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Christie's Paris offers a collection assembled over four decades by a major Parisian collector
Alexander Calder, Sans titre. Estimate: €70,000-100,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.



PARIS.- Christie's will be offering an exceptional collection focusing on modern and post-war art assembled over four decades by a major Parisian collector on 30 March. This lover of Paris, the city that welcomed him as a teenager when he came from his home in north Africa, carefully selected works of the highest quality by major artists from the end of the 19th century to the 1950s. Throughout his quest, our collector has always had great appreciation for this city, which he says "welcomed those who had nothing, I owe it all".

Maintaining a strong relationship with his works, which he considers to be his best companions, he has taken care of his collection, undertaking lengthy research into the history of each work, contemplating the compositions of the canvases for long hours. "Art is sacred, it is bigger than life, more beautiful".

A man of great sensitivity and a true lover of art, he took great pleasure in sharing his admiration for artists, lending pieces from his collection to numerous exhibitions throughout the world over the last 30 years, notably at the Lodève museum where 37 works from his collection were exhibited for 7 years. Through these actions, he felt art should be within everyone's reach and wanted to share his passion with the general public.

Connoisseurs and collectors will thus be able to discover from 26 March a collection of more than 70 works estimated at between 6 and 9 million euros. Some artists such as Raoul Dufy, Alexandre Calder, Maurice Utrillo, or Serge Poliakoff and Sanyu have particularly seduced our collector and their works can be found in this collection. Some of them will be included in future various owners sales throughout the first half of 2021.

Lionel Gosset, Director of the Collections Department : "I would like to pay tribute to the choices this sensitive man has made. The great artists of the 20th century are present in his collection and all these works celebrate life in one way or another. The relationship this man had with them is very strong and it is rare to see such a complete and fresh ensemble. It is a real pleasure to work on this magnificent collection.”

The collection brings together some of the most important international figures of the art scene from the end of the 19th century to the 1950s, illustrating the Parisian art scene in many of its components from Post-Impressionism to the Ecole de Paris and the Seconde Ecole de Paris. Many of his paintings date from the first half of the 1950s, a period he was particularly fond of, symbolising a return to life and light. The explosions of colour in these canvases brought him great happiness, nourishing his spiritual life.

Antoine Lebouteiller, Director of the Impressionist and Modern Art Department: "The personal collection of this great modern art enthusiast is certainly one of the most luminous and joyful private collections offered at auction for many years. The greatest names in modern art come together through a common thread celebrating a certain joie de vivre, so dear to the great 20th century colourists such as Dufy, Calder, Utrillo, Leger, Appel. The selection of works in this collection reflects the definite and well-informed taste of a true lover of modern art, who has now decided to part with them to move on to another category. Particularly noteworthy is Le Petit bras de la Seine près d'Argenteuil, painted by Gustave Caillebotte around 1886-1887, an unpublished testimony to the artist's impressionist production. Caillebotte makes use here of a vibrant colour palette and a dynamic brushstroke, allowing the light to dance across the surface of the painting".

Laetitia Bauduin de La Brosse, Director of the Contemporary Art Department: "Christie's is very honoured to present this very important painting by Karel Appel never before seen on the market. What a discovery we made when we were able to observe the quality and strength of this work, both in its composition and in the richness of its palette, a work dating from 1951, just when Karel Appel was settling in Paris and when the COBRA movement was taking off completely in 1948, the year of its creation. Karel Appel will then become the most famous Dutch Cobra artist. We are all the more pleased that Christie's Paris has a deep knowledge of Karel Appel's work, having obtained the record price for a work also from 1951 entitled Deux oiseaux et une fleur sold for €841,000 ".

Gustave Caillebotte's Petit bras de la Seine près d'Argenteuil will be the highlight of the sale. Executed in 1886-1887, when the artist settled in Argenteuil, the work represents a view of the Seine from this place he cherished and where he would settle permanently from 1890 onwards. This painting with its bucolic and springtime tones is the image of all the love our collector has for nature.

The collector’s first coup de coeur was for Raoul Dufy and he acquired several paintings of him. A painter endowed with "a great aptitude for happiness", and who depicted Paris in all its forms, devoted several of his works to music - a passion he shares with our collector -, like the Grand Orchestre performed in 1946. A painting of great freshness and in perfect condition, it was exhibited at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in the Raoul Dufy, le plaisir exhibition from October 2008 to January 2009. Music is the common thread in several of his works, which can be found in Violon sur fond bleu or in Hommage à Bach.

He also took a keen interest in the work of Serge Poliakoff, which is very present in his collection. The artist used to say: "If I had not come to Paris, perhaps I would not be a painter". "It is the same for me," he told us as a collector, "if Paris had not welcomed me, I might not be who I am today.”

Among the paintings signed by this abstract artist of the new Ecole de Paris, is Rouge bleu blanc executed in 1951. Acquired at the Malingue Gallery in Paris in 1989 during the exhibition Aspect de l'art moderne en France, it is estimated at €150,000-200,000.

Finally, artists from the COBRA movement are also featured in the collection, such as Karel Appel, Corneille and Jean-Michel Atlan. Appel's 1951 work Child with green ball reflects the collector's favourite subjects (estimate: €300,000-500,000). The colours are vivid, the subject is joyful and brings happiness to the viewer. The same is true for Les Oiseaux de Corneille, executed a few years earlier, in 1948, in which we can see people dancing on the canvas (€100,000-150,000).










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