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Christie's announces highlights from its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale
Paul Gauguin, Te Fare (La maison), 1892. Estimate: £12,000,000-18,000,000. © Christie’s Images Limited 2017.

LONDON.- The Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 28 February will launch 20th-Century at Christie’s, a season of sales that take place in London from 28 February to 10 March 2017. The auction will present 51 lots from the birth of Impressionism through to some of the most important and ground-breaking movements of the 20th century, and will feature two esteemed European collections, The Personal Collection of Barbara Lambrecht and Le Corbusier: Important Works from the Heidi Weber Museum Collection, forming a focal point for the sale. A major highlight is Paul Gauguin’s Te Fare (La maison) (1892, estimate: £12,000,000-18,000,000), one of the most richly coloured of his Tahitian landscapes, painted on his first visit to the island. Further exceptional works include Henri Matisse’s Jeune fille aux anémones sur fond violet (1944, estimate: £5,000,000-7,000,000), part of a series of interior scenes that the artist created whilst living in Vence in the South of France, a monumental portrait of two figures by Pablo Picasso titled Joueur de flûte et femme nue (1970, estimate: £6,500,000-8,500,000), Canotage á Bougival (circa 1881, estimate: £3,700,000-4,700,000), a landscape by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, formerly in the collection of Albert C. Barnes, painted at a transitional moment in his career and Auguste Rodin’s timeless expression of passionate love Le baiser (conceived circa 1882, estimate: £4,000,000-6,000,000). The Impressionist & Modern Works on Paper sale takes place on 1 March and is followed by the Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale, also on 1 March at King Street with Impressionist & Modern Art taking place at Christie’s South Kensington on 3 March. The online-only sale Picasso Ceramics will run alongside the live auctions from 24 February to 7 March 2017. Prices range from £500-18,000,000 across the season, providing opportunities for collectors at every level. Highlights will be on view in Shanghai on 8 February and Beijing from 11 to 13 February with all works to be exhibited in London from 23 to 28 February 2017.


An homage to the spectacular Tahitian landscape, Te Fare (La maison) was created in 1892, the year that Paul Gauguin painted some of his greatest masterpieces. A large hibiscus tree dominates the composition, its rich emerald green leaves and just visible orange blossoms obscuring the purple-roofed house situated behind it. This wooden hut could, it has been suggested, be the artist’s own rented home in Mataiea. A quiet, enigmatic narrative seems to veil the scene, imbuing the composition with a deeper, psychological dimension, a reflection of Gauguin’s Symbolist involvement. In Te Fare (La maison) Gauguin has increasingly simplified and monumentalised the landscape, transcending reality by turning the natural world into a mystic vision of colour, line and form.

Joueur de flûte et femme nue depicts a voluptuous female nude, being softly serenaded by a bearded, flute-player seated next to her. The couple’s interlocking limbs, and the sensual, spontaneous style of the painting all serve to infuse the composition with a heady sense of eroticism, a feature that characterises much of Picasso’s late work. The unmistakable, hieratic profile of the seated nude in Joueur de flûte et femme nue is that of Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s great love, wife and final muse, who first appeared in his work in 1954.

Renoir is likely to have painted Canotage á Bougival in the spring of 1881, soon after returning from a two-month trip to Algeria, his first ever voyage outside of France. During his travels, the artist had devoted himself fully to landscape painting, revelling in the dense and luxuriant foliage of palm and banana trees. Seeking to maintain the creative energy that the Algerian vistas had inspired in him, he continued to paint landscapes that bear witness to one of the central tenets of Impressionism: the plein-air master standing outdoors. Canotage á Bougival was acquired in 1920 by one of the most important collectors of the 20th Century: Dr Albert C. Barnes. Barnes's collection of modern art remains among the greatest of its kind, and features many works by Renoir, whom Barnes admired above all other painters.

Depicting a young artist, Annelies Nelck, Jeune fille aux anémones sur fond violet is the first of three portraits by Matisse that features this model. Of these three works, the present oil is the only one to remain in private hands; the other two reside in the Musée Matisse, Nice, and the Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawaii. Wearing a red and orange Romanian blouse – one of Matisse’s adored collection of lavish dresses and ornate costumes that he often depicted his sitters in – Nelck is surrounded by blossoming flowers against a soft, mauve background, bringing Matisse's lifelong preoccupations with colour and line to a triumphant conclusion.

First conceived circa 1882, Le baiser is one of the most iconic sculptures of Rodin’s entire oeuvre, renowned for its poetic depiction of two young lovers caught in a passionate embrace. Rodin’s work dramatically portrays the intense desire that has swept through these two figures, causing their bodies to intertwine in an almost spiral formation, as they succumb to their lustful impulses. Slightly larger than life size, the original marble version was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1898.

With the sale of her personal collection, Barbara Lambrecht continues her profound and longstanding philanthropic engagement. Her personal collection was carefully assembled over four decades and two distinct conceptual strands can be identified: classic early Impressionism and the daring colour of the Fauves. Two important oils by Berthe Morisot will be presented alongside Claude Monet’s Les Bords de la Seine au Petit-Gennevilliers (1874, estimate: £2,000,000-3,000,000), Deux anges by Kees van Dongen (1907-09, estimate: £400,000-600,000) and Pablo Picasso’s Portrait de Lluis Alemany (1899-1900, estimate: £300,000-500,000).

Three oil paintings from the Heidi Weber Museum Collection, including Nature morte et figure (completed in 1944, estimate: £1,500,000-2,500,000), trace Le Corbusier’s career from the 1920s to the 1940s and will be offered alongside four works on paper. From the elegant, rigidly structured Purist compositions of the late 1910s and early 1920s, to the exuberant multi-hued compositions of his later years, the astonishing diversity that characterises Le Corbusier’s oeuvre can be seen in the selection of works that feature in the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening and Works on Paper Sales.

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