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Drawings Week at Christie's France to include works from the collection of Jean Bonna
Marc Chagall, La Danse. Estimate: € 600,000-800,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019.

PARIS.- Over 300 drawings will be offered at Christie’s during the Drawing Week on 27 and 28 March including a remarkable selection of works coming from the famed collection of Jean Bonna and covering 500 years of European art history. This selection, composed of nearly 100 works, exhibited in part at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 2006-2007 and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2009, will be sold at Christie’s over several auctions. In Paris in March, then in London in July during the Master Week and finally in New York in January 2020.

This bibliophile, drawings collector and patron who was born in 1945 in a family of bankers first started a collection of French literature before discovering a true passion for the graphic arts. Numerous prints are present in his collection as well as a wide-ranging ensemble of old master and modern drawings among which the first - a Hubert Robert - was purchased in 1985. In barely twenty years, Jean Bonna gathered almost 500 drawings with mainly landscapes and human figures. Mostly executed by the most famous artists of the Italian and French school, this collection is also punctuated by German, Dutch and Flemish drawings.

Jean Bonna rarely sold a drawing during his lifetime as a collector. He is giving one of his properties in Geneva to one of his son and as Jean Bonna always said, he doesn’t like putting works in drawers and like to think that the new owners will cherish them as much as he did.

On next 27th and 28th March, Christie’s will be honored to organise two distinct auctions in which this beautiful selection will be presented.

Stijn Alsteens, International Head of the department of Old Master Drawings: “It is a great privilege to offer for sale a selection of drawings from the remarkable collection of Jean Bonna, which I first became familiar with when working on the 2009 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum. The week of the Salon du dessin, when Paris attracts collectors, curators and dealers from all over the world, is the ideal time to launch the series of sales Christie’s has the honour of being entrusted with”.

The auction of Old Master Drawings will offer 34 works coming from Jean Bonna’s collection highlighted by a remarkable Raffaellino del Colle’s red chalk drawing, Head of a young woman (€250,000-350,000) exhibited at the Metropolitan in 2009, together with ‘La Petite boudeuse’ by Jean-Baptiste Greuze (€70,000-100,000), also part of the sale. Another highlight of this collection is François Lemoyne’s Study of a nude man on horseback, exhibited at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 2006-2007 (€70,000-100,00).

The various owner selection will offer an overview of the graphic arts from the 17th to the 19th century, ranging from Charles de La Fosse for which Homme nu allongé, was recently attributed to (€10,000-15,000) to Mattia Preti, with a red chalk and black stone drawing, dating from the 17th century and probably representing Marie-Madeleine (€40,000-60,000), and also including a large group of works by Eugène Delacroix.

The Modern Works on Paper sale on 28 March which offers 130 lots will start off with an outstanding selection of 22 drawings coming from Jean Bonna’s collection. Leading this section is a drawing by René Magritte, l’Aiguillon estimated at €40,000-60,000 which subject echoes an oil on canvas under the same name executed in 1943. Also part of this selection is a watercolour by Pablo Picasso, An Italian flower girl executed in Rome in 1917. This work is a rare testimony of Picasso’s stylistic turn leaving cubism and returning to figurative art (€150,000-250,000). In addition to these two drawings, a graphite on paper by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, A young woman with an umbrella, will be presented in the sale. This drawing comes from the prestigious collection of Madame George Charpentier, who was one of the most important impressionist collector of her time and one of Renoir’s patron (€70,000-100,000, illustrated left). Finally, works by Paul Signac, Aristide Maillol, Maurice Denis, Hans Bellmer, Balthus and Armand Seguin will complete the sale.

The department carefully selected 20th century works on paper from various owners such as a superb drawingby Pablo Picasso, Pomme realised in 1915-1916 and never offered at auction. This gouache estimated at €400,000-600,000 has the particularity of having another drawing on its back: Composition au guéridon. The sale will also offer a large work by Joan Miró, Femme Oiseau executed in 1975 when the artist was exploring new techniques in his studio in Majorca. Coming from a private Parisian collection, it is estimated at €200,000-300,000. Marc Chagall will also be represented in the sale with a large and colourful gouache titled La Danse executed in 1928 and estimated at €600,000-800,000. A very rare double portrait of Victor Hugo by Auguste Rodin will complete the sale. Coming from the former collection of Marcel Guerin, this work, executed circa 1883-84 and never offered at auction, is estimated at €50,000-80,000.

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