Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Christie's May 17 Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art in New York


Mark Rothko’s monumental canvas,


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Mark Rothko, No. 7 (Dark Over Light), 1954, oil on canvas, 90 ⅛ x 58 ⅝ in. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018.
No. 7 (Dark Over Light), 1954, will highlight Christie's May 17 Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art in New York (estimate in the region of $30 million). At nearly eight feet tall, No. 7 (Dark Over Light) belongs to a select group of canvases that were among the largest that Rothko ever painted. Its grand scale is matched only by the emotional intensity of its painted surface. Such a highly active painterly surface is a mark of Rothko’s paintings from this important period, but it is the scale on which it has been executed in No. 7 (Dark Over Light) that makes this particular work one of the most extraordinary; its broad sweeps and feathered edges reveal the artist’s ambition to create a pure and direct form of painting. No. 7 (Dark Over Light) is being offered at auction for the first time in over a decade.

Jussi Pylkkänen, Christie’s Global President, remarked: “No. 7 (Dark Over Light), comes from a small and highly sought-after group of monumental canvases by Mark Rothko. Standing before this radiant picture, one is immediately enveloped by the dramatic brilliance of Rothko’s artistic vision. Between its intensely kinetic surface and its epic scale, No. 7 is a consummate example of Rothko’s ability to convey pure emotional power. Given the international demand for canvases of this quality by Mark Rothko, we expect that No. 7 will draw enthusiasm from collectors around the globe."

Rothko’s stated aim was to dissolve the traditional, and what he thought of as artificial boundaries, between paint and canvas, between painter and idea, and ultimately between the idea and the observer. To the artist, what the viewer saw was not a depiction an experience, it was the experience, and to this end he championed what he considered to be the two fundamental elements of picture making—space and color—making these the sole protagonists of his aesthetic drama. Reaching its height in his iconic Seagram Murals, this painterly struggle dominated Rothko’s work for a little over a decade, as in 1968, on the instructions of his doctors, he was forced to retreat into making smaller paintings, often no larger than 40 inches. As a result, works such No. 7 (Dark Over Light) represents the fullest and purest expression of Rothko’s unique artistic vision, one whose visual and emotional power is present in abundance in this magisterial canvas.

No. 7 (Dark Over Light) belongs to a small group of paintings that Rothko executed in the mid-1950s which feature large passages of predominately dark, moody color. Primarily, his paintings from this period are known for the triumphant schema of fiery reds, golden yellows and deep oranges. But in a handful of canvases he also introduced opposing hues, such as can be seen in the present work along with Untitled (Violet, Black, Orange on Gray), 1953 (National Gallery of Art Washington), No. 203 (Red, Orange, Tan and Purple), 1954 and Untitled (Red, Black, White on Yellow), 1955 (also in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). These dark paintings reflected not so much a "darkening" of Rothko's mood as a deepening of feeling.

In addition to color, size was also an important factor in Rothko achieving the necessary emotional intensity that he desired. As he explained, “I paint very large pictures. I realize that historically the function of painting large pictures is painting something very grandiose and pompous. The reason I paint them, however—I think it applies to other painters I know—it is precisely because I want to be very intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside you experience, to look upon an experience as a stereopticon view or with a reducing glass. However, you paint the larger picture, you are in it. It isn’t something you command.”

No. 7 (Dark Over Light) was first acquired by Count Alessandro Panza di Biumo, Sr. in 1961. He was the brother of the legendary Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, widely considered to be one of the most important collectors of postwar American Art. Works from the elder Panza di Biumo’s holdings later formed the basis for the collection of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and in the 1990s, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum filled a yawning gap in its holdings when it acquired, in a combined gift and purchase arrangement, more than 300 Minimalist sculptures and paintings from the collection.

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Among the Post-War Highlights is Willem de Kooning’s Untitled XVIII, 1976. Distinguished by its lavishly painted surface and riotous palette, Untitled XVIII epitomizes de Kooning’s last great cycle of “pastoral” paintings that ushered forth from the artist in a final flourish between the years 1976 and 1977. Widely considered to be among his best work, these large-scale landscapes—with Untitled XVIII a seminal example—evoke the bucolic splendor of the artist’s East Hampton studio at Springs. In exuberant strokes of effervescent, translucent paint, de Kooning captures and distills the essence of the seaside hamlet. Penetrated by an inner glow, the painting evokes the specific character of North Atlantic light, making it a harmonious ballet of color, form and gesture. Having featured in the seminal debut of de Kooning’s “pastoral” paintings at the Solomon R. Guggenheim in 1978, Untitled XVIII belongs to a select group of only about twenty paintings that the artist deemed worthy of exhibition, in what would be his first solo museum show in New York in nine years. Estimate: $8-12 million.

Update: Christie’s Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art May 15

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Kazimir Malevich, Suprematist Composition, 1916, oil on canvas. © Christie’s Images Limited 2018. 
Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist Composition, 1916, will lead Christie’s Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art (estimate upon request). Suprematist Composition is among the groundbreaking abstract paintings executed by Malevich that would forever change the course of art history. The present canvas was last sold at auction in November 2008, when it established the world auction record for the artist, which it continues to hold today.* One decade later, Suprematist Composition is expected to set a new benchmark for the artist when it is offered at Christie’s New York on May 15.

Loic Gouzer, Co-Chairman, Post-War and Contemporary Art, remarked: “Malevich’s work provided a gateway for the evolution of Modernism. Malevich pushed the boundaries of painting to a point far beyond recognition, forever changing the advancement of art. Without the Suprematist Composition paintings, the art being made today would not exist as we now know it.”

Max Carter, Head of Department, Impressionist and Modern Art, New York, continued: “Malevich’s Suprematist abstractions didn’t break with the past so much as articulate the future. What an honor to offer Suprematist Composition, 1916 which has lost nothing of its revolutionary power in the century since it was painted, this spring.”

On 17th December 1915, the Russo-Polish artist Kazimir Malevich opened an exhibition of his new ‘Suprematist’ paintings in the Dobychina Art Bureau in the recently renamed city of Petrograd. These startling, purely geometric and completely abstract paintings were unlike anything Malevich, or any other modern painter, had ever done before. They were both a shock and a revelation to everyone who saw them. Malevich’s Suprematist pictures were the very first purely geometric abstract paintings in the history of modern art. They comprised solely of simple, colored forms that appeared to float and hover over plain white backgrounds. Nothing but clearly-organized, self-asserting painted surfaces of non-objective/non- representational form and color, these pictures were so radically new that they seemed to announce the end of painting and, even perhaps, of art itself.

Suprematist Composition
is one of the finest and most complex of these first, truly revolutionary abstract paintings. Comprised of numerous colored, geometric elements seeming to be dynamically caught in motion, it epitomizes what Malevich defined as his ‘supreme’ or ‘Suprematist’ vision of the world. The painting is not known to have been a part of the exhibition in the Dobychina Art Bureau but is believed to date from this same period of creative breakthrough and, if not included, was, presumably painted very soon after the show closed in January 1916.

It is clear, from the frequency with which Malevich later exhibited the picture, that he thought very highly of the painting. Malevich subsequently chose, for example, to include Suprematist Composition in every other major survey of his Suprematist pictures made during his lifetime. These exhibitions ranged from his first major retrospective in Moscow in 1919 to the great travelling retrospective showcasing much of his best work that he brought to the West in 1927. It was as a result of his last exhibition held in Berlin that Suprematist Composition came to form part of the extraordinarily influential group of Malevich’s paintings that remained in the West and represent so much of his creative legacy.

Hidden in Germany throughout much of the 1930’s, Suprematist Composition and the other works from this great Berlin exhibition, were ultimately to become part of the highly influential holdings of Malevich’s work in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Until 2008, when it was restituted to the heirs of Malevich’s family in agreement with the Stedelijk museum, Suprematist Composition was on view in Amsterdam as part of the Stedelijk’s unrivalled collection of the artist’s work.

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Fernand Léger’s Les trois femmes au bouquet, 1922. 

When Léger received a medical discharge in early 1917, ending his front-line service, he had not picked up a paintbrush in fully three years. Léger needed to catch up on later synthetic cubism, constructivism, abstraction, and neo-plasticism, as well as the new classicism. Remarkably, just four years later, Léger had achieved a position at the very forefront of the avant-garde. His first fully fledged manifesto of this new idiom was Le grand déjeuner (The Museum of Modern Art, New York), which he exhibited at the 1921 Salon d’Automne; a preliminary version of this masterwork will be offered in the present sale (see dedicated press release here). However, Les trois femmes au bouquet, painted in 1922, represents the next stage in the evolution of Léger’s unique vision of the Three Graces. 

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In Le grand déjeuner, Léger directly confronted the theme of the female nude, by which so many past masters had staked their claim to artistic greatness. Seeking a more authentically modern subject, the artist expanded his focus to encompass the example of 17th century genre imagery, in which simple daily routines provide a pretext for monumental figure painting.  

Les trois femmes au bouquet, which centers upon the modest domestic luxury of a floral bouquet, is a key signpost in this development. Estimate: $12-18 million 

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Alberto Giacometti is represented by three works in the collection, including two sculptures and one painting. The group is led by La Clairière, conceived in 1950 and cast between 1950-1952. From 1948-1950 Alberto Giacometti created a series of multi-figure compositions that were shown in his second exhibition at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, in December 1950. The new sculptures proved to be a most astonishing development in his work. Whereas the most recently created highlights of his previous show had been large, figures and body parts, which were mainly male, the standing figures in Giacometti’s newest group sculptures were predominantly female. These works would establish the paradigm to which the artist would generally adhere for the rest of his career—woman as goddess and muse, modeled full-length, upright, immobile, viewed as if from a distance. 

The chance arrangement of the figures in La Clarière, each in its own scale, rejects any conventional sense of distance and consistent perspective. There is no single, definitive vantage point—this sculpture virtually reinvents itself for the viewer each time one approaches it. Estimate: $10-12 million.

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Joan Miró painted Femme entendant de la musique on 11 May 1945 —Germany had surrendered on 7 May, ending the Second World War in Europe. The western Allied democracies celebrated their V-E Day on the 8th, the Soviet Union the following day. Miró, residing in Barcelona, soon afterward received a letter from Henri Matisse dated Venice 8 May: “At last! Let us rejoice together.” One may appreciate in the animated calligraphy of Miró’s figures in this painting the artist’s joy at this welcome, long awaited news. For Miró, however they are more complex, as the events of the day were also a reminder of his own nation’s grim political reality. The whole of the Iberian Peninsula remained under fascist control, where it would remain for years to come. (Estimate: $10-15 million).

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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), L'Atelier, painted in Cannes, 24 October 1955. Oil on canvas, 74¾ x 31⅜ in (189.8 x 79.7 cm). Estimate: $5,000,000-7,000,000.

 Pablo Picasso’s L’Atelier, dated 28 October 1955, brims with sundry accoutrements of the artist’s profession.

This choc-a-bloc studio inventory is the fourth and most elaborate of the eleven Atelier canvases that Picasso painted between 23 and 31 October 1955:

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The occasion of the October Atelier series coincided with Picasso’s 74th birthday—25 October—the first that he celebrated in “La Californie,” having purchased the villa in the spring of that year. “He quickly responded to the stimulus of the place in a series of what he called paysages d’intérieur: interior landscapes,” Marie-Laure Bernadac explained. “For Picasso, his studio is a self-portrait in itself.” Moreover, The Atelier series is a sequel to the fifteen canvases of Les femmes d’Algers completed in February 1955, a second eulogy Picasso devoted to his rival, friend and sole acknowledged peer—Henri Matisse—who died in November 1954. Estimate: $6-9 million.


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The painted ceramic Tête de femme, 1953 (Musée Picasso, Paris) represents the classic studio encounter between artist and model.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Mary Cassatt, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Moran, Winslow Homer, Ernest Lawson, and Childe Hassam


The exhibition “Bloom Where You’re Planted: The Collection of Deen Day Sanders” features a vibrant and highly varied collection of American works of art, on view at the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia from May 19 to July 29, 2018.

“Bloom Where You’re Planted” is a singular opportunity for visitors to see that collection, and its presence in the state museum of art, on the campus of the state’s flagship public university is fitting. The exhibition will allow the public to view an impressively cohesive collection that tells a story both of American life and of Mrs. Sanders’ support of the State Botanical Garden, art and all things that grow.

Dating from the 19th to the early 20th century, the paintings, furniture, porcelain and other works in the exhibition emphasize the diversity of American art at this time. The exhibition focuses on themes of childhood, nature, still lifes, interiors and depictions of the American West and Native Americans. Together, they touch on every major trend in American art during the period, which speaks to Mrs. Sanders’ eye as a collector and to the quality and scope of the works in general.

The collection’s visual art in particular highlights a number of influential artists. One will find names such as Thomas Sully, Mary Cassatt, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Moran, Winslow Homer, Ernest Lawson, and the impressionist Childe Hassam among others. The show’s curator, Sarah Kate Gillespie (curator of American art at the museum), is especially proud of the inclusion of two rarely seen works by John Singer Sargent in the exhibition.

The exhibition “Bloom Where You’re Planted: The Collection of Deen Day Sanders” features a vibrant and highly varied collection of American works of art, on view at the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia from May 19 to July 29, 2018. The collector has a number of impressive distinctions, especially in relation to her philanthropy to the University of Georgia and the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. She has served as president of the Garden Club of Georgia, National Garden Clubs Inc. and, most recently, as vice president of the World Association of Floral Artists, as well as on the boards of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the US Botanic Garden and the Diplomatic Reception Rooms in Washington, D.C. She has also spent a significant portion of her life building one of the most notable art collections in the state of Georgia, at Bellmere, the home of Deen and Jim Sanders.



Raspberries and Sweet Pea by August Laux 

“Bloom Where You’re Planted” is a singular opportunity for visitors to see that collection, and its presence in the state museum of art, on the campus of the state’s flagship public university is fitting. The exhibition will allow the public to view an impressively cohesive collection that tells a story both of American life and of Mrs. Sanders’ support of the State Botanical Garden, art and all things that grow.

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Albert Bierstadt, "Pacific Coast"

Dating from the 19th to the early 20th century, the paintings, furniture, porcelain and other works in the exhibition emphasize the diversity of American art at this time. The exhibition focuses on themes of childhood, nature, still lifes, interiors and depictions of the American West and Native Americans. Together, they touch on every major trend in American art during the period, which speaks to Mrs. Sanders’ eye as a collector and to the quality and scope of the works in general.

Asher B.  Durand (American, 1796–1886), "Hudson River Scene," 1846.  Oil on canvas, 32 x 32 inches.  Collection of Deen Day Sanders.
Asher B. Durand (American, 1796–1886), "Hudson River Scene," 1846. Oil on canvas, 32 x 32 inches. Collection of Deen Day Sanders.

The collection’s visual art in particular highlights a number of influential artists. One will find names such as Thomas Sully, Mary Cassatt, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Moran, Winslow Homer, Ernest Lawson, and the impressionist Childe Hassam among others. The show’s curator, Sarah Kate Gillespie (curator of American art at the museum), is especially proud of the inclusion of two rarely seen works by John Singer Sargent in the exhibition.

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Frederick Childe Hassam, "The Giant Ailanthus October"

The museum will publish an exhibition catalogue including full-page color illustrations of every work on display as well as essays by Gillespie, Dale Couch, the museum’s curator of decorative arts,, Linda Chafin (conservation botanist at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia), UGA associate professor of history Akela Reason, UGA associate professor of education Jennifer Graff and others, which will be available for purchase in the Museum Shop.

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Jasper Francis Cropsey, "Sunset at Etretat" 

Friday, April 20, 2018

William Glackens and Pierre-Auguste Renoir


NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale 
October 21, 2018 through May 19, 2019
One of America’s leading modern artists, painter William Glackens (1870-1938) had a keen interest in the work of Pierre-Auguste Renoir that has long been recognized. He saw the French Impressionist's works in New York galleries as early as 1908 and had unique access to the growing collection of his friend and colleague, Albert C. Barnes. However, Glackens’ specific debt to the art of this important French modernist has never been fully explored. 


William J. Glackens, Lenna Dressed as Toy Soldier, c. 1923, Oil on canvas, Private Collection.

 
Pierre‑Auguste Renoir, The Young Soldier, c. 1880, Oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington,
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon


William Glackens and Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Affinities and Distinctions fills this void by bringing together 25 works by each artist that illuminate Renoir’s influence on Glackens’ artistic development. It also reveals how changes in Glackens' work after 1920 illustrate his response to Renoir's late work, as well as that of other important European modernists in Barnes' collection in order to forge his own distinctive American modernism. On view at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale from October 21, 2018 through May 19, 2019, the exhibition defines Glackens’ late style for the first time (c.1920 to 1938), and also sheds light on the history of taste in American collecting from the late-19th to the mid-20th century. 
 
William J. Glackens and Pierre-Auguste Renoir: Affinities and Distinctions is organized by NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale and is curated by Barbara Buhler Lynes, Ph.D., Sunny Kaufman Senior Curator. Following its presentation in Fort Lauderdale, the exhibition will also travel to other venues to be announced.
The exhibition demonstrates Glackens’ response to Renoir’s Impressionistic work from 1860 to the mid-1880s, which was avidly purchased by a wide variety of American collectors. Renoir’s late work from the mid-1880s to 1919 appealed to other influential collectors such as Leo Stein and Barnes. Glackens, who traveled to Paris in 1912 on behalf of Barnes, purchased works for his then fledgling collection. Glackens was the only American artist who subsequently had nearly carte blanche access to Barnes’ increasingly important collection of American and European modernist art, which consequently had a profound influence on Glackens' painting as demonstrated by Dr. Lynes in this exhibition.
Glackens presumably became aware of Renoir’s art as early as 1895, when he first visited Paris. However, his knowledge of Renoir did not play a role in the development of his work until after he attended the 1908 exhibition of 41 Renoir paintings at the Durand-Ruel Gallery, New York. When he was sent to Paris by Barnes in 1912, Glackens’ purchases included works by Renoir, Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and others. These acquisitions sparked Barnes' growing interest in modem European art as well as his enthusiasm for the late work of Renoir. Glackens’ study of the late Renoirs and the other works in Barnes’ collection by Cezanne, Matisse and Charles and Maurice Prendergast, shaped his continuing realization of his own conception of the modern.

Publication
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue published by Skira, with essays by Bonnie Clearwater, Barbara Buhler Lynes of NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Avis Berman, independent scholar, and Martha Lucy, Deputy Director and Curator of the Barnes Collection.

The Water Lilies: American Abstract Painting and the Last Monet





In 1955, Alfred Barr brought one of Claude Monet’s large Water Lilies panels into the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, in New York, at a time when these great “decorations,” still in the studio in Giverny, were beginning to attract the attention of collectors and museums.

Monet was presented at that time as “a bridge between the naturalism of early Impressionism and the highly developed school of Abstract Art” in New York, with his Water Lilies seen in the context of Pollock’s paintings, such as  

 Autumn Rhythm (Number 30)

Autumn Rhythm (number 30), 1950.

The reception of these later Monet works resonated with American Abstract Expression, then coming into the museum collections.


 
 American Abstract Art Merges with Monet's Masterpieces at Musée de l’Orangerie
 
Claude Monet (1840-1926), "Blue Water Lilies," circa 1916-1919
(Paris, Musée d'Orsay © RMN-Grand Palais (Orsay Museum) / Hervé Lewandowski)


The exhibition The Water Lilies: American Abstract Painting and the Last Monet at the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris, now though August 20, 2018, includes a selection of some of Monet’s later works and around twenty major paintings by American artists. Shown with Monet's works are pieces by such artists as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Philip Guston, Joan Mitchell, Mark Tobey, Sam Francis, Jean-Paul Riopelle and Ellsworth Kelly.

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Claude Monet (1840-1926), Weeping Willow, between 1920 and 1922 Oil on canvas. H. 1.1; W. 1 cm Paris, musée d'Orsay. Philippe Meyer donation, 2000 © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d'Orsay) / Adrien Didierjean

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Detail of Claude Monet (1840-1926), Weeping Willow, between 1920 and 1922 Oil on canvas. H. 1.1; W. 1 cm Paris, musée d'Orsay. Philippe Meyer donation, 2000 © RMN-Grand Palais (musée d'Orsay) / Adrien Didierjean

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Swann Old Master Through Modern Prints May 8

At Auction May 8


Old Master Through Modern Prints

The highlight of this wide-ranging event from our Prints & Drawings department is Tête de femme, de profil, 1905, an extremely early work by Pablo Picasso, executed when he was just 24 years old. Works by visionaries who shaped the trajectory of twentieth century art will also be offered, including Jean Arp, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí and László Moholy-Nagy. Iconic works by Thomas Hart Benton, Martin Lewis represent American art movements from the same period.

Pablo Picasso, Tête de femme, de profil
 Lot 398: Pablo Picasso, Tête de femme, de profil, drypoint, 1905. Estimate $80,000 to $120,000.


Henri Matisse, Grand Masque
Lot 424: Henri Matisse, Grand Masque, aquatint, 1948. Estimate $50,000 to $80,000.

Old Master Prints

Highlights from the dawn of printmaking include a premier selection of engravings by Albrecht Dürer, as well as a rare engraving and stipple-engraving by Giulio Campagnola of Saint John the Baptist, 1505. Self-portraits by Rembrandt van Rijn include one In a Cap, Laughing, 1630, as well as one In a Flat Cap and Embroidered Dress, circa 1642.
Also available is the four-volume set of Giovanni B. Piranesi’s Le Antichità Romane, 1756-84, featuring 220 engravings of ancient Roman structures. The book took eight years to research and produce, and established Piranesi as the authority in the field.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Abrahams Sacrifice
Rembrandt van Rijn, Abraham’s Sacrifice, etching & drypoint, 1655. Estimate $30,000 to $50,000.


Lot 196: Giovanni B. Piranesi, Le Antichità Romane, set of 220 engravings in four volumes, 1756-84. Estimate $40,000 to $60,000.

Eugène Delacroix, Tigre Royal
Lot 235: Eugène Delacroix, Tigre Royal, lithograph, 1829-30. Estimate $30,000 to $50,000.


Lot 231: Francisco José de Goya, Dibersion de España, lithograph, 1825. Estimate $60,000 to $90,000.

Picturing the Nineteenth Century

Important etchings by Eugène Delacroix, James Jacques Tissot and James A.M. Whistler illustrate the variety of styles covered in the nineteenth century, along with Francisco José de Goya’s Dibersion de España, 1825, a lithograph from The Bulls of Bordeau.

Chrsitie's FINE ART, DAY SALE Thursday 10 May, 10am

View catalogue

The Day Sale features a broad span of genres and eras, beginning with Impressionist and Modern Art, including works by Odilon Redon, Paul Klee, Kees Van Dongen, and Édouard Vuillard. The 19th Century European art section is highlighted by works from Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, and Édouard Manet. A fine selection of Post-War and Contemporary artists include Alexander Calder, Lucien Freud, Jasper Johns and Bridget Riley, underscoring the full breadth of David Rockefeller’s collecting, well into his later years.

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Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012), The Temptation of St. Anthony, painted in 1945-1946. Oil on canvas in the artist's painted frame. 47⅞ x 35⅞ in (121.4 x 91.2 cm). Estimate: $400,000-600,000. This work is offered in the Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale on 16 May at Christie’s in New York,


Vanessa Fusco, Head of Day & Works on Paper Sales: ‘Dorothea Tanning’s Surrealist vision of the Temptation of St. Anthony is a fantastical painting, embodying the universal struggle between good and evil. The subject of St. Anthony has a long tradition in the history of art, from the medieval to modern era, and Tanning’s representation exquisitely renders the cowering Saint and the nude female bodies which emanate from his robes with expert precision.

‘In addition to the visual pleasure derived from this work, it has a fascinating history. Tanning entered her picture into an international competition in which artists were invited to submit paintings representing the Temptation of St. Anthony for inclusion in a film based upon Guy de Maupassant’s Bel-Ami. Fellow Surrealists Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, Paul Delvaux, and Leonora Carrington all entered paintings into the contest, the jury for which included MoMA’s Alfred Barr, Jr., the collector and gallerist Sidney Janis and Marcel Duchamp.’


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