Our May 3rd Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale boasts a premiere assembly of high-quality, fresh-to-the-market artworks from esteemed private individuals and institutions. Among our many highlights, Sotheby’s is honored to offer property from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, including a unique and highly sophisticated marble by Barbara Hepworth (lot 106) and a large Symbolist oil by Odilon Redon (lot 158). Additional museum property includes a shimmering, large-scale oil by Henri Le Sidaner from the Asheville Art Museum in North Carolina (lot 161), an important study for La grande parade by Léger from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (lot 120) and an extraordinary group of works being deaccessioned by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (lots 388-392). Private Collections include Property from the Collection of Marvin Lundy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a stellar selection of modernist works led by Léger’s quintessential Composition Polychrome (lot 110). Property from an Important Private Collection, Connecticut (lots 135-137) is headlined by major Impressionist landscapes by Alfred Sisley and Camille Pissarro and also features a rare Fauvist cityscape by Auguste Herbin. Property from an Important Private Collection, New York (lots 149-153) is led by a stunningly luminous Renoir landscape, followed by an important Édouard Manet work on paper related to the famous oil Le Vieux musicien; a tender Vuillard interior and a ripe, previously unrecorded gouache still-life by Pierre Bonnard complete this offering. Other superb groups include Property from a Private Collection, Greenwich, an eclectic survey of French painting from the late 19th to mid-20th century which features groundbreaking Fauvist pictures by Maurice de Vlaminck (lot 131) and Raoul Dufy (lots 128 & 373), as well as an exceedingly rare 1884 oil by Paul Signac (lot 164). Sotheby’s is truly honored to present Picasso’s important oil, Tête de jeune garçon (lot 125), from a Distinguished Private Collection, on the front cover of our catalogue.
In what is truly a historic auction season, our Day Sale has been carefully curated to appeal to the most sophisticated and discerning collectors with eclectic tastes across the collecting category. Our modern sculptural offerings range from a pristine lifetime cast of Rodin’s Éternel printemps (lot 155), originally owned by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, to a large-scale reclining figure by Henry Moore (lot 351) and a vibrantly patinated Archipenko (lot 329), also cast during the artist’s lifetime. Following our curated approach, the May sale features a dazzling array of Museum quality Surrealist painting, sculpture and works on paper. Highlighted by Salvador Dalí’s sophisticated portrait of the poet and playwright Fédérico García Lorca painted in 1926 (lot 308) as well as a fabulously rare assemblage by André Breton (lot 310), which displays a fantastic combination of eccentric objects with a poem written for Dora Maar. The group also includes Dalí’s backdrop for Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Spellbound,” as well as high quality works on paper by Picabia, Magritte and Dalí and a number of important paintings by André Masson (lots 320, 321, 393 & 407). Our sale also features a comprehensive survey of works by Marc Chagall. Rencontre (lot 321), an exuberant late work, is a vibrant symphony of gouache, pastel and ink. Throughout the sale, a lively suite of oils and works on paper touch upon Chagall’s most celebrated subjects, including embracing lovers, whimsical self-portraits, Biblical stories and circus dancers. Our selection of works on paper runs the gamut from Daumier to Klee and Feininger. A large Balthus portrait (lot 214) highlights the artist’s lithe yet structured draftsmanship, while a selection of sensual Matisse drawings showcases elegant lines in charcoal (lots 155 and 117) and pen and ink (lot 119). A dynamic equestrian drawing by Degas (lot 201) relates to the famous oil Avant la course, and its strong charcoal lines leap off the sheet.