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Artcurial announces major Impressionist & Modern and Post-war & Contemporary Art sales
Jean Fautrier, Sans titre, 1956, Huile et technique mixte sur papier marouflé. Estimate: 300 000 – 500 000 € / 350 000 – 555 000 $.


PARIS.- Artcurial invites art enthusiasts and collectors to the major Impressionist & Modern and Post-war & Contemporary Art sales to be held in June 2015. Close to 240 works of art will be presented across two sales, offering a wide panorama of international creation. Points, the oil on canvas by Francis Picabia, painted in 1951 (estimate : 120 000 – 180 000 € / 130 000 – 195 000 $), provides a link between these two evening sales.

For the first time, Artcurial will present a public exhibition offering an artistic journey through a selection of work from the two sales. Entitled Modernité : Un Dialogue, this exhibition will develop a dialogue between the artists and the work, much as a collector or expert would do, and as Francis Picabia has expressed: « And what do I like ? The things I love to paint ! »

From Edgar Degas to Francis Picabia, the sale dedicated to Impressionist & Modern Art will comprise over 120 works of art. The evening will begin at 19.00 on 2 June 2015 with a gouache and watercolour on paper by Frantisek Kupka. The focus will be on modernism, and the various artistic movements in Europe this encompasses, starting with Italian Futurism and Giacomo Balla, followed by the compositions néo-plastiques of César Domela, and moving on to abstract art. Artcurial will offer a rare work by Max Ernst that has been preserved for more than 70 years in the library of one of the 20th century’s most important publishers, Louis Broder.

Bruno Jaubert, the director of Artcurial’s Modern Art department, comments : « This collage from 1921 by Max Ernst is a real discovery, and an important example of the artist’s work and of Pre-Surrealism. It is a very early piece that was part of the artist’s first exhibition in France. On a small scale, it introduced the use of collage into the work of surrealists, and was the first time that Max Ernst had collaborated with writers of the movement. The collage illustrates Répétitions by Paul Eluard, which was Eluard’s favourite book. »

Italian modern art will be represented by four Futurist works by Giacomo Balla, including a pastel on paper, Ritmo di fontana (estimate : 150 000 – 200 000 € / 165 000 – 220 000 $). As a continued development of cubism, these works are characterised by a quest to represent movement. Two geometric sculptures of flowers illustrate the dynamic style of Italian Futurism : Fiore futurista azzuro verde e blu (estimate : 60 000 – 80 000 € / 65 000 – 85 000 $) and Fiore futurista verde, rosa e giallo (estimate : 60 000 – 80 000 € / 65 000 – 85 000 $).

The artists César Domela, Jaques Villon and Hans Arp feature in the section dedicated to Neoplasticism. The restricted chromatic range of Compositions néo-plastiques by César Domela (estimate : 60 000 – 80 000 € / 65 000 – 85 000 $) contrasts with the abstract watercolour of Paul Klee, Hügellandschaft M. D. Schwarzen Sone (estimate : 120 000 – 150 000 € / 130 000 – 165 000 $). The work of Paul Klee reveals a fusion of primitive art, surrealism and cubism. The artist from Berlin uses a graduated, hazy colour range on a brownish background to depict a Bavarian landscape imbued with a sense of North Africa.

Other highlights include two bronze sculptures by Henri Laurens, including Petite femme assise (estimate : 150 000 – 200 000 € / 165 000 – 220 000 $). Influenced by the work of Henri Matisse, the artist twists the figure on a central axis, giving the forms a fluidity and suppleness.

The sale will close with several pieces by artists from the early 20th century, coming from a private collection. These include the oil on canvas Rue Ravignan (estimate : 90 000 – 130 000 € / 100 000 – 145 000 $) by the great portrayer of life in Montmartre, Maurice Utrillo. The Rue Ravignan is also known for having housed Picasso between 1904 and 1912. Another piece in the collection is a wonderful oil on canvas by Marie Laurencin, entitled Jeune fille aux anémones (estimate : 70 000 – 90 000 € / 78 000 – 100 000 $).

The 120 works assembled for the Post-War & Contemporary Art sale on Monday 1 June 2015 illustrate the major artistic movements of the second half of the 20th century, such as Narrative Figuration, Conceptual Art with Sol LeWitt and Donald Judd, and work by the French Affichistes such as Jacques Villeglé. Artcurial will also offer two works by Manolo Millares and Miquel Barcelo that come from the same collection.

Karim Hoss, Post-War and Contemporary Art specialist at Artcurial, explains : « We are delighted to present two works of art that are rare to the Parisian market : Cuadro 169, by Manolo Millares, dating from 1961, the artist’s most sought-after period, exemplifying his study of subject matter and abstraction, and a large canvas by Miquel Barcelo from 2004 that combines a bullfighting theme with African-influenced imagery. »

Considered to be one of the key figures in Art Informel, Jean Fautrier is represented here with a piece from 1956, Untitled (estimate : 300 000 – 500 000 € / 350 000 – 550 000 $). With an international reputation for his abstract creations that testified to the curse of dehumanisation in post-war Europe, the French artist proposed a representation of reality that was internalised and reformulated. Fautrier explained : « The act of painting is not simply the need to spread paint on canvas and it must be acknowledged that the desire to express oneself comes originally from what one sees. »

Hughes Sebilleau, Post-War and Contemporary Art specialist at Artcurial, says: «This is a rare piece by Jean Fautrier, the key figure in art informel, in which his particular use of thick impasto conveys great depth. »

Stemming from the same objective, is the piece by Anselm Kiefer : a book containing a mix of clay, hair and acrylic, mounted on card, called Für Paul Celan (estimate : 100 000 – 180 000 € / 111 000 – 200 000 $). The German artist forces us to confront the horror of the Second World War and the holocaust through this collaboration with the Jewish Romanian poet Paul Celan. The « book-object » suggests a grim reality that can’t be escaped : ravaged soil on which nothing can grow. Each page of the book contains a story, an idea or a thought that fights against oblivion.





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