When in 1887, a tall, physically imposing and enigmatic young man arrived in Paris from the Ile-de-la-Réunion, a French colony far away in the Indian Ocean, no-one could have guessed that within a decade he was to become one of the most fascinating and significant figures in the history of modern art. Ambroise Vollard (1866-1939) had an extraordinary instinct for detecting unrecognised genius. Not only was he responsible for a series of stellar exhibitions by such then unknown names as Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Picasso, but he had a passion for original prints and for publishing the most beautiful livres d'artiste or artists' books. This historic sale at Sotheby's in Paris will reveal the broad range of his enthusiasms. Highlights of the sale include an early portrait by Cézanne of his childhood friend, the great novelist Emile Zola as well as risqué monotypes by Degas including the celebrated La Fête de la patronne. The sale also showcases a striking example of Gauguin's rare and inventive monotypes or transfer drawings that he made with Vollard's encouragement and such important early prints by Picasso as Le Repas frugal, 1904 from the artist's Blue Period and Les Saltimbanques, 1905 from the slightly later Rose Period. There is also a very touching self portrait by Renoir dedicated to Ambroise Vollard as well as a striking colour lithograph of Le Chapeau Epinglé, one of the most popular printed works by the artist. Alongside these remarkable pieces, collectors will find smaller gems such as an anonymous photograph showing Vollard at a dinner table surrounded by his artist friends, and delightful handwritten pages penned by Chagall recounting his first arrival in Paris. All of the works in the sale were in Vollard's possession until his death in 1939 and have remained unseen, locked away in bank vaults, for over seventy years.