From Kandinsky to Klein: Impressionist & Modern, Surrealist & Contemporary Art Highlights

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Launch Slideshow

Highlights from our upcoming London sales of Impressionist and Modern Art, Surrealist Art and Contemporary Art will be on view in New York from 2 to 6 February. The auctions feature an outstanding variety of paintings, works on paper and sculpture. Click ahead to view a selection of the works from the exhibition, a dynamic work from Kandinsky and a visually arresting Abstraktes Bild by Gerhard Richter.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale
1 March 2017 | London

Surrealist Art Evening Sale
1 March 2017 | London

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale
2 March 2017 | London

Contemporary Art Evening Auction
8 March 2017 | London

Contemporary Art Day Auction
9 March 2017 | London

From Kandinsky to Klein: Impressionist & Modern, Surrealist & Contemporary Art Highlights

  • Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild (654–4), 1988. From Contemporary Art Evening Auction.
    Abstraktes Bild is a visually arresting example of Gerhard Richter’s revered body of abstract paintings. Appearing at auction for the first time, this painting is spectacular in colour and dramatic in composition, aptly demonstrating the theatre of Richter’s idiosyncratic painterly method. Created at the start of Richter’s seminal 1988-1992 period of production, during which time his Abstrakte Bilder realized new heights of sophistication and elegance, the present work epitomizes the series’ strength.

  • Tom Wesselmann, Smoker #5 (Mouth #19), 1968. From Contemporary Art Evening Auction.
    Smoker #5 (Mouth #19) is an iconic Pop art image, filled with style and elegance. Executed in 1969, when tobacco advertising was at its height, this work seems in many ways, to have been created in the tradition of commercial art. In an appreciation of this work, we are reminded of Wesselmann’s stated artistic goals, which he outlined when writing under his pseudonym, Silm Stealingworth: to transform the “depiction of a human activity into an immediately overwhelming and beautiful confrontation with an impossibly monumental phenomenon” (Slim Stealingworth, Tom Wesselmann, New York 1980, p. 66).

  • Marc Chagall, Les Trois bouquets (Le Bouquet renversé). Estimate £500,000–700,000. From Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale.
    Painted in 1947-48, Les Trois bouquets (Le Bouquet renversé) is a beguiling and profoundly romantic composition. Set against a luminous blue background bursting with deeply personal imagery, three luscious bouquets of flowers erupt from their vases to fill the canvas. It is a picture which embodies the sense of regeneration and renewed optimism that characterised Chagall’s work during this important period of transition. They count, as Franz Meyer notes, ‘among the most marvellous works Chagall produced in America’ (Franz Meyer, Marc Chagall, Life and Work, New York, 1961, p. 478).

  • Alberto Burri, Cretto Bianco, 1958. From Contemporary Art Evening Auction.
    Cretto Bianco marks a turning point within Burri’s praxis. It is one of the very first examples of the paradigm-shifting Cretti series; one of only five works produced in this style in 1958. Inspired by the withered scenery of the Californian desert, Burri recreated the nuanced topography of that rugged landscape in the execution of these works.

  • Wassily Kandinsky, Deutliche Verbindung (Clear Connection). Estimate £800,000–1,200,000. From Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale.
    While teaching at the Bauhaus, Kandinsky perfected his watercolour technique, producing some of his most accomplished works on paper during those years. Balancing spheres, triangles and half-circles of solid colour with darkly inked lines and subtle washes of watercolour, Kandinsky creates a remarkable dynamic within the Deutsche Verbindung.

  • Yves Klein, Untitled Monogold (MG 47), circa 1961. From Contemporary Art Evening Auction.
    Gold was a material of immense importance for Yves Klein. Along with Blue and Pink, it was one of only three colours upon which the vast majority of his oeuvre was founded. Created between 1960 and 1961, the Monogolds should be viewed not only as continuation of Klein’s monochrome theme, but also as the conceptual descendants of his famous Immaterial Zones of Pictorial sensibility. The present example is charming in its delicacy, and appears at auction for the first time, having been gifted to the family of the present owner by the artist in 1961.

  • Fernand Léger, L’Etoile blanche, 1946. Estimate 1,000,000–1,500,000. From Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale.
    L’Etoile blanche is a complex arrangement of stylised and geometric forms executed in wonderfully rich colours, creating a work of remarkable visual presence.

  • Jean Dubuffet, L’Homme au Papillon, 1954. From Contemporary Art Evening Auction.
    Homme au Papillon should be considered amongst the most important works of Jean Dubuffet’s 1950s praxis.This work is consummately rare, and wholly imbued with strains of self-portraiture. Meanwhile, in its focus on the butterfly motif, it refers to the celebrated series of butterfly paintings that Dubuffet created in the early 1950s. In style, Homme au Papillon exemplifies the Art Brut tradition that had captivated Dubuffet since 1945, and yet also assimilates influence from many of the masters of American Abstract Expressionism. It is a magisterial painting, as compelling in aesthetic as it is significant in historic context.

  • Émile Othon Friesz, Paysage à la Ciotat. Estimate £500,000–700,000. From Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale.
    La Ciotat counts among the finest examples of the Fauve work of Emile-Othon Friesz. It was painted in 1907 when Friesz was in the South of France with fellow painter and close friend Georges Braque and each was challenging the other to paint in the most radical colours possible. Unlike some of Friesz’s other Fauve works, however, La Ciotat pays homage to the structured compositions of Cézanne and demonstrates the artist’s technical skill with both colour as well as form.

  • Marc Chagall, Grand coq blanc, 1979-80. Estimate £1,000,000–1,500,000. From Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale.
    Grand coq blanc is populated with many of Chagall’s iconic motifs – featuring a large cockerel, bouquet of flowers, melancholic lovers and the rooftops of his provincial birthplace of Vitebsk.

  • René Magritte, Le Repas de noces, 1940. Estimate £900,000–1,200,000. From Surrealist Art Evening Sale.
    One of the finest gouaches by Magritte to appear on the market in recent years, Le Repas de noces has remained in the same private collection for almost 50 years. This work combines two images that Magritte explored around this time: a reclining lion, the trademark of a Brussels food retailer that was a ubiquitous part of everyday life, and an egg on a table top.

  • Francis Picabia, Ino, 1929-30. Estimate £500,000–700,000. From Surrealist Art Evening Sale.
    Ino belongs to Picabia’s elegant Transparences series, which derives its name from multiple layers of overlapping imagery. The bold frame for Ino was designed by French fashion, furniture and jewellery designer Rose Adler, who received the work directly from the artist – bringing together Surrealism and Art Deco.

  • Alexander Calder, Black Lace, circa 1947. From Contemporary Art Evening Auction.
    In the immediately post-war years, Alexander Calder was at the peak of his creative powers, seeking out harmony, balance, and rhythmic variation in all of his works. The present work embodies these qualities. Mindlin was a renowned Brazilian architect, a close friend to Calder, and an avowed fan of his work.

  • Adrian Ghenie, Self Portrait as Charles Darwin, 2011. From Contemporary Art Evening Auction.
    Self-Portrait as Charles Darwin pinpoints a milestone in Adrian Ghenie’s oeuvre. It marks the very beginning of a sustained body of work that directly channels the legacy and visage of the forefather of modern biological science. In many ways, the subject of this painting is the pre-eminent focus of Ghenie’s career to date. Moreover, in style, this work seems to exemplify Ghenie’s painterly technique; executed with bravura fluency in thick impasto.

  • Paul Delvaux, Jeunes filles au bord de l’eau. Estimate £1,700,000–2,200,000. From Surrealist Art Evening Sale.
    Painted in 1966, Filles au bord de l’eau is an alluring example of Surrealist Art, bringing together some of the key elements that defined Delvaux's mature œuvre. This dream-like scene depicts at once an interior and exterior setting, charging the viewer’s imagination with a wealth of association and painterly prowess.

  • Salvador Dalí, Moment de transition. Estimate £6,000,000–8,000,000. From Surrealist Art Evening Sale.
    Mysterious and magnificent, Dalí’s dreamlike landscape Moment de transition was painted in 1934. Inspired by the arid countryside of Catalonia, Dalí painted a number of highly important landscapes that unsettled and beguiled his fellow Surrealists in equal measure.

  • Jean Arp, Homme-moustache. Estimate £1,200,000–1,800,000. From Surrealist Art Evening Sale.
    Guided by chance and intuition, Arp created organic, irregular shapes evocative of natural forms and parts of human anatomy such as Homme-moustache. Although he developed a highly abstract pictorial vocabulary, in his cut-outs and wood reliefs Arp always established a connection between these biomorphic forms and elements of the natural world in such a way as to unveil the poetic elements hidden in everyday images.

  • Maurice Denis, L’Essayage.
    Estimate £200,000–300,000. From Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale.
    Painted circa 1898, L'Essayage is a tender and intimate portrayal of Maurice Denis’ adored wife, Martha Meurier. The couple married on 12th June 1893, and went on to have seven children together, with Martha serving effectively as the artist’s muse and acting as his model on a number of occasions. Denis was a founding member of the Nabis, an association of artists who sought to break away from traditional subjects in favour of painting dominated by flat planes of colour and simplified forms as a means of attaining a greater level of spirituality within art. L'Essayage boasts a distinguished and extensive exhibition history, having been included in a number of shows dedicated to the Nabis as well as individual exhibitions devoted solely to the artist between 1945 and 2010.

  • Gerhard Richter, Eisberg, 1982. From Contemporary Art Evening Auction.
    This extraordinary painting is utterly captivating in its desolate serenity. Characterised by a monolithic shard of forbidding ice, and executed in a perfectly balanced atmospheric spectrum of icy, arctic hues, it exemplifies Richter’s career-defining series of landscapes. It is the largest of his three works completed on this subject. In this work we are reminded of Richter’s extraordinary technical skill: of his ability to evoke a sense of the sublime in the same manner as Caspar David Friedrich, and of his expertise in atmospheric light effects.

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