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Exceptional Impressionist Paintings from the Jean Lanvin Collection to be Sold by Christie's
Edgar Degas, La femme au chapeau bleu. Estimate: €800.000-1.200.000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2008.

PARIS.- Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art department announced the sale of the Exceptional Collection of Jeanne Lanvin and the Polignac Foundations. This Collection pays homage to the eye of a woman who personifies Parisian elegance, Jeanne Lanvin, continuing with her daughter Marie-Blanche de Polignac and then on to a dynasty of patrons and lovers of art, the Polignac family.

The benchmark collection of Impressionist paintings is estimated to realize around 20 million Euros. It is the most significant collection of Impressionist Art to be offered on the market in France. Thirty-one works by Pierre Bonnard, Eugène Boudin, Georges Braque, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Jean-Louis Forain, Roger de la Fresnay, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, Jean-François Raffaelli, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Edouard Vuillard are included in this auction. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will go toward the two Polignac Foundations.

According to Anika Guntrum, Head of Department in Paris “This collection carries the imprint of the Lanvin soule, and is a testimony to the way in which Jeanne Lanvin, with her acute business acumen and refined taste, built not only an empire but an eclectic yet perfectly harmonious art collection. An especially modern spirit was required to marry traditional Impressionist pictures with the most innovative compositions by Degas and Picasso. Jeanne Lanvin’s innate vision enabled her to choose, from each of these artists, works of the highest quality”.

Jeanne Lanvin, the collector (1867-1946)
Jeanne Lanvin collected as she created, with a threefold demand for quality, moderation and harmony. At the head of her empire, she was able to associate herself with the best creators, designers and artists of her time. Among them, Armand Albert Rateau, architect and designer for Lanvin Décoration, the famous André Fraysse for his perfumes and Christian Bérard for theatre costumes. In the same way, Jeanne Lanvin surrounded herself with the greatest dealers, the Wildensteins, Georges Bernheim, Hector Brame and Yvonne de Brémond d’Ars, not to mention Jos Hessel, to build up her personal collection of artwork.

She began her collection in the 1920s, her choices tending towards the great names in Impressionism: Renoir, Degas, Bonnard, Sisley, Vuillard and Boudin, to which she added, over time, 18th century furniture, eventually surpassing 400 works of art.

The works originally hung in Jeanne Lanvin’s apartment on rue Barbet-de-Jouy, where the play between masculine and feminine forms, also apparent in the haute couture lines she created, is apparent. This veritable showcase, decorated by Armand Albert Rateau (a portion of which is conserved at the Paris Museum of Decorative Arts, thanks to a generous donation from Prince Louis de Polignac) was adorned with one of the most important Parisian collections of Impressionist paintings centred around a unique theme, the same that inspired her creative work: the woman.

Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
La femme au chapeau bleu is a remarkable work in its intimacty and immediacy of expression. The effect of this study is ambiguous and unsettling, as if we were witnessing not only an intimate scene of the kind Degas often depicted—a woman at her toilette, entirely unaware of us, although we are standing directly behind her—but one clouded by a veil of mystery (estimate: €800,000-1,200,000).

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
La tapisserie dans le parc represents one of Renoir’s preferred models from 1872 73 – none other than Camille Monet, the wife of Claude Monet. Here Renoir reveals his mastery of the use of light to create a quintessential Impressionist painting (estimate: €2,500,000-3,500,000).

Les petites laveuses à Cagnes, 1913, is a work of rare intensity from the artist’s mature period. Tête de fillette vue de profil de gauche reveals Renoir’s talent for portraiture, the sitter’s angelic grace in full bloom. Both of these works are estimated at €250,000-350,000.

Eugène Boudin (1824-1898)
The three Scènes de plage à Trouville, painted in the 1870s, treat with a theme dear to the artist, the Normandy coastline. These three compositions are estimated between €30,000 and 450,000.

L’embarcadère à Trouville (Elégantes en crinolines sur la jetée) dated 1864, is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished works by Eugène Boudin. Here the artist depicts, with much talent, his favourite subject, the Parisian upper-middle class on holiday and the Normandy light unique to Trouville. The movement of the figure’s dresses in the fresh sea air makes this composition one of the artist’s finest (estimate: €800,000-1,200,000).

La plage à marée basse, 1869, bears witness to the importance of the sky and atmospheric effects in the work of Eugène Boudin (estimate: €150,000-250,000).

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
La coiffure, 1922, a work of the neoclassical period, yet remains assertively autobiographical. Picasso’s work is often based on the qualities of subterfuge, alternative identities, and hidden, private symbols, and the beautiful, wistful figure here, who appears in scores of Picasso paintings and drawings over the course of 1922, is not his wife Olga but an idealized portrait of Sara Murphy, wife of the American expatriate painter Gerald Murphy. (estimate: €1,000,000-1,500,000).

Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940)
Renowned for the intimist grace of his work, Vuillard makes the viewer party to scenes of daily life by constructing his compositions in reduced spaces that stand out from very austere backgrounds, such as Vallotton chez les Natanson, 1897 (estimate: €500,000-700,000).

Vuillard made the acquaintance of Jos Hessel and his wife Lucie in 1900, when the former was director of the Galerie Bernheim. Thus began a thirty-year friendship, with Lucie becoming one of his preferred models. She appears in the Lanvin Polignac Collection : Madame Hessel en roube rouge lisant, 1905 (estimate €150,000-250,000).

In La leçon de piano, Madame Arthur Fontaine et sa fille, 1903-04, Vuillard transforms an everyday scene into a painting of great emotional intensity (estimate €200,000-300,000).

This remarkable collection, bearing witness to the modern taste and spirit of Jeanne Lanvin, celebrates the female form at her most elegant, as well as in tender complicity between mother and daughter. As such, this Collection is perfectly representative of Jeanne Lanvin’s personal history and the brand Lanvin she so assiduously built; both of which are symbolised by the infinite love that she held for her daughter, Marie-Blanche.

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