Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale Online
Online Auction: 4–18 May 2020 • 12:00 PM EDT • New York

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale Online 4–18 May 2020 • 12:00 PM EDT • New York

S otheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale Online features over 100 paintings, works on paper, sculpture and prints, including pieces from important private and museum collections. Works by the Impressionist masters Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas and Camille Pissarro are complemented by an exciting assortment of works on paper by Modernists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Joan Miró and a group of five prints by Edvard Munch including his woodcut, The Kiss IV. The sale features sculpture by Aristide Maillol, Auguste Rodin and Henry Moore as well as a striking selection of School of Paris portraiture and abstraction. Historic works by Latin America’s most important modern artists, including Mario Carreño, Rufino Tamayo, and Diego Rivera round out the sale’s offerings.

Featured highlights
Giorgio Morandi
Estimate: 1,000,000 – 1,500,000 USD
Giorgio Morandi | Natura Morta
Once proclaimed by the influential art historian Roberto Longhi as Italy's greatest living painter, Giorgio Morandi has come to be recognized as a unique and influential force within the development of modern art.
Fernand Léger
Estimate: 300,000 – 500,000 USD
Fernand Léger | le déjeuner
Fernand Léger painted this superb watercolor in the spring of 1921; the work is a study on paper created in preparation for two masterpieces he completed later that year: Le petit déjeuner and Le grand déjeuner.
Munch the Master Printmaker

P rintmaking was as important as painting or drawing to Edvard Munch’s oeuvre as he explored the same themes in different media throughout his career. Munch found printmaking to be particularly conducive to experimentation as he was able to save plates, stones or woodblocks for reuse. Many impressions of his prints are unique as Munch altered the color, paper type or composition, resulting in dramatic aesthetic variations and drastically changing the emotional impact of an image.

Munch’s mastery of the woodcut medium and his inventiveness as a printmaker are exemplified by the three works included in this sale, all coming from the collection of Catherine Woodard and Nelson Blitz Jr., who have assembled one of the most significant groups of Munch prints in private hands.

Moonlight II (Schiefler 81b; Woll 202)
This impression of Moonlight II (lot 71) is a rare first state of this image printed in black and grey. Munch first explored this subject in 1893, when he created an oil painting of the same name. In the woodcut, Munch emphasizes the psychology of the mysterious woman by cropping the image, placing her melancholy face at the foreground. The resulting image is very evocative of the sense of isolation which is a key theme across Munch’s graphic work.

The Kiss IV (Schiefler 102; Woll 204)
Although Munch explored the subject of The Kiss IV (lot 70) in both painting and etching, the woodcut version is widely considered to be his most successful iteration of the motif. As with Vampire II and Moonlight II, the woodgrain becomes an integral part of the composition. Elegant and abstract, it still resonates today with an almost contemporary feeling.

On the Threshold of Greatness

Degas, Picasso, Miró are blue-chip artists, each regarded today as a genius in his own right, but as young men they worked hard to convince critics and collectors of their unique vision. The early works of great artists are always fascinating and hold their own power and beauty, as the examples below demonstrate.

Renoir in Focus
Modern Art from Latin America

Sotheby’s is proud to present a selection of important works of Modern Art from across Latin America in the Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale Online. Among this May’s offerings are a rare portrait of Mary Rockefeller by celebrated Brazilian modernist Cândido Portinari, a historic work on paper by Mario Carreño, and an elegant Cubist portrait by Angel Zárraga. Mexican Modernism is strongly represented in the selection, with highlights including a pair of works by Alfredo Ramos Martínez from the collection of the San Diego Museum of Art, and dynamic works by Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, and Rodolfo Nieto.

The School of Paris

Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso and André Salmon in Montparnasse, Paris, 1916; photo by their friend, poet Jean Cocteau (WorldPhotos / Alamy Stock Photo)

At the turn of the 20th century, Paris became the heart of a growing avant-garde movement. Writers, philosophers and artists flocked to Montmartre and Montparnasse, fueling a melting pot of culture, philosophy, poetry and art. Led by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine and Marc Chagall, amongst others, this community of artists, many of them émigrés, came to be known as the School of Paris. From this group came many of the major masterworks of the first half of the 20th century.

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