T aking place live in Paris on 21 October 2020, the Modernités Evening Sale presents a curated selection of works by world-renowned artists, from the emergence of the European avant-garde to the Post-War period. This season, the sale presents 25 remarkable artworks from a private collection including a wartime portrait by Pablo Picasso, a landscape by Yves Tanguy, and works by Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miró, Jean Dubuffet and Fernando Botero among others.
Alongside this collection Modernités also presents a selection of highly significant artworks by other key 20th-century artists, including a masterful “Transparency” by Francis Picabia, a rare 1923 composition by Paul Klee, a 1938 surrealist canvas by Roberto Matta and superb works by Zao Wou-Ki and Daniel Buren.
Paris vs London | A Tale of Two Art Capitals
The auction will take place alongside the Contemporary Art Evening Auction in London in Sotheby’s third livestream auction event, “Modernités / Contemporary”. Developing the livestream auction model pioneered by the company in this summer’s marquee sales in New York and London, the auctions present defining moments of the 20th and 21st centuries through artworks by the greatest artists working in Europe and beyond.
Caroline de Maigret Explores the Creative Spirit of Paris and London
The Hidden Masterworks within Picabia’s Transparencies
The works presented in the wonderful collection “A Modern Eye” echo the discerning taste of a private collector who starting in the 1980s’ assiduously frequented both prestigious galleries and auction houses. The result is a group of paintings, drawings, and sculptures of the utmost quality that span the 20th century.
The collector’s subtle and sophisticated eye brings the viewer from a 1919 Dadaist work by Max Ernst to a masterful Forêt from his surrealist period and leads up to an exquisite dreamscape by Yves Tanguy. These in turn contrast with works by Modernist, Expressionist and Avant-Garde masters from Paul Klee to Heinrich Campendonk via Wassily Kandinsky and Die Brücke.
One of the key works, presiding over the whole, is a powerful wartime portrait by Picasso painted in Royan in 1940, whose tremendous force is evocative of the artist’s lifelong connection with the Minotaure and foreshadows the later explorations of the limits of portraiture by painters such as Francis Bacon. The collection also reaches into the Postwar period with a stunning oil by Jean Dubuffet and a marble by Fernando Botero confirming the varied yet sharply assured taste that governs this ensemble.
Highlights from Un Regard Moderne
PABLO PICASSO | TÊTE D’HOMME
PAUL KLEE | VILLEN (VERSINKENDE) UND BARACKEN (AUFSTEIGENDE)
FRANCIS PICABIA | MINOS
ROBERTO MATTA | MORPHOLOGIE PSYCHOLOGIQUE DE L'ANGOISSE (LA VEILLE DE LA MORT)
PABLO PICASSO | TÊTE D’HOMME
JOAN MIRÓ | LES TENDRESSES DE LA LUEUR DE LA LUNE À L’AUBE CROISÉE PAR UN BEL OISEAU
KAZUO SHIRAGA | CHIKAISEI SHINSANSHI
DANIEL BUREN | PEINTURE AUX FORMES VARIABLES
PIERRE SOULAGES | PEINTURE 73 X 60 CM, 15 SEPTEMBRE 1975
While Clément Greenberg criticized Soulages' paintings for lacking intensity at the end of the 1960s, Soulages 1970s paintings and in particular those of the years 1974-1976 have an extraordinary presence. Because if Soulages has long been interested in Zen, it was not until 1975, after having produced only engravings between 1972 and 1974, that his work took on the singular contemplative dimension of which Peinture 73 x 60 cm, 15 septembre 1975 is the perfect echo.
Photo-souvenir : Peinture aux formes variables, juin 1956, 154,9 x 134,8 cm (on stretcher). Detail. © Daniel Buren/ADAGP 2020, Paris (Photo : ArtDigitalStudio)