Newly discovered Degas offered at Bonhams New York prints sale
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Newly discovered Degas offered at Bonhams New York prints sale
Chevaux dans la Prairie by Edgar Degas. Estimate: 20,000-30,000. Photo: Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- A newly discovered, working proof of the etching, Chevaux dans la Prairie (Horses in the Meadow), 1891-1892, by Edgar Degas (1834-1917) is one of the leading lots in Bonhams Modern & Contemporary Prints and Multiples sale in New York on Friday 30 October. From the collection of the important Impressionist collector, David David-Weil, the work is estimated at $20,000-30,000.

The origin of the print is Degas’ masterly 1872 oil painting of the same name, now at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. The artist sold the painting to his dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, for his personal collection. In 1891, Galerie Durand-Ruel commissioned a deluxe, limited edition, bound volume of prints after paintings in Durand-Ruel’s private collection, including Chevaux dans la Prairie. The reproduction of the paintings was executed by the printer and copyist. A.M. Lauzet. When Degas saw the Lauzet version of Chevaux dans la Prairie, however, he considered it so disappointing that he promptly made his own print.

The differences between Lauzet reproduction, and Degas print, which will be offered at Bonhams this October, are striking. The artist eliminated many of the short drypoint lines of the copyist, and substituted softground etching to create bold lines. He also flipped the image, so that the composition is now facing the other direction, rather than being a straightforward copy of the painting.

The working proof in the sale is from the third state of the print for which Degas added new elements, such as flecks of tone to the back of the legs of the white horse in the foreground, and horizonal lines in the horizon and the meadow.

Bonhams Director of Prints & Multiples in New York Deborah Ripley said, “This newly discovered Bonhams proof provides us with an exciting and instructive insight into the creative practice of one of the greatest artists of the 19th and early 20th century. It is dramatically different from the other two proofs of the third state which are known to exist (in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. and the Detroit institute of Arts, Detroit). Heavily inked, on laid paper, with bold contrasts, it is clearly more experimental in nature, with its uneven outlines and thick drypoint lines.”

Other highlights of the sale include:

• Andy Warhol (1928-1987). A unique unnumbered proof of Rebel Without a Cause (James Dean)”. (See F. & S. IIB.355), 1985. Estimate: $40,000-60,000

• Frank Stella (1936 -), Green Solitaire. Estimate: $55,000-75,000.

• Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), Shipboard Girl. Estimate: $40,000-60,000.

• Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) L'homme au baton (B. 1106), 1963 Estimate: $8,000-12,000.

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