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Seoul Auction to Hold Sale and a Special Exhibition of Impressionists & Modern Masters
Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Bouquet de Fleurs, 1937.

HONG KONG.- Further to the success of Seoul Auction’s Hong Kong sale in October 2010 – in which Marc Chagall’s Bestiaire et Musique set a record as the most expensive painting by a Western Modern artist ever sold in Asia – Seoul Auction is delighted to announce its forthcoming Hong Kong sale to take place on 29 November at the Himalayan Suite, Pacific Place Conference Centre.

Seoul Auction will also hold a special private sales exhibition of Impressionists & Modern Masters in Greater China (Taipei, Beijing, Hong Kong) and Seoul in November, featuring an array of major works by some of the most important masters of the late 19th and early 20th century including Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso.

The jewel of this special exhibition is Renoir’s Baigneuse s’arrangeant les cheveux painted circa 1890.

Misung Shim, Managing Director of Seoul Auction Hong Kong Ltd. said, “We are delighted to hold a second auction this autumn in Hong Kong, as well as a special exhibition of amazing works by Impressionists and Modern Masters. This exhibition again underlines the vision and pioneering spirit of Seoul Auction which is proud to have been the first auction house to offer Western art at auction in Hong Kong.”

“Recently, there has been a re-ascendance of works by 19th and 20th Century masters, in both Chinese and Western art. At the same time, we are witnessing a growing interest in, and a greater level of appreciation of, Impressionism and Modern Art. Seoul Auction is ready to adapt to evolving trends in the fast-changing art market in order to serve the desires of our clients in Asia and worldwide. In conjunction, we are also privileged to offer in our Hong Kong sale a diversified array of delightful works by young, talented Korean artists imbued with unique artistic concepts and creativity, alongside exceptional works by established Chinese, Japanese and Korean artists. ”

Highlights of the exhibition include:

Baigneuse s’arrangeant les cheveux by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), c. 1890
Renoir is one of the best loved of the Impressionists for his instantly appealing images of pretty children, flowers, beautiful scenes and above all, lovely women. A celebrator of beauty and a great worshipper of the female form, Renoir believed that the nude was one of the classic and ultimate forms of art. His interest in the female figure developed from his admiration of painters such as Boucher and Fragonard, but he rendered his nudes in characteristic Impressionist style. His masterly painting technique resulted in shimmering paint surfaces that are full of vibrant light and saturated colour.

In the 1880s, Renoir travelled to Italy, where a study of Renaissance masters influenced him to adopt a more classical style, as well as to create large scale bathing nudes with an attempt at fresco-like surfaces. From 1890, however, when he married Aline Charigot, he changed direction again, returning to more fluid brushwork and thinly brushed colour to dissolve his outlines. Baigneuse s’arrangeant les cheveux was painted at the beginning of Renoir’s so-called “Periode Nacrée” (Pearly Period) (1890-1897) in which delicacy, form, colour, light and pleasure combine to create a painting of exquisite beauty and sensuality.

Bouquet de Fleurs by Marc Chagall (1887-1985), 1937
Bouquet de Fleurs is a perfect example of Chagall’s highly imaginative and very personal style. Strong colours combined with more subdued hues portray the world with a dreamlike, non-realistic simplicity, and the fusion of fantasy and nostalgia infuses his work with a joyous quality. The painting celebrates love, which Chagall called “the most precious feeling in one’s lifetime”, and portrays the artist and his muse Bella, whom he had married in 1915, in a rapturous embrace amidst a rich bouquet of flowers.

In 1937, Chagall finally gained French citizenship and his material situation became more secure than it had been for many years. He moved to a new home near the Trocadéro in Paris and in the spring, he and Bella visited Tuscany. Chagall was enthralled by the works of Bellini, Titian and Tintoretto seen in the Pitti and Uffizi museums in Florence. On his return to Paris, his palette became richer and deeper, and the composition of his flowers was denser in structure. The theme of the bride and groom persisted, however, as did the nostalgic reference to his home town of Vitebsk in the background, along with the habitual animals of his childhood. The artist and his beloved seem to be perched high above the town in a magical ecstasy, blending deep emotion and memory in a universal language.

Bord de la Seine à Lavacourt by Claude Monet (1840-1926), 1878
The founder of Impressionism, Monet was one of the most influential landscape painters in the history of art. Painting outdoors, he broke with the tradition of portraying a subject literally, instead conveying the fleeting effects of light and colour on a landscape according to the time of day, weather and season. He represented natural colour like a prism, breaking it down into individual components.

This landscape depicts the banks of the River Seine with a view of the small village of Lavacourt. In the summer of 1878, Monet and his family had left Argenteuil and moved to this area about 60 kilometres north of Paris, settling in Vétheuil, on the opposite bank of the river from Lavacourt. Monet was so delighted with the unspoilt nature of his new environment that he painted a series of paintings during the three years they lived there, looking both upstream, as here, and downstream, in both fine and bad weather. He particularly liked the quaint row of houses next to the towpath along the river and often included a view of the opposite bank. The receding line of the houses on the right, and the river on the left, lead the viewer’s eye to the centre of the composition where a large tree extends into a wintry sky, showing Monet’s mastery of light and colour.

Le Peintre et son modèle by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), 1964
After a decade of seeking inspiration in works by earlier masters including Delacroix, Velazquez and Manet, in 1963 Picasso sought to renew himself and revitalize his art by developing a new theme in his painting. The subject was fundamental to his daily life: the relationship between the artist and his model. First, in 1962-63 he painted a series of portraits of Jacqueline, his companion since 1954, whom he married in 1961; then he introduced the artist into the composition. For two years, from 1963 to 1965, Picasso developed this theme in his paintings, drawings and prints. In many versions, the artist is seen with his easel in front of him as he gazes at his model, in others he stands at the edge of the canvas, sometimes he is absent altogether. In this painting, the over-sized profile of the artist appears on the left side of the canvas, intent on the lascivious model before him.

There is a pronounced sexual component in the artist and model paintings: painting is an act of love, while art is a metaphor for sex. The writer Michel Leiris noted that Picasso’s paintings “are at once entirely chaste and extremely erotic. It is as necessary that the model should be painted as that she should be loved. Art is as much a vital function as sex.” This painting is a quintessential example of the series. It is a work about the act of painting and Picasso’s own creativity.

Buste de Femme by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), 1944
The dark-haired, dark-eyed woman depicted in this powerful painting is Dora Maar, who became Picasso’s lover in 1936, the year after he met her in Les Deux Magots café in Paris. Their affair coincided with the Fascist uprising and ensuing Civil war in Spain, and later with the Second World War - their entire relationship, which lasted until 1944, was set against the backdrop of violence and war. At first, Picasso painted Dora in a naturalistic way, emphasizing her haughty beauty. However, increasingly he abandoned attempts to capture the likeness of his sitter, concentrating instead on conveying through her the sombre mood of the war years. Inspired by the tortured quality of medieval Spanish religious paintings, and driven by his own pain and grief at the horrors of tyranny and war, Picasso created distorted, anguished portraits which reflected the troubled mood in Europe.

In this work, Picasso used the device of the double profile. Whereas in previous works the profile and full face were combined, here he presents the viewer with three points of view: the two profiles and the full face, all of which are superimposed to form a single face. The right and left profile meet in the centre so that the image seems to move if the gaze of the viewer shifts. Dora’s face appears intense but strangely impassive, while her scarlet dress and black hair reinforce the undercurrents of violence and danger.

Seoul Auction’s Hong Kong sale on 29 November will offer approximately 60 exceptional works by Western artists including Andy Warhol, as well as renowned artists from Korea, China and Japan. Of note, the sale will present approximately thirty creative pieces by up-and-coming young Korean artists.

Auction highlights:

• Lee U Fan (b. 1936), From Point. Pigment suspended in glue on canvas, 138.4 x 168.9 cm. 1983. Estimate: HK$7,000,000-9,000,000.

• Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Flower. Synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas, 20.6 × 20.8 cm. 1964. Estimate: HK$2,000,000-2,200,000.

• Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Flower. Synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas, 20.6 × 20.8 cm. 1964. Estimate: HK$2,000,000-2,200,000.

• Zeng Fanzhi (b. 1964), Trauma, oil on canvas, 80 × 60 cm. 2007. Estimate: HK$2,350,000-3,100,000.

• Yoo Yung Wun (b. 1972), Jackie Chan, mixed media, 97 x 87 x 195 cm. 2010. Estimate: HK$70,000-91,000.

• Yoo Yung Wun (b. 1972), Yun-Fat Chow, mixed media, 107 x 100 x 195 cm. 2010. Estimate: HK$70,000-91,000

Seoul Auction | Misung Shim | Marc Chagall |

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