announced a highly selective auction of Impressionist & Modern Art to take place in Paris on 30 May 2012. This prestigious 65-lot sale pays tribute to some of the most iconic artists of the 20th century, including Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, René Magritte, Salvador Dalí and Max Ernst.
Pablo Picassos oil on canvas Tête de Femme (1939-41) is the sales most outstanding lot. This portrait of Dora Maar, consigned from a private European collection (est. 3-5m / $3.9-6.5m), is being offered at auction for the first time. Picassos Seated Woman, from the same European collection, will be sales other star lot (est. 2-4m / $2.6-5.2m); it was painted in Royan on 13 October 1939, just three days before Tête de Femme.
Impressionist & Fauve Works: Claude Monet & Auguste Herbin
Quayside in the Port of Bastia (1907) is a work of exceptional quality that marks the apotheosis of Auguste Herbins Fauvist style. The compositions vibrant palette and frenzied vitality ensure that it ranks among Herbins finest works (est. 500,000-700,000 / $650,000-910,000).
Claude Monets Aiguille & Porte dAval, Etretat Sunset (c.1883-85) has remained in the same French private collection since 1939 (est. 250,000-350,000 / $325,000-455,000).
Surrealism: Man Ray, Salvador Dalí, René Magritte & Max Ernst
Man Rays Two-Faced Image (Paris 1959) offers a highly personal interpretation of the timeless theme of the kiss. This powerful and masterful composition features two women about to embrace. The provocative subject-matter appears all the more erotic given the identity of the model on the left: Lee Miller, Man Rays photographic assistant and, above all, muse and lover from 1929-32 (est. 1.5-2m / $2-2.6 m).
Another exciting lot is Port Lligat Before the Storm (1956), a variation on one of the best-known and most fascinating paintings in Salvador Dalís entire oeuvre: Christ of St John of the Cross, painted five years earlier. This Port Lligat seascape sees Dalí revisit the bays aesthetic appeal using powerfully innovative means of artistic expression. It is one of the most serene and personal compositions the Catalan artist ever produced (est. 1.25-1.85m / $1.6-2.4 m).
In his enigmatic 1927 work Gestes Sauvages pour le Charme II (Deux Jeunes Femmes et Homme Double), Max Ernst portrays a frightening, foreboding creature emerging from a blue ground (est. 550,000-750,000 / $715,000-970,000). Another work by Ernst, his 1934 Hermaphrodite, features a phantasmagorical figure rising above a lunar landscape; it is a refined example of the frottage and grattage techniques he pioneered in 1925. The hermaphrodite was a major theme of Surrealist mythology (est. 300,000-400,000 / $390,000-520,000).
René Magrittes Black Magic (1948), meanwhile, recreates the female body using an almost fantastical vocabulary with Georgette, his wife, appearing as a creature of both flesh and stone (est. 400,000-600,000 / $520,000-780,000).