On the evening of Tuesday 4 June, Artcurial
will present major works from the 20th century during its prestigious Impressionist & Modern and Post War & Contemporary art auctions. Post War and Contemporary art will underline the achievements of Asian artists Chu Teh Chun, Zao Wou-Ki and Lee Ufan as well as Alexander Calder or Niele Toroni. Modern art will pay special tribute to Salvador Dalí with a painted white bronze with pompons of Vénus de Milo aux Tiroirs and an unprecedented set of 15 gouaches on paper by the catalonian artist. Commissioned from Dalí between 1959 and 1976 by a Spanish pharmaceutical laboratory, they were exhibited for two decades by the Dalí Foundation in Figueras. A Belgian collection composed of modern and contemporary Bernard Buffet and Albert Gleizes pieces will also be presented, alongside a French collection of Henri Martin and Henri Charles Manguin paintings.
Post War & Contemporary Art
The auction on Tuesday 4 June will open with the chapter dedicated to Post War & Contemporary Art. The most celebrated Asian artists from this movement will open the auction. Two Chu Teh-Chun oils on canvas will be presented including Synthèse hivernale C. It was painted in 1988, the year following his triumph in Asia, in 1987 when he exhibits at the National Museum of History of Taipei. The Chinese artist joins together 32 years of immigration (he lives in France since the age of 35) and his roots: freed from the weight of recognition of his peers, he produces without any restraint. This method used for the synthesis which bears its name combines a particular time in the artists career and the unique history of its collector, its first and only owner since acquisition. The owner discusses how he chose the painting in Chu Teh-Chuns studio in Bagnolet and what inspired him: «By train in winter, he crossed a forest where it was snowing». One reads in this canvas an extremely sensitive connection with nature, as if the artist took the pulse of that winter (estimate: 1,000,000 - 1,500,000).
Another great Chinese Abstract master, Zao Wou-Ki, will be represented in particular by the oil on canvas 24.1.61/62, created in 1961-62. It is part of the quest for a disembodied artistic creation. The painting should only refer to the painting. The artist invites the spectator to completely immerse oneself in his painting without necessarily attempting to extract any sense or rational explanation. Seeking to express emotions with a play of colours, material and movement, Zao Wou-Ki encourages a deeper reading of his work. Climaxing to the idea that a piece must allow for the opportunity of universal comprehension, Zao Wou-Kis reflection transcends the order of his time. By abolishing the descriptive titles of works and replacing them by simple dates of execution, he seeks to put himself in the background (estimate: 1,500,000 - 2,500,000). An oil on canvas, Dialogue, created in 2008 by the South-Korean artist Lee Ufan complete this Asian segment (estimate: 270,000 - 350,000) leaving the place to American artists.
Among them, Andy Warhol and the silkscreen Haus Eppinghoven (version rouge) represents the manor of German art collector Jürgen Pierburg (estimate: 220,000 - 320,000), Alexander Calder and his stabile which echoes the work Composition en rouge, jaune, bleu et noir that Mondrian paints in 1926 (estimate: 200,000 - 300,000) or the ink and watercolour on Howell paper, Untitled, by Jackson Pollock (estimate: 250,000 - 400,000). American artist Robert Motherwell who distinguished himself in collage technique will be represented by Pink nude with blue stripe, an acrylic and collage of canvas and paper on canvas from 1976 and Sol LeWitt by an ink on paper untitled Red grid, yellow circles, black arcs from four sides and blue arcs from four corners (estimate: 60,000 - 80,000).
Finally, among the european artists, we will find Antoni Tāpies with a paint and assemblage on canvas Quatre chiffons rouges. Here, the Spanish artist, using cords that pierce the canvas, ties on four pieces of cloth which are more or less faded by time. He explains that it must get the public uesd to thinking about the fact that there are a thousand things that deserve to be classified in the category of art. Another work of art: the acrylic on canvas, Sans titre, by the Swiss artist Niele Toroni, who questions the meaning of painting by combining extreme minimalism with a certain form of provocation (estimate: 80,000 - 120,000).
The Tuesday 4 June auction will continue with the segment dedicated to Impressionist & Modern art with a set of 15 gouaches on paper by Salvador Dalí. Commissioned each year between 1959 and 1976 by the Spanish pharmaceutical laboratory Hoechst Ibérica from the artist, these illustrations were utilized to illustrate the companys greeting cards. For two decades, they were exhibited at the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation in Figueras, the artists hometown.
These visually strong works illustrate Dalís mixed medium technique: Ink, gouache, watercolour or collage, they are accompanied by a manuscript text from the artist on the theme represented. On each piece, we discover Dalis surrealist inspiration through his major themes: metamorphosis, the chrysalid, Daphne or Don Quixote. They are sometimes associated with a Christmas theme, but in majority by nature and the benefits of medicinally plants. Each gouache carries an estimate between 20,000 - 30,000, and up to 70,000 - 100,000.
Other emblematic Salvador Dalí piece presented at this auction: a painted bronze statue with pompons representing a Vénus de Milo aux Tiroirs created between 1934 and 1964. In 1936, Salvador Dalí approaches Marcel Duchamp to help him construct a reinterpretation of this iconic piece from Antiquity. «Greek civilization did not experience introspection, you see, neither Freud nor Christianity. With drawers, it is now possible to see the soul of the Venus de Milo through her body» he says.
With his Venus, Dalí renews the characteristics of the figure, coveting the role of surrealist critic of the Hellenistic period Vénus de Milo, unearthed without arms on the Greek island of Milos in 1820. The recurring image of the incorporation of drawers in works by Salvador Dalí overpowers ancient aesthetic. Venus is no longer the precept of beauty and no longer constitutes a model to reproduce. The presence of drawers also refers to psychoanalysis. For Freud, the symbolic of the draw in dreams refers to everything that falls under feminine jurisdiction while their agape position, referring to his research on the insentient and deep self. In this instance, Dalí delivers a piece which invites to rediscover the female mystic, to not confine oneself to a superficial reading of the work, but on the contrary to seek another more modern interpretation. (estimate: 550,000 - 750,000).
Impressionnist & Modern Art
Among the other pieces presented in the Modern Art segment, an oil on canvas Homme assis et plage by Bernard Buffet created in 1948, from the collection of Maurice Girardin is sure to cause quite a stir among collectors. The latter started collecting pieces by Buffet precisely in 1948, three years prior to the death of the artist. That same year, he buys 17 pieces by Buffet including Hommes assis et plage which represents a lone man sitting on a balcony, turning his back to the beach at low tide.
The solitude of the angular character in the foreground is very clearly distinguishable, his white garment contrasting with the black contours of objects portrayed. Buffet uses dark colours to amplify the feeling of desolation that he portrays. The sitting man appears to turn his back on a collapsing world shaken by shipwrecks. His white garment echoes a peace flag, an inner peace the artist seeks so desperatly. Since 1945, Buffet also paints several beach themed pieces, relating to these moments spent in Brittany before the death of his mother from which he will never recovers (estimate: 350,000 - 450,000).
Represented Impressionist art, Artcurial presents Vue de Collioure created in 1930 by Henri Martin. The piece reveals a magnificent perspective of the Mediterranean village which has charmed so many artists. It would almost appear that Henri Martin leads us to a secret place to which he offers us the keys. Vue de Collioure applies the principles of pointillisms scientific theory: two neighbouring dots of different colour blend in retinal perception. Henri Martin creates tones that he juxtaposes in short individualised and paralleled colour keys that blend to form the landscape (estimate: 250,000 - 350,000).