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Matisse, de Lempicka Works Anchor Impressionist & Modern Art Auction

by WorthPoint Staff (03/02/10).

Nature morte à la plante grasse” by Tamara de Lempicka.

Nature morte à la plante grasse” by Tamara de Lempicka.

NEW YORK – Christie’s sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on March 10, 2010 presents an exciting opportunity for collectors to purchase superb works by the great masters Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Tamara de Lempicka, and Henry Moore and to explore a wealth of drawings, sculpture and works on paper by lesser-known artists of the Impressionist and Modern periods. Prices begin at $1,200 and range up to $80,000. With more than 160 works, the sale is expected to realize in excess of $1.5 million.

Among the highlights of the sale is a selection of works by the Art Deco portrait artist Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980), whose “Portrait de Madame M” sold for a record $6.1 million at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale last spring. The upcoming sale includes two mid-career paintings from a private French collection—the meticulously composed “Nature morte à la plante grasse,” from circa 1952 (estimate: $40,000-$60,000), and the exceptional portrait “Jeune homme au livre,” painted circa 1954 (estimate: $25,000-35,000). Also featured is a work from a private American collection, “Un coq, une poule et ses poussins” (estimate: $3,000-$5,000), and two figure studies in charcoal, “Un nu de femme assise sur une chaise” (estimate: $2,000-$3,000) and “Un nu de femme de dos” (estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

Last fall, Christie’s achieved exceptional results for a select group of works on paper consigned from the Estate of Pierre-Noël Matisse, grandson of Henri Matisse (1869-1954). The upcoming sale features additional selections from this prominent estate, including Matisse’s “Fille avec chaine et croix,” a signed pen and ink drawing (estimate: $18,000-$25,000), “Nu,” a pencil sketch on paper (estimate: $12,000-$16,000) and “Branche,” a floral study in black conté crayon (estimate: $8,000-$12,000). A delicately shaded pencil-and-charcoal sketch, “Reclining Nude,” 1973, by the modern sculptor Reg Butler (1913-1981) is an additional highlight of the group (estimate: $3,000-$5,000).

Jüngling im Geflecht” by Rudolf Schlichter.

Jüngling im Geflecht” by Rudolf Schlichter.

Picasso’s towering artistic influence is evident in a group of exceptional Cubist compositions by several of his contemporaries and followers, including “Deux guitars,” (Composition cubiste), a signed oil on board by Ismael Gonzalez de la Serna (estimate: $15,000-$20,000), andLe Gitan,by Bela de Kristo (estimate: $6,000-$8,000). Also featured is a strong selection of Surrealist works, including Samuel Bak’s “Blue Morning” (estimate: $7,000-$10,000) and Rudolf Schlichter’s haunting Jüngling im Geflecht,” 1954 (estimate: $12,000-$16,000).

Owl necklace” by Pablo Picasso and Francoise Gilot.

Owl necklace” by Pablo Picasso and Francoise Gilot.

Though perhaps best-known as Picasso’s muse in the post-war period from 1946 to 1953, Francoise Gilot remains a sought-after artist of the Impressionist and Modern genre. Two paintings by Gilot, “The Idol,” “The Child and Tulips,” 1991, (estimate: $8,000-$12,000) and “Autoportrait avec collier blue,” 1945 (estimate: $4,000-6,000) are included in the sale, as well as a unique collaboration by Gilot and Picasso entitled “Owl necklace,” 1948 (estimate: $10,000-$15,000). This unusual necklace was among the items featured in the 2007-08 traveling exhibition “Surreal Things” at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum.

La salle à manger à Saint-Tropez, fenêtre ouverte, no. 3” by Charles Camoin.

La salle à manger à Saint-Tropez, fenêtre ouverte, no. 3” by Charles Camoin.

Femme au chapeau” by Jean-Pierre Cassigneul.

Femme au chapeau” by Jean-Pierre Cassigneul.

Additional highlights include the sale’s cover lot, “La salle à manger à Saint-Tropez, fenêtre ouverte, no. 3” (estimate: $60,000-$80,000), a vibrant interior view by Charles Camoin (1879-1965), “Bouquet de roses” (estimate: $20,000-$30,000), a lush still life by Louis Valtat (1869-1952), and “La Croisette” (estimate: $45,000-$65,000) and “Femme au chapeau” (estimate: $40,000-$60,000) two superb figurative works by Jean-Pierre Cassigneul.

Bewegungsskizze” by Georg Kolbe.

Bewegungsskizze” by Georg Kolbe.

Among the sale’s sculpture highlights is an exceptional bronze by Georg Kolbe (1877-1947), one of the most successful German sculptors of the early 20th century. “Bewegungsskizze (Motion Sketch),” was conceived in 1925 and cast by 1939 (estimate: $20,000-$30,000). Never before offered at auction, the cast has remained in the same private American collection since its acquisition in the 1930s. Also featured is “Square Head” by Henry Moore (estimate: $12,000-$16,000), an abstract bronze consigned from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden to benefit its acquisition program. Cast circa 1960-61, the foot-tall bronze with golden brown patina was acquired by Joseph H. Hirshhorn in 1961, and gifted to the museum in 1966.

A complete e-catalogue of this sale is viewable online at Christie’s Web Site.

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