Artcurial announces Impressionist & Modern Art and Post-War & Contemporary Art sales

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Artcurial announces Impressionist & Modern Art and Post-War & Contemporary Art sales
Salvador Dalí, Machine à coudre avec parapluies dans un paysage surréaliste, 1941. Oil on panel. Estimate: € 1,8 - 2,2 M

PARIS.- On 28 and 29 June, the Impressionist & Modern and Post-War & Contemporary Art departments will hold their major sales presenting key pieces by great 20th century artists.

The afternoon sale dedicated to Impressionist & Modern Art, starting at 14.00 on Tuesday 29 June, comprises around one hundred works of art. Notable pieces include gouaches by Maurice Utrillo and Fernand Léger, drawings by Paul Gauguin, Aristide Maillol and Henri Matisse, along with oils on canvas by Marquet, Survage and Bernard Buffet. The evening sale, starting at 19.00, will highlight 31 key pieces by major artists, including an oil on canvas by Pablo Picasso, Le verre taillé sur fond rose from 1922, estimated to sell for 550 000 - 650 000 €, a drawing from 1933 by the same artist, Flûtiste assise et dormouse and a number of bronzes by Ossip Zadkine, Aristide Maillol and Emile-Antoine Bourdelle.

There will also be three oils by the exceptional artist Laurence Stephen Lowry, known for his paintings of everyday scenes set in the industrial suburbs of Manchester in the mid-20th century.

The Post-War & Contemporary Art auction, a morning sale starting at 11.00, will present 372 works of art. The auction house Artcurial has joined forces with the Groupe ADP Foundation to support their work combatting illiteracy, with the sale of 9 monumental letters that have spelt out the terminals Orly Ouest and Orly Sud for over fifty years. An important collection of 88 exceptional lots, focusing on abstract art, will feature in this auction, with work by Jean Dubuffet, Henri Michaux, Zao Wou-ki, Maria Elena Vieira da Silva and Sam Szafran. Work on paper, gouache, ink, pencils, pastels, watercolours, oils…it is as if the history of different techniques and materials can be told through this collection.

Impressionist & Modern Art

On 29 June, Artcurial will present a remarkable group of work from the former Tériade collection, comprising four pieces of furniture and a work on paper by Alberto Giacometti. There will also be a work on paper and a ceramic by Marc Chagall, a gouache by Henri Laurens and a ceramic plate by Pablo Picasso.

Efstrathios Eleftheriades, known as Tériade (1897 - 1983), originally from the Greek island of Lesbos, was an art critic and publisher, who originally planned a career in law. He was passionate about fine art and the decorative arts, and fuelled his passion by going to literary cafés, museums and galleries. During the course of his work as a critic (Les Cahiers d’art, L’intransigeant, Le Minotaure, Verve) and a publisher (Les Métamorphoses d’Ovide, illustrated by Picasso, Les Poésies de Mallarmé by Matisse), Tériade got to know some of the biggest contemporary artists of his day, including Picasso and Giacometti. He built close personal relationships with everyone and showed great commitment in promoting their work. Tériade developed a special friendship with Alberto Giacometti (1901 - 1966), from the artist’s earliest days; four pieces that spring from this relationship will be offered : two lamps, a wall light and a console table. The table, designed especially for Tériade at the end of the 1940s, displays a dialogue between the forged bronze structure and the light marble tops. The tool marks clearly visible on the dark bronze contrast subtly with the smooth appearance of the two lightcoloured tops.

A singular painter, meticulous to the extreme and shrouded in mystery, Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) played a big part in the history of Surrealism and Modern art in the 20th century. A star lot in this Impressionist & Modern Art sale will be Machine à coudre avec parapluies dans un payasage surréaliste. This was part of a project for the film La Péniche de l’amour (Moontide), by Fritz Lang, which would be directed by Archie Mayo in 1942, with Jean Gabin in the leading role. In this oil on panel, Dalí paints a dreamscape, emanating a sense of dread, with exaggerated shadows cast by the sewing machine and umbrellas appearing to move across the square. The artist employs a sombre palette, using mid-tones in shades of grey, black and light brown. Like a cinema projector, the harsh, white light coming from the distant horizon sheds a violent light on the scene, throwing the shadows of the umbrellas into sharp focus. Like birds of prey, these shadows invade the scene, featureless, empty and soulless.

Finally, this sale will also offer a very rare piece by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 - 1901) entitled Une opération par le Docteur Péan à l’Hôpital International. Painted in 1891 and offered the same year by the artist to his doctor, Frédéric Baumgarten, who appears in the picture, this painting in essence on card is a major discovery, as it has remained in the hands of the same doctor’s family ever since. Unique for its subject, this work of art was intended as an outstanding testimony to the hospital environment at that time. The lively style is also remarkable, with its colourful palette and successfully capturing the moment, all characteristics of Toulouse Lautrec’s art.

Post-War & Contemporary

The grand evening sale dedicated to Post-War & Contemporary Art on 29 June will present a major oil on canvas by Jean-Paul Riopelle : Prairial. This highly innovative painting, completed in 1948 and estimated at 400 000 - 500 000 €, portrays Riopelle’s Automatiste experience, striking in its abstract expressionist approach and the various techniques and tools employed by the artist: drips, impasto, brushes and spatulas. The creativity breathes through it with an artistic language renews itself. 1948 was a notable year for Jean-Paul Riopelle : at the artist’s suggestion, Paul-Emile Borduas, leader of the Automatists, produced the anti-religious and antiestablishment manifesto Refus global, denouncing the obscurantism in Quebec society. Prairial fits into this reactionary context; the painting, uncompromising and critical in nature, is charged with a palpable energy.

Amongst the major abstract artists presented, Simon Hantaï occupies a prominent place in this sale. With Etude en bleu created in 1971, Hantaï displays his perfect mastery of the “pliage” (folding) process. The artist paints blind, introducing an element of chance in his shapes and colours according to the different manners of folding, a method reflected in the title of the series. His work is almost sculptural in the way the folds are built up. Indeed, through the act of folding, Hantaï cuts through his canvas while at the same time conserving the material. In this piece, the dialogue between the blue and white is suggestive of Matisse’s cut-outs, for example La perruche et la sirène. In Etude en bleu, estimated at 200 000 - 300 000 €, the colours, intensity and relationship with the white margins expresses a desire for the ultimate idyll, resulting in a reflection on light.

A key figure in American art, George Condo, with a unique style of abstracted figurative painting is included in this contemporary art sale. The artist seeks to penetrate the mental state of the characters he portrays using “psychological cubism”, which involves painting two or three differed facets of a personality combined. The eye is a central element here. Condo takes the eye as a starting point to begin dissecting, dismantling and deconstructing the portrait. Portrait composition, created in 2003 and estimated at 300 000 - 400 000 €, is a revealing example of his work, the dislocation central to the piece. Condo has followed in the long tradition of painters who exploring an ocular theme. The strangeness of this work embodies a master of disorder, with two sides, forced to negotiate with chaos through hybridization and ultimately transgression.

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