NEW YORK, NY.- The Christie's
announced further details of its upcoming Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on November 3. Led by significant works by Henri Matisse, Juan Gris, Joan Miró, Alberto Giacometti, Gustave Caillebotte, Georges Seurat, and Pablo Picasso, the complete sale of 85 lots is expected to achieve in excess of $200 million.
Among the highlights of the sale is Property from a Distinguished Private Collection: Four Modern Masterpieces, a superb group of works led by Violon et guitare, a 1913 Cubist composition by Juan Gris (1887-1927). Widely recognized as one of the most significant Cubist still lifes to come to auction and a personal favorite of the artist himself, the painting bears a record estimate of $18-25 million. The previous record was set in November 2008 at Christie's New York with the sale of Gris Livre, pipe et verres of 1915 for $20.8 million.
Gris painted Violon et guitare in the south of France in the late summer of 1913, during a highly prolific stretch of focused creative effort. Of the 13 canvases Gris completed there, this painting - with its warm, vivid hues inspired by the heat of the Mediterranean summer - stands as an indisputable masterwork that beautifully synthesizes idea, form and color. Over the years, the painting has been the subject of much scholarship, and has come to be regarded as one of the milestones of both Cubism and early modernism. It has been featured in exhibitions at major museums around the world, including The Metropolitan Museum and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris, and the Salas Pablo Ruiz Picasso in Madrid. The upcoming sale marks the first time the painting will be on extended public view since 1985.
A second major work from the collection is L'Air from 1938 by Joan Miró (1893 1983), a Surrealist landscape of blue sky and yellow mountains that evokes Mirós native Spain (estimate: $12-18 million). Laden with symbols and subtext both celebratory and ominous, the colors in this whimsical landscape echo those of the Spanish national flag and that of Mirós native region of Catalunya. The slithering red serpent that ranges across the yellow earth has been interpreted as a caricature of General Franco, the leader of the fascist uprising whose forces at the time of the painting's execution had divided Spain into a bitter civil war. The work has been featured in major retrospectives of Mirós works at the Grand Palais in Paris and the MoMA in New York.
The collection also boasts an exceptional work by Paul Klee (1879-1940) entitled Pflanze und Fenster Stilleben (estimate: $3-4 million), an enigmatic view of Klees own surroundings at the Bauhaus in Dessau where he was an instructor alongside with his contemporaries and colleagues Wassily Kandinsky and Lyonel Feininger, among others. The painting was completed in 1927, during a period of financial stability and success for Klee, who found himself free to experiment with concepts of time and space in his art. The upcoming sale marks the paintings first appearance at auction.
Rounding out the collection is Tête d'homme (estimate: $5-7 million), one of one of several important works by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) that are included in the sale. Tête d'homme, a pastel on paper, belongs to Picassos celebrated series of neoclassical figures created during the summer of 1921, when he vacationed at Fontainebleau near Paris, with his then-wife Olga Khokhlova, and their infant son Paulo. His renewed interest in Classicism also yielded Maternité, (pictured page one, center; estimate: $7-10 million), a touching portrait of a mother holding her restless child. This compelling work is offered from the Collection of Mildred and Himan Brown, the radio producer and creator of the hugely popular American radio dramas The Thin Man and Dick Tracy. The Browns acquired Maternité, around 1950 and have kept it in their private collection since. The upcoming sale marks the first time since 1966 that the work will be seen in public. At the time of the sale, a portion of the proceeds be directed to The Umbrella Project, a not-for-profit arts program for youths founded by the couples daughter, Hilda Brown.
Exceptional examples of modern sculpture will also highlight the November 3 sale, led by the previously announced top lot of the Impressionist and Modern Art sale, Henri Matisses Nu de dos, 4 état (Back IV), a monumental bronze from the artists celebrated Back series. The sculpture the first from the series to ever be offered at auction bears a record estimate of $25-35 million.
A second major sculpture highlight is Alberto Giacomettis Femme de Venise V (estimate: $8-12 million) from a series of nine standing female nudes the artist created in 1956, in preparation for the Venice Biennale of the same year. Of the individual figures, Femme de Venise V is regarded as the most physically desirable of the series, with a more voluptuous and sensual interpretation of the female form. The bronze edition of Femme de Venise V includes 10 casts in all, four of which are in major museums in France and Germany. The sculpture is being sold to benefit the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, which received the sculpture as a gift from a private American collection.