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Powerful Picasso portrait of his great love Jacqueline Roque to be offered at Christie's
Alberto Giacometti, Trois homes qui marchent I. Estimate:£6.2 - 8 million. This work was conceived around 1948 and cast by 1951. © Christie’s Images Limited 2014.

LONDON.- Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in London on 4 February 2014 sets the bar for rare and important works from distinguished sources to be offered at auction this season. Presenting discerning, informed and passionate international collectors with 48 lots spanning almost a century, the sale is led by Femme au costume turc dans un fauteuil, 1955 by Pablo Picasso, which comes to the market for the first time in over 55 years (estimate: £15-20 million). The sale features works from exceptional collections including: Modern Masters: Works from an Important Private Swiss Collection, an historic group led by a magnificent still life by Juan Gris, Nature morte à la nappe à carreaux, 1915 (estimate: £12-18 million) and Piet Mondrian’s iconic Composition No. 2 with Blue and Yellow, 1930 (estimate: £8-12 million); Trois homes qui marchent I, one of Alberto Giacometti’s famous multi-figure compositions, dating to the height of his oeuvre, from The Property of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Sold to Benefit the Acquisitions Fund (estimate: £6.2-8 million); Les cylindres colorés, 1918, by Fernand Léger, formerly in the collection of Louis Carré, the celebrated art dealer who was closely associated with the artist (estimate: £5-7 million); and Property from the Estate of Ayala Zacks Abramov, featuring Henry Moore’s Mother and Child with Apple (estimate: £2.5-3.5 million). The enduring appeal of the Impressionist era is exemplified by L’Eglise de Varengeville; soleil couchant, 1882, by Claude Monet (estimate: £4-7 million). Estimates range from £150,000 to £20 million, with a pre-sale estimate of £94,150,000 to£134,900,000. Christie’s evening auctions of Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist Art on 4 February have a total pre-sale estimate of £137.1 million to £199.5 million.

Jay Vincze, International Director and Head of The Impressionist and Modern Art Department, Christie’s London: “This stellar sale presents international collectors and institutions with rare opportunities to acquire exceptional works with illustrious provenance by key impressionist and modern masters. The global market for this category continues to expand and deepen year on year, underpinned by passion for the beauty of the period and an increasingly far reaching appreciation and understanding of the importance of late 19th century and early 20th century art movements. We are very privileged to be offering the distinguished private Swiss collection which includes a magnificent still life by Juan Gris as well as some of the most important examples of De Stijl works ever to be seen on the market, many of which were acquired directly from the artists, with whom the collectors had significant relationships. We are also very honoured to be offering Picasso’s powerful portrait of his great love Jacqueline Roque, which comes to auction for the first time in over 55 years. Such a major work from this important series has not been seen at auction since ‘Femme accroupie au costume turc, Jacqueline’ was sold at Christie’s New York for $30.8 million in November 2007.”

Femme au costume turc dans un fauteuil, 20 November 1955, is one of a small group of portraits by Pablo Picasso showing Jacqueline Roque in the costume of an ‘odalisque’, a woman of the harem (estimate: £15-20 million). Having met Jacqueline three years earlier, this painting dates from relatively early in their relationship and is a colourful, sexually charged celebration of Jacqueline, whom Picasso would marry six years later and who would become one of the most important muses of the artist’s life. The theme of the odalisque derived from Picasso’s variations upon Eugène Delacroix’s celebrated masterpiece, Les femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement, now in the Louvre, Paris. Picasso had created his own versions of Les femmes d’Alger from December 1954 until early 1955 in his studio in the rue des Grands Augustins in Paris; returning to the theme with relish later that year. The present painting is one of a series of pictures in which he painted a single woman dressed as an odalisque, taking his cues from Delacroix, from Ingres, from himself and crucially from Henri Matisse who had died the previous year; the connection between this theme and the heady, orientalised world of languorous sexuality of Matisse’s fictive harem scenes is immediately recognisable.

Modern Masters: Works from an Important Private Swiss Collection
Modern Masters: Works from an Important Private Swiss Collection comprises an exceptional and historic group of works which will be offered across all four King Street sales on 4 and 5 February. Collections often reflect their collectors’ tastes and histories, but seldom do they also reflect their friendships and relationships as much as the 22 works of art assembled by a private Swiss couple. Behind almost all of these works are tales of friendship, as the collectors came to know many of the artists who are represented, meeting a number of the leading figures of the avant garde from the 1920s onwards. Living a reality confined merely to dreams for many, they were able to meet Constantin Brancusi, to see Pablo Picasso’s Guernica while it was in its studio, to support the impoverished and embattled Piet Mondrian and to entertain Hans Arp on a regular basis. Two published authors, who were authorities in their field, the couple were prominent in the cultural milieu of Switzerland and Europe as a whole, particularly in the middle decades of the 20th century. The collection is led by a magnificent still life by Juan Gris, Nature morte à la nappe à carreaux, 1915 (estimate: £12-18 million) and Piet Mondrian’s Composition No. 2 with Blue and Yellow, 1930, which is an historic example of the radical Neo-Plastic aesthetic that Mondrian had developed during the previous decade and which reached a pinnacle at this time (estimate: £8-12 million). Coming to the market for the first time, the collection as a whole is expected to realise in excess of £30 million.

The Property of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Sold to Benefit the Acquisitions Fund
Trois homes qui marchent I by Alberto Giacometti is an early lifetime cast of one of the artist’s famous multi-figure compositions, showing three men passing each other as though in a street (estimate:£6.2 - 8 million). This work was conceived around 1948 and cast by 1951. It dates from what is considered to be the height of Giacometti’s creative powers, a window of several years during which he honed the iconic vision of elongated, stick-thin figures for which he is now famed, producing a string of masterpieces tapping into this new artistic solution. It is a reflection of the importance of this work that casts of it are held by several museums, as are casts of many of the related works from the era. Offered by the Museum of Modern Art, New York and Sold to Benefit the Acquisitions Fund, having been gifted by Sidney Janis in 1967, this work provides the market with a remarkable opportunity. Of all Giacometti’s subjects, it is perhaps the striding man that is most recognised; its iconic status is emblematic of Giacometti himself, who often wandered around Paris’ streets, a 20th century flâneur. In the present work, the three figures are weaving their way past each other, connected yet isolated; it is the perfect embodiment of city life and the human condition during the post-war years of existentialism.

Property from the Former Louis Carré Collection
Dating from one of the most important watershed moments in Fernand Léger’s career, Les cylindres colorés was painted in 1918, at the end of the First World War (estimate: £5-7 million). The conflict, which had seen Léger exposed to great danger at the Front, had provided the artist with new ideas and subject matter. The end of the war brought a period of immense release for Léger, as a string of works that he created during that time reflected, many of which are now in museums throughout the world. Les cylindres colorés belongs to a distinguished group of pictures which share compositional details with his 1917 masterpiece, La partie de cartes, now in the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo. The shapes in Les cylindres colorés and in related pictures in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow and the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, amongst others, can be seen to relate to the soldiers with whom Léger had served. It is a mark of the importance of Les cylindres colorés that it featured in several important exhibitions of his work, including the large-scale posthumous survey held in Paris the year after his death. For many years, it was owned by Louis Carré, the celebrated art dealer who was closely associated with Léger and his career, and who had a number of his works in his own home.

Property from the Estate of Ayala Zacks Abramov
Conceived in 1956, Henry Moore’s Mother and Child with Apple leads the three works offered from The Estate of Ayala Zacks-Abramov (estimate: £2.5-3.5 million). This sculpture belongs to a series of works exploring the playful relationship between mother and child which the artist executed in the early 1950s. Ayala Zacks-Abramov was, together with her second husband Samuel Jacob Zachs, the architect of one of the most comprehensive and impressive collections of 20th century art in the post-war era; leaving an enduring legacy of cultural enrichment in both her native Israel and her adopted home of Toronto, Canada, which will be enjoyed and appreciated by generations to come. Sam and Ayala pushed the limits of their artistic exploration, enlarging their collection to staggering proportions and building a comprehensive overview of modern art. They collected with enthusiasm, passion and devotion, with an unerring eye for quality. They acquired many works which represent significant landmarks in the art of the 20th century, including masterpieces by artists such as Picasso, Derain, Matisse, Gris, Severini, Chagall and Kandinsky. Through their love of paintings they became interested in drawings and through drawings sculpture. They had a warm and close relationship with many artists, Henry Moore being one of the most prominent among them. This is reflected in the sculpture and also the drawing, Family Group, 1948 (estimate: £400,000-600,000), which are being offered.

The gloriously light-saturated painting Eglise de Varengeville, soleil couchant by Claude Monet, exemplifies pure impressionism at its peak (estimate: £4-7 million). It was painted at a turning point in Monet’s life and career. Having returned to his native Normandy in 1882 in order to paint there, against the complicated domestic background of the death of his wife Camille three years earlier and his current love affair with Alice Hoschedé - whom he had left with his children in Poissy, it is one of several historic views of this church that Monet created that year. Filled with the delicate light of evening, this stunning painting belongs to a group of four views from similar stand-points and is the only one which is not in a museum collection, providing buyers with a very rare opportunity. The other three from the group are in: the Columbus Museum of Fine Art, Ohio; the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham; the JB Speed Art Museum, Louisville. In each of these works, Monet explored a different light effect, underscoring his credentials as an Impressionist and also pioneering the serial works which he would create more and more frequently during the rest of his career, for instance his pictures of haystacks, of Rouen Cathedral or of water lilies.

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