Prior to the forthcoming Impressionist & Modern Art and Surrealist Art Evening Sales to be held in London on 3 February 2016, Sothebys
announces an exhibition of highlights in Hong Kong - including an exceptional painting by Henri Matisse, which has emerged after 85 years in a private collection, and a rare example of Francis Picabias machinist compositions.
This exhibition follows a record year for Sothebys sales of Impressionist & Modern Art worldwide in 2015, which achieved a grand total of US$1.72 billion the highest annual figure for the company in this category.
Sothebys has also been achieving outstanding prices for Surrealist works of art, including many artist records, since its first stand-alone sale 15 years ago the market for which has continued to go from strength to strength. Highlights on view include exquisite works on paper by René Magritte and a painting by Francis Picabia.
Henri Matisse La Leçon de piano oil on canvas Painted in 1923 Estimate: £12,000,000-18,000,000 / HKD$140,000,000-208,000,000
An exceptional painting by Matisse, La Leçon de piano has emerged after 85 years in a private collection. Combining music and art, two of the artists main passions, this intimate work is one of the finest interior compositions from Matisses early Nice period, which rank among the boldest and most life-affirming bodies of work in Matisses uvre.
Paul Signac Voiles dans la brume. Canal de la Giudecca oil on canvas Painted in 1904 Estimate: £850,000-1,200,000 / HK$9,900,000-14,000,000
Inspired by Signacs first visit to Venice, in the spring of 1904, this work depicts a view of the Giudecca Canal with colourful sails shimmering in the mist. Signac uses a vibrant palette and mosaic-like brushwork to beautifully capture an everyday scene on this busy canal.
Francis Picabia Le Ventilateur oil on cardboard Painted in 1917 Estimate: £1,800,000-2,500,000 / HK$20,800,000-28,900,000
An exceptional example of Picabias rare and profoundly influential machinist compositions from his Dada period, in this work a ventilation machine is depicted as analogous with a potent female sexuality. The use of the mechanical forms and the sensational associations they evoke were fundamental to the artists perception of arts role in the modern, industrialised epoch.
René Magritte Shéhérazade gouache on paper Executed in 1956 Estimate: £500,000-700,000 / HK$5,800,000-8,100,000
One of Magrittes most elegant renderings of the recurring motif of the pearl-woman, this intricately composed female face alludes to the enigmatic yet legendary storyteller of One Thousand and One Nights. Her beauty is evident, yet at the same time it appears like a fleeting mirage in a mysterious setting, revealing the artists fascination with the paradox of the visible and the invisible. The piece was commissioned by Barnet Hodes in 1956. A Chicago-based collector who was one of the artist's earliest patrons in the United States, he owned over 50 gouaches by the artist - creating a veritable museum of Magrittes work in miniature in his home.
René Magritte Lusage de la parole gouache and collage on paper Executed in 1961 Estimate: £500,000-700,000 / HK$5,800,000-8,100,000
Magrittes use of paper cut-outs in 1925 began around the same time that he embarked on his first surrealist paintings. This work features a number of the iconic elements and signature objects that he developed at this time, including the silhouette of a bowler-hatted man which remained the single most iconic motif of his uvre. The piece is also linked to Magrittes celebrated body of work known as wordpaintings, and the word representing an abstract notion (knowledge) adds a conceptual dimension to the composition.