparalleled in the history of western art. Through this fascinating group of prints it is possible to reconstruct the flow of events in the atelier.

Madonna, or Liebendes Weib (Loving Woman) as Edvard Munch (1863-1944) also titled his composition, is recognized as one of the artist's most mysterious and important images, and Christie’s is proud to be offering the lithograph with woodcut printed in black, pale green, blue and red from 1895-1902 (estimate: £200,000-300,000). Depicted during the act of conception, set against a mystic swirling sea of translucent colour and crowned with a luminous halo, Munch's Madonna encapsulates his fascination with the juxtapositions of life and death, desire and fear, holiness and carnality. Seen as an incredibly controversial image by contemporary audiences Munch's Madonna is not only pictorially complex, but also a splendid technical achievement. Originally conceived as a lithograph in black only, Munch experimented with colour, gradually adding the various layers to create the remarkably rich and striking image seen here.

Another depiction of a ‘femme fatale’ can be seen in Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s (1864-1901) La Passagère du 54 - Promenade en Yacht lithograph in colours from 1896 (estimate: £30,000-50,000). It is recorded that Lautrec and his friends were on a cruise when he was captivated by this young woman. Lautrec was charmed by her beauty and this lithograph survives as documentation of his infatuation. The title of the work implies that he did not know her name, and it is not known whether he ever actually spoke to his perhaps unsuspecting model.

Unlike the younger members of Die Brücke who were more interested in city life, Otto Mueller was possessed by an Arcadian dream – the unity of man and nature – which he pursued with certain nostalgia, as if for a lost paradise. The subtly hand-coloured Zigeuner-Liebespaar (`Gipsy Lovers') on offer is a particularly charming, highly concentrated expression of the gentle, melancholy eroticism that lies at the heart of Mueller's art (estimate: £40,000-60,000). It is estimated that he created no more than 150-200 examples in his entire career of these ‘hybrid’ (part print, part watercolour) works. Large, extensively coloured lithographs such as the present work are great rarities and highly regarded as some of the best and most desirable of Mueller's compositions.

One particularly exciting lot on offer in the upcoming sale is Max Ernst’s personal copy of his portfolio Fiat modes pereat ars (`Let there be fashion, down with art') from 1919 (estimate: £100,000-150,000. With impeccable provenance, these seven lithographs have never been offered on the market before, having come directly from the artist’s estate, and thence by descent. This example is one of the most original and important printed works of the early Dada-movement, and is believed to have been conceived as an homage to Giorgio de Chirico.

Max Beckmann’s (1884-1950) drypoint Selbstbildnis mit steifem Hut (`Self-Portrait with Bowler Hat') is arguably one of the most iconic portraits of 20th century printmaking and the inter-war years (estimate: £70,000-100,000). Executed in 1921, Beckmann portrays himself as a seemingly confident dandy, yet his eyes are full of doubt and unease. Since his first self-portrait at the age of only seventeen, Beckmann returned to his own likeness as a subject no fewer than thirty-five times, rivalling Rembrandt as possibly the greatest self-portraitist in the history of printmaking. He utilised all three techniques - drypoint, lithography and woodcut - at various times throughout his life, but it was the powerful immediacy of drypoint - whereby the image is scratched directly into the metal plate - that suited his purposes best.

A set of stage designs by Alexandra Exter (1882-1949) illustrated above provide a superb insight into Russian entertainment in 1930. Décor de Théâtre is a selection of fifteen pochoirs in colours with extensive hand finishing, from the edition of 150 (estimate: £20,000-30,000). Exter's designs were very warmly received when she showed them in 1927 at the Galerie aux Quatre Chemins, Paris. 'Alexandra Exter's exhibition demonstrates her very great talent', wrote André Boll in a contemporary review, 'her conceptions reflect that thirst for originality which presides over the renewal of stage design in the USSR'.

A range of subjects by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) are on offer in the contemporary section of the sale ranging from Lenin to Marilyn Monroe, and include the particularly endearing 25 Cats name[d] Sam and one blue Pussy, circa 1954 (estimate: £35,000-45,000). This complete set of eighteen offset lithographs with hand-colouring (including the cover), is one of Warhol’s earlier series, which suggests a much more personal tone.

Christie's | Dürer | Rembrandt | Picasso | Beckmann | Matisse | Miro | Bacon | Warhol | Lichtenstein | Hockney |


Last Week News

August 14, 2009

Sotheby's Hong Kong Autumn Sales to Offer Lots Estimated in Excess of US$100 Million

21c Museum Presents an Examination of Portraiture in the 21st Century

New Grants Totaling $3.1 Million Awarded to Oakland Museum of California

New Morgan Exhibition to Present the Genius of William Blake

Smithsonian's John Marshall Film Collection Added to UNESCO's Memory of the World Register

MoMA Announces Fall Line-Up for the Contemporasian Series

First Solo Exhibition in the UK for Polish Artist Robert Kusmirowski at Barbican Art Gallery

David Spiller will be Tryin' to Get to Heaven Before They Close the Door

Art in Empty Spaces: Turning Vacant Spaces into Creative Places

Flux-S, a New International Arts Festival, to Open in Eindhoven in September

Vancouver Art Gallery Exhibition Explores National Identity in Canada and U.S. at the Turn of the 19th Century

Miguel Hidalgo Relics Ready to be Exhibited

Art Panel Discussion and Symposium to be Held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago

New York City Launches International Design Competition for a Safer, More Appealing Sidewalk Shed

Specialized Art Therapy can Help Alzheimer's Patients Reconnect with their Identities

Eva Pell Named Smithsonian Under Secretary for Science

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Explores Selected Works of Two Electronic Media Pioneers

Cleveland Museum of Art Moves Quickly to Set Course for Leadership Succession Tapping Interim Director

Firstdraft Inc, Sydney's Longest Running Non-profit Artist Collective, Gets Acommodation Grant

August 13, 2009

National Gallery of Victoria Announces European Masters from the Stadel Museum Exhibition

MoMA Offers Private Group Tours of Tim Burton Exhibition

Guggenheim Commissions Two New Works to be Shown in Conjunction with Kandinsky Exhibition

Exhibition Explores How a Significant Group of Artists Have Responded to Modernism

Denver Art Museum Joins Forces to Tell the Story of One of Colorado's Favorite Artists

Meadows Museum Acquires Monumental Sculpture by Contemporary Spanish Artist Jaume Plensa

The Annual 9th ARTSingapore is Back with the Launch of a "New Finds" Section

National Gallery Relaunches its Website Offering Full-Screen Facility to View Collection

The AIA Recognizes 13 Projects with the 2009 CAE Educational Facility Design Awards

Extensive Group of Artists Exhibit in "The Conspiracy" on View at Kunsthalle Bern

Pinakothek der Moderne to Show the Art of Timber Construction: Chinese Architectural Models

Changes Announced at the Morris Museum of Art

Inspiration through Incarceration: The Voice & Vision of Corey Dean Wagner

Aperture Commissions Five Emerging Photographers to Document Historic NYC Green Carts

Jesuits: Life and Expulsion from New Spain on View at Guanajuato Art and History Museum

National Postal Museum Receives Donation from Family of George W. Brett

First Large-scale Museum Survey of the Work of John Buck to be Shown at Bellevue Arts Museum

National Organizations Recognize Amon Carter Museum's Distance Learning Program

SFMOMA's Modern Art Council Honors Bill Fontana with Tenth Annual Bay Area Treasure Award

August 12, 2009

First Solo Museum Exhibition Devoted to the Work of John McCracken Presented in the UK

Classic and Contemporary Masterpieces on Show at the National Museum of Singapore

Celebrate Woodstock's 40th Anniversary Visiting the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Alison Cole to Join Arts Council England as its New Executive Director of Communications

MoMA's Second Annual Film Benefit Honors Innovative Filmmaker Tim Burton on November 17

Callum Innes Exhibition I Look at You Opens at Ingleby Gallery in Edinburgh

A Series of Exhibitions in Italy will Celebrate Elio Ciol's 80th Anniversary

Slick, the Contemporary Art Fair Dedicated to Uncovering New Talents, will Take Place in Paris

Dr. Steve Grafe Appointed Maryhill Museum of Art's Curator of Art

Golden Agers & Silver Surfers: Old Age and Aging in Contemporary Art at Kunsthaus Baselland

Burger Collection to Open its Quadrilogy of Exhibitions and Events in Berlin

First Major Survey of British Artist Rosalind Nashashibi to be Held at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts

A Foundation to Present a Solo Exhibition of New Work by the American-born Artist Whitney McVeigh

Smithsonian Journeys Makes World Heritage Sites Easier to Visit

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Highlights Recent Gifts in New Exhibition

Bruce Museum Opens Exhibition of West African Gold from the Olga Hirshhorn Collection

Cantor Arts Center Announces Tracing the Past, Drawing the Future: Master Ink Painters in 20th-Century China

Hines and Royal Academy Schools Announce Photography Scholarship

Museum Visitors Get their Just Desserts as New Restaurant Opens

August 11, 2009

First Major George Grosz Exhibition in the U.S. Dedicated Exclusively to His Years in Exile

Christie's Announces Second Yves Saint Laurent Sale

Egyptian Bust in the Field Museum is Look-a-like of Singer Michael Jackson

National Gallery of Australia Announces One of the Most Exceptional Art Events Ever

Yorkshire Sculpture Park to Launch Fifth Exhibition Space with The Angel by James Lee Byars

Brazilian Museum of Sculpture to Open A Message for You, by Guy Bourdin

O'Keeffe Museum Hosts Screening of Georgia O'Keeffe Starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons

Aperture Foundation Announces New Sally Mann Book Coinciding with Gagosian Gallery Show

Batiks Collected by President Obama's Mother on View at the Textile Museum this Summer

Ancient Cultures of the Gulf of Mexico Exhibited in Leon, Guanajuato

Social Networking Meets the International Marketplace with VandM 2.0

New York Academy of Art Announces a Special Exhibition "Leipzig Calling: Twenty Years after the Iron Curtain"

Saskia Dommisse's Mindscapes to be Shown at Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam

Zoe Charlton: Imitation of a Life to Open at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts

New Contemporary Exhibition to Open at Krannert Art Museum

Archives of American Art's New Exhibition Portrays "Hard Times, 1929 - 1939"

Arts Organization, 40 North / 88 West, is Looking for a Part-time Project Coordinator

August 10, 2009

Anish Kapoor Installation Opens in October as Part of Guggenheim's 50th Anniversary

Fundació Arranz-Bravo to Open New Art Space in Barcelona

The Whitney Presents a Special Exhibition Exploring Lucinda Child's Legendary Dance

Major Exhibition of French Drawings to Open in October at the Morgan

The Portland Art Museum Reveals Shine a Light: A Night at the Museum

First Major Exhibition of Women Artists and Surrealism to be Held in Europe

Dale Chihuly Exhibition Next Year will Dazzle Audiences in Nashville

4th Biennial of the Moving Image: Film, Video and Installations in Twelve Special Venues in Mechelen

Israeli Potter Irit Abba, Winner of the Andrea F. Bronfman Prize, Exhibits at Tel Aviv Museum

Bridges and the Span of Time: Fifty Artist Survey Exhibition of Bridges of the Hudson Valley

Noguchi's Original Vision for the Museum Brought to Life in Reinstallation of Collection and Building Renovation

First Comprehensive Retrospective of Elizabeth Peyton's Oeuvre to be Shown in Maastricht

Artist Duo Ubermorgen.com Celebrate Tenth Anniversary with New Book: Media Hacking vs.Conceptual Art

The Asheville Art Museum to Present Ruth Asawa: Drawing in Space

63rd Bellevue Arts Museum Artsfair Draws Large, Enthusiastic Crowds to Downtown Bellevue

National Institute of Anthropology and History Announces that Petroglyphs in Sinaloa are Graffiti-Free

Author Tackles "Gallerist" in New Edition of How to Survive & Prosper as an Artist

An Exhibition Inspired by the Artists Featured in 'Beautiful Losers'

Impressionist Treasures from Tacoma Art Museum's Permanent Collection to be Shown for First Time in Years

August 9, 2009

Damien Hirst Large Vitrine Work Unicorn to Go on Display at Tate St Ives this Autumn

Measuring 1.5 Square Meters, Smallery - Germany's Smallest Gallery, Opens to the Public

Rocco Landesman Confirmed as Tenth Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

LACMA to Present First Major Museum Showing of Indian Comics

Rice University Appoints Sarah Whiting New Architecture Dean

School of Visual Arts to Present "Milton Glaser's SVA: A Legacy of Graphic Design"

Norton Simon Museum Announces Loan of Painting by Ingres from the Frick

Unprecedented Exhibition of the Legendary Paul Steinitz at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art

Outdoor Installation by Paul Villinski Makes Its Debut at Wesleyan University's Zilkha Gallery

Global Leader Claremont Rug Co. Adds Staff, Waiting List to Meet Increased Demand for Rare Carpets

DesignPhiladelphia and Please Touch Museum Invite You to Design the Dollhouse of Your Dreams

Fine European Furniture and Decorative Arts on the Auction Block at Bonhams & Butterfields

Jeremy Deller's Procession: An Exhibition at Cornerhouse in Manchester

Powerhouse Museum Presents From Earth to the Universe: A Stunning Journey through the Depths of Space

Discovery Confirms Partial Use of Bricks in Ancient Maya Settlements

Surf's Up at the SFMOMA Artists Gallery: Jeff Clark, Doug Acton and Frank Quirarte Speak on August 22

Students "Discharge" at the Sabanci University Sakip Sabanci Museum

Dominican Photographer Tours U.S. to Get Help for Kids Back Home

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1.- Newly discovered Imperial Fabergé Easter egg: A critical note from a Fabergé collector

2.- Tate opens most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to Matisse's paper cut-outs

3.- First North American survey of the work of Ai Weiwei opens at Brooklyn Museum

4.- The importance of sky studies in landscape art is the subject of the first exhibition in a new Morgan series

5.- Beautiful Bentleys and a 'Rambo Lambo' amongst highlights for sale at Bonhams

6.- Retrospective is the first to encompass Sigmar Polke's works across all mediums

7.- Exhibition presents 100 top-class masterpieces from the collection of the Albertina

8.- Lost treasure found after almost 100 years: Wartski exhibits missing Fabergé egg

9.- Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles acquires a rare 16th century "Book of Friends"

10.- Exhibition of masterpieces from the Austrian Habsburg dynasty brings imperial splendor to the U.S.

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