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Sothebys May 2008 Sales of Impressionist and Modern Art to feature Masterpieces of Modernism
Edvard Munch’s Girls on a Bridge (est. $24/28 million). Painted in 1902.

NEW YORK.-Sotheby’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on May 7, 2008 in New York will present a superb offering of key works by many of the leading artists of the period: Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, Fernand Léger, Alberto Giacometti, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Joan Miró and others. The sale of 53 lots is estimated to bring $207/284 million. Prior to the exhibition and sale in New York, highlights of the offering will be on view at Sotheby’s London from April 20-25, 2008.

The highlight of the May 7 Evening sale is Fernand Léger’s Cubist masterpiece, Étude pour La Femme en Bleu (est. $35/45 million). Painted in 1912-13, the canvas is one of very few key works of Cubism remaining in private hands. It was included in the ground-breaking Der Sturm exhibition in Berlin in October 1913 before entering the legendary collection of Hermann Lange in the late 1920s. The painting has remained in Lange’s family since then and will be offered for sale this spring by his heirs. This spectacular image is one the most enduring achievements of the Cubist movement and a milestone in the development towards abstraction. The canvas has been requested for the forthcoming exhibition FERNAND LÉGER Paris - New York to be held at the Beyeler Foundation, Basel, where it will be hung, for the first time, with the other two treatments of this theme.

Edvard Munch’s Girls on a Bridge is one of the artist’s most widely popular and lyrical compositions (est. $24/28 million). It was painted in 1902, a year that the artist himself recognized as pivotal: “Those years from 1902 until the Copenhagen clinic were the unhappiest, the most difficult and yet the most fateful and productive years of my life.” With Van Gogh, Munch was one of the fathers of Expressionism. His vibrant colors and radical perspective inspired the Fauves in France and the Expressionists in Germany and Austria. Girls on a Bridge was formerly in the esteemed collections of Norton Simon and Wendell and Dorothy Cherry, whose collection at one time also featured major modernist masterpieces by Chaïm Soutine (L’Homme au foulard rouge sold for a record price - $17.2 million - at Sotheby’s London in 2007) and Amedeo Modigliani (Jéanne Hebuterne (au chapeau) sold for a record price - $31.4 million at Sotheby’s New York in 2004). In 2006, Sotheby’s London held a historic sale of eight works by Munch from the collection of his patron Thomas Olsen, which proved to be a watershed moment in the auction market for the artist – achieving nearly $30 million and establishing a new record for the artist at auction when Summer Day achieved $10.8 million.

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