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Bonhams to offer stellar line up of works by Impressionist and Modern masters in New York
Fernand Léger (1881-1955), Projet peinture murale. Signed with initials 'F. L.' (lower right), gouache, brush and India ink on paper, 11 x 24 1/4in. (28 x 61cm). Executed circa 1940. EST. $120,000 - 180,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Bonhams sale of Impressionist and Modern Art, November 5 in New York, will feature 80 lots by period masters. Highlights will include works by Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Emil Nolde and Marc Chagall, among other significant artworks drawn primarily from private collections.

Pablo Picasso’s sensitively rendered Trois nus féminins (est. $220,000-$280,000) from 1923 was inspired by his summer at Cap d’Antibes with wife Olga Kokhlova and son Paulo at the invitation of American friends, patrons and collectors Sara and Gerald Murphy. Picasso’s Neoclassically inspired composition of three figures was based on photographs from that trip and appeared in subsequent sketches and designs for the ballet Mercure. Previous owners of this drawing include important collectors Gerald Barry and Sir Hugh Walpole.

Fascinated with the energy and modernity of New York City during World War II, Fernand Léger juxtaposes manmade architectural forms and machine-age objects with naturally occurring elements in his boldly colored gouache drawing Projet peinture murale circa 1940 (est. $120,000-$180,000).

The warmly toned and graphically charged brushstrokes of Emil Nolde’s Reetlandschaft und booten from 1930-1935 (est. $80,000-$100,000) is evidence of the artist’s masterful use of color and his love of the landscape of his native Germany. His rich application of watercolor on dampened Japan paper achieves the perception of sunlight cast from beyond the edge of the picture. After travels to Asia and the South Pacific, which ended with the outbreak of World War I, Nolde increasingly drew inspiration from nature rather than modern urban themes for his subject matter. He was later defamed and labeled a “degenerate artist” by the Third Reich, who confiscated his work and prohibited him from painting and exhibiting in his native Germany.

Among the additional strong offerings rounding out the auction is Marc Chagall's circa 1956 Ma rue Podrovskaya (est. $90,000-$120,000), coming from a private collection and touching upon themes of dreams and memories, dotted with dramatized color and brush work. The above works will be on view November 2–5.

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