Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sales
06 February 2014 | London

LOTS 264 - 273

Olivier Sainsère (1852-1923) was a prominent politician and patron of the arts who supported many modern avant-garde painters in Paris at the beginning of the twentieth century, including Picasso and the Fauves.

Following his father into politics, he rose up through the ranks to be elected Prefect aged thirty-nine, progressing to Conseiller d’Etat at forty-three and serving as Secretary General under French President Raymond Poincaré from 1915 to 1920. A man of great culture, he counted heads of state as well as painters and poets among his close acquaintances, forming lasting friendships with Pablo Picasso, Raymond Poincaré and Edouard Pailleron. After discovering Picasso at the Galerie Berthe Weill he became one of his earliest collectors, purchasing his work from 1901 and continuing to support the artist in the years that followed, assisting Picasso with his French residency permit and protecting him during the infamous theft of the Mona Lisa, by using his political influence to avert any suspicions the police had regarding Picasso’s supposed anarchism.

Olivier Sainsère with his family

Sainsère was a member of numerous national committees for the arts, and sat on the boards of French national museums where his informed wisdom and strong convictions inspired the respect of his peers. He surrounded himself with discerningly selected masterpieces, the walls of his Paris home were adorned with pictures by Seurat, Monet, Renoir, Gauguin, Pissarro, Derain, Signac, Degas, Denis, Vuillard, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Dongen, Marquet and Matisse amongst others. Many works that he owned now enrich the collections of some of the world’s greatest museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay. Sotheby’s is privileged to present a selection of works from this prestigious collection, none of which have been offered to the market for a hundred years or more.