The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Thursday, October 22, 2020

Lempicka, Dalí and Nolde to highlight Christie's October Evening Sale
Emil Nolde, Herbstmeer XVI, oil on canvas, 1911. Estimate: $6 – 8 million. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

NEW YORK, NY.- Highlighting the October 6 Evening Sale of 20th Century Art is a dynamic grouping of three works by Tamara Lempicka, Salvador Dalí and Emil Nolde from an Property from a Distinguished Private Collection. All three works will be appearing at auction for the first time in over 25 years.

Jessie Fertig, Head of Evening Sale, Impressionist and Modern Art, remarked: “These three works by Lempicka, Nolde and Dalí stand among the best of their kind within each of these diverse artists’ oeuvres. Sensual and alluring, Lempicka’s Les deux amies is a defining example of her the artist’s iconic subject matter, the female nude, and encapsulates the elegance and drama of her coolly refined, classicizing and alluring style. With its rich palette and intense energy, Nolde’s Herbstmeer XVI, is one of the greatest works of its kind to come to market. This dramatic vision of the landscape perfectly shows how Nolde transformed the world around him into striking compositions of near abstract color and dramatic light. Dalí’s Bouche mystérieuse apparaissant sur le dos de ma nurse presents the surrealist artist at his best. This exquisitely rendered gouache not only demonstrates the intricacy and precision of his signature style, but, with its double-image, it stands as a key example of the fantastical, surreal world he conjured in his art. It is an honor to bring these works to market after long having been held in a distinguished private collection.”

Bathed in a luminous bright light, the central characters of Tamara de Lempicka’s 1930 composition Les deux amies (estimate: $6-8 million) exhibit the poise, elegance and grace that characterize the artist’s most successful portrayals of the nude female body. Positioned side-by-side, the two women lean casually against the wall of what appears to be a balcony, the warm tones of their bodies and sensual, serpentine curves standing out against the cool, angular forms of their surroundings. Peering over the edge, their attention caught by some incident at street level that the viewer cannot see, they are the embodiment of the beautiful, seductive, strong female protagonists which had come to dominate Lempicka’s oeuvre during the 1920s.

Emil Nolde is represented by Herbstmeer XVI, 1911 (estimate: $6-8 million). Executed in rich, vigorous strokes of intense color, Herbstmeer XVI (Autumn Sea XVI) comes from a sequence of seascapes painted by Nolde on the Baltic island of Als during two consecutive autumn campaigns in 1910 and 1911. Presenting spectacular visions of windy, storm-laden skies and dramatic, tumultuous seas, these compositions focus on the artist’s subjective experience of the elements, eschewing any identifiable geographical detail in favor of a sensual, expressive rendering of nature. Housed in its original frame, with delicate patterns hand-carved by the artist, Herbstmeer XVI is among the most chromatically daring and evocative works in this series, capturing a sense of the visceral power of the sea tossed asunder by the temperamental autumn weather, its surface shimmering with glorious color as Nolde luxuriates in both the texture and the hue of his oil paints. The present work is expected to achieve a world auction record for the artist.

Another highlight includes Salvador Dalí’s Bouche mystérieuse apparaissant sur le dos de ma nurse (estimate: $1.2-1.8 million). A surreal double image that combines both fantasy, memory and childhood anecdote, Dalí’s Bouche mystérieuse apparaissant sur le dos de ma nurse was painted in 1941, at the same time that the artist was writing his semi-autobiographical The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí, in which he subsequently reproduced this work. Here, Dalí has metamorphosed a photograph of the actress Betty Stockfeld, whose image was featured on the cover of a 1939 issue of Pour Vous, a weekly film magazine, into a coastal landscape. The nose, mouth, and chin of the actress form a seated figure seen from behind, while the eyes and brow become the rolling hillside beyond, the lashes lines of trees and ploughed fields, the whites of her eyes white-washed houses tucked into the landscape.

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