Contemporary Art

A Dreamy Chagall & More from a Chicago Collection

By Danny Zhang

This spring significant works from an important Chicago collection will be included in our Impressionist & Modern Evening and Day and Contemporary Art Day auctions (14, 15 & 17 May, respectively, New York). Assembled with a discerning eye and impeccable taste, the collection contains some of the most iconic names of 20th-century Modernism.

Kicking off this season’s Impressionist and Modern Evening sale, Marc Chagall’s Fleurs de printemps (La Cruche aux fleurs de printemps) is the star of the collection and was acquired by the present owner nearly 50 years ago. Painted in 1930 during Chagall’s transformative second period in France, this picture celebrates the birth of spring. Included in the painting are some of the artist’s most well-known motifs – a bouquet of flowers, a violin and dream-like flying figures – all depicted with a subtle and luminous palette that testifies to the love and happiness in Chagall’s life during this time. 

Another highlight of the collection – whose brilliant hues and circus theme could easily be mistaken for a Chagall – is Haute école by Jean Dufy, which will be offered in the Impressionist & Modern Art Day sale. Dufy, who fully immersed himself in the avant-garde in the 1920s through his brother Raoul and his neighbor Georges Braque, depicted many vignettes of Parisian social life.

The collection also includes artists from the post-war New York School. A work from the height of Adolph Gottlieb’s career, Scatter, will be presented in the Contemporary Art Day auction. Comprised of abstract symbols painted on an earth-toned background, the work is iconic of Gottlieb’s unique vocabulary that influenced many of his contemporaries. Scatter has remained in the collection for four decades.

In addition to these highlights, two Bernard Buffet paintings from the 1960s – Pommiers en fleurs and Soucis rouges sur un guéridon – and a rare Jacob Lipschitz wall sculpture from 1918 will be offered in the Impressionist and Modern Art Day sale. While the rich impasto of Buffet's paintings evoke relief sculptures, Lipschitz's sculpture exemplifies the artist’s Cubist production and is signed with the artist’s thumbprint.

Additional works from the collection will be offered during our upcoming Prints, Contemporary Curated and Contemporary Art Day sales in the fall.


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