Auction offers an eclectic selection of 42 colourful artworks that evoke the spirit of the iconic Côte d'Azur

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Auction offers an eclectic selection of 42 colourful artworks that evoke the spirit of the iconic Côte d'Azur
Carlos Nadal, La plage à Nice, 1982. Estimate: £30,000-50,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

LONDON.- As part of the expanded online programme to accompany ONE: A Global Sale of the 20th Century, Christie’s presents Joie de vivre: Modern Art and the Riviera, which is open for bidding from 30 June to 17 July. The auction offers an eclectic selection of 42 colourful artworks that evoke the spirit of the iconic Côte d’Azur. The south of France and the Mediterranean coasts have long held an allure over artists, providing a constant source of inspiration, respite and escapism, especially during times of historic turmoil or uncertainty. Starting at the turn of the century, generations of artists have fallen in love with the delights of this Mediterranean idyll, intoxicated by the dazzling colours and bright light as well as the palpable presence of the classical past, spending sun-soaked summer sojourns in Nice, Antibes, Golfe-Juan, among the many other towns and villages nestled along the coast and in the hills above.

Highlights include Raoul Dufy’s Le théâtre antique de Taormina which was painted as the artist journeyed to Sicily in 1923. Attracted by the light that bathed the buildings, the work glorifies the beauty and nobility of Sicily (estimate: £150,000-180,000). La plage à Nice by Carlos Nadal (1989, estimate: £30,000-50,000) is the quintessential embodiment of Mediterranean joie de vivre. The influence of Picasso is clear in the sensual, humorous nudes while the boats and huts on the beach are reminiscent of Braque’s 1920s beach scenes.

Pablo Picasso’s Service visage noir (conceived in 1948 and executed in an edition of 100, estimate: £40,000-60,000) is one of the first ceramic editions Picasso created at the Madoura Pottery in Vallauris. The deliberate choice to decorate the service with the mischievous and playful motif of fauns' heads is emblematic of Picasso's fiery and irrational desire - of a Dionysian sort - to aspire to simple joys and to live intensely. In Promeneuse au bord de la rivière (circa 1918, estimate: £40,000-60,000), Maurice de Vlaminck has mastered the post-Fauve stage of his artistic trajectory. The painting embodies the artist’s characteristic energetic and lively brushwork: the fiery orange roofs of the riverside houses, the vigorous brushstrokes of blue-green shadow on the towpath, the dark verticals of the leaning trees, the sudden red roofs of the riverside cottages, and the thick impasto of the clouds reflected on the river. Albert Marquet’s La Square au drapeaux (1944-45, estimate: £80,000-100,000) impresses with the exuberant green of the exotic vegetation of the Square Guynemer, a small garden at the end of the Boulevard Carnot in Algiers. Predominant are the palm-trees that are typical for the warm Mediterranean climate.

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