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Théo van Rysselberghe to highlight ONE: a Global Sale of the 20th Century
Théo van Rysselberghe (1862-1926), Barques de pêche–Méditerranée, oil on canvas, 1892| $7-10 million. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

NEW YORK, NY.- On July 10, Christie’s will offer Théo van Rysselberghe’s Barques de pêche–Méditerranée (estimate: $7 – 10 million) in ONE: a Global Sale of the 20th Century. Depicting a fleet of sailboats off the southern coast of France, the Belgian artist’s 1892 work offers one of the purest applications of the pointillist painting technique utilized by Van Rysselberghe and his Neo-Impressionist contemporaries. After a long-term loan to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston as well as its inclusion in major exhibitions at the Grand Palais and the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, Barques de pêche–Méditerranée will come to auction this summer having been in the same private American collection for over 30 years.

Cyanne Chutkow, Deputy Chairman of Impressionist and Modern Art, remarks: “Barques de pêche–Méditerranée is a stunning example of Van Rysselberghe’s use of the divisionist technique, offering a scintillating array of dots that convey a tangible sense of the vastness and serenity of the Mediterranean as the artist saw it. This exceptional work whose wooden liner was painted with dots of contrasting hues serving to amplify the color harmonies in the canvas, is one of the most important works by the artist to appear at auction. It offers a visual representation of Van Rysselberghe’s sailing journey with Paul Signac and is an outstanding example of the artist’s work in the prime of his career.”

Van Rysselberge painted this enchanting vista during a two-month sailing excursion in le Midi with Paul Signac, his close friend and confrère in the divisionist movement. This trip came on the heels of a difficult year for the artists as they continued to mourn the loss of Georges Seurat the previous year to diphtheria at age 31. During the subsequent months, Van Rysselberge and Signac worked to secure Seurat’s formidable legacy, together organizing two memorial retrospectives of his work and set sail less than a week after the March 1892 exhibition opened in Paris.

Traveling aboard the Olympia, Signac’s sleek 36-foot cutter named for Édouard Manet’s foundational 1863 painting, the artists sailed along the idyllic French coast past Cette, Marseille, and Toulon before anchoring at Saint-Tropez in early May 1892, where Van Rysselberghe remained with Signac until the end of the month. This time along the French coast was personally transformative for the artists still recovering from the untimely death of their friend, and from it came this exceptional example of Van Rysselberghe’s mastery of divisionism, the technique that cemented his place among the 19th century’s greatest Neo-Impressionist painters.

ONE: A Global Sale of the 20th Century: This July, Christie’s will launch a revolutionary relay-style auction concept. Entitled ONE: A Global Sale of the 20th Century, this sale will present masterpiece-level works of 20th Century Art together in a curated live-online hybrid sale, blurring category boundaries and bringing clients together in an unprecedented way.

Launching in Hong Kong, the sale will then transition to auctioneers in Paris and London, concluding in New York. Each city will host a pre-sale public exhibition staged in line with the appropriate regional health advice at the time, complemented by a ground-breaking virtual exhibition and digital marketing campaign to connect with global audiences and support the auction event. Bidders will be able to participate both online, via Christie’s LIVE online bidding channel, and where regional, government advice allows, clients and phone bidders will be welcomed in each saleroom location.

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