Monet's Vision of Venice Meets Picabia's Surreal Transparances in Two Remarkable Auctions

Claude Monet Le Palais Ducal Venice
Launch Slideshow

Late February will see two major auctions featuring some of the greatest masters of Impressionist and Modern Art: the Surrealist Art Evening Sale on 26 February and Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on 26 February. Works include Monet's Venetian vision, Le Palais Ducal, Schiele's Triestiner Fischerboot (Trieste Fishing Boat), and Picabia's surreal masterpiece, Atrata, alongside pieces by Kandinsky, Giacometti, Picasso, Chagall and others. Click the image above to view some of the most important works of 20th Century art.

Monet's Vision of Venice Meets Picabia's Surreal Transparances in Two Remarkable Auctions

  • Claude Monet, Le Palais Ducal, 1908, Estimate £20,000,000–30,000,000
    Monet’s spectacular view of the Doge’s Palace on the Grand Canal belongs to the extraordinary series he created in Venice in the autumn of 1908. The closeness of the buildings to the water’s edge allowed Monet to further his experimentations with light that he had practiced in his earlier London Thames paintings. In Le Palais Ducal, the rippling surface of the palace’s arched front conveys how Monet sought to capture the impression of light reflecting off the water and liquefying the façade of the ornate Venetian architecture.
  • Pablo Picasso, Le repos du faune, 1956, Estimate £1,600,000–2,500,000
    In his oft-quoted comment to the journalist Marius de Zayas in 1923, Picasso had stated: ‘To me there is no past or future in art. If a work of art cannot live always in the present it must not be considered at all. The art of the Greeks, of the Egyptians, of the great painters who lived in other times, is not an art of the past; perhaps it is more alive today than ever it was’ It is interesting to realise the extent to which, more than three decades later, that had become true of his own art, and that is nowhere more evident than in Le repos du faune.
  • Egon Schiele, Triestiner Fischerboot (Trieste Fishing Boat),1912, Estimate £6,000,000–8,000,000
    'It is of the utmost necessity that you finally come to visit Trieste! […] I am currently sitting at the café of this new large hotel at the pier; it is teeming with noble, pure, luscious colors – tremendous!'
    Letter from Egon Schiele in Trieste to Anton Peschka in Vienna, May 1912
  • Wassily Kandinsky, Vertiefte Regung (Deepened Impulse), 1928, Estimate £5,500,000–7,500,000
    'The circle is the synthesis of the greatest oppositions. It combines the concentric and the excentric in a single form, and in equilibrium... It points most clearly to the fourth dimension.' - Wassily Kandinsky
  • Alberto Giacometti, Tête de femme (Annette), 1959, Estimate £1,800,000–2,500,000
    Tête de femme (Annette) is a stunning composition emblematic of the haunting portraits that the artist produced in post-war Paris and captures a sentiment that he expressed in a Surrealist prose poem: ‘The human face is as strange to me as a countenance, which, the more one looks at it, the more it closes itself off and escapes by the steps of unknown stairways.’
  • Lyonel Feininger, Brücke II (Bridge II), 1914-15, Estimate £4,000,000–6,000,000
    One of Feininger’s most accomplished and striking oils painted in the cubist manner, Brücke II was inspired by a small Gothic bridge over the Ilm river near Weimar, a region that provided some of the most iconic motifs in his work. During this time Feininger was living in Berlin and often visited Weimar and this area – which he called ‘the promised land’ – offered the artist the tranquility and solitude in which he could focus on his painting.
  • Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Mädchen auf dem Diwan (Girl on a Divan), 1906, Estimate £2,800,000–3,800,000
    Painted during a pivotal year in Kirchner’s artistic development, Mädchen auf dem Diwan reflects the inspiration he found in the post-Impressionist painting by Van Gogh, while at the same time pointing to the highly innovative, expressive sensibility that would define the style of Kirchner’s mature art as well as that of Die Brücke.
  • René Magritte, L'Etoile du matin, 1938, Estimate £3,500,000–4,500,000
    L’Etoile du matin depicts a subject unique within Magritte’s œuvre. Inspired by a photograph that was supplied by his friend, the poet Marcel Mariën, it juxtaposes the profile of a Native American with that of his beloved wife Georgette. The painting was acquired shortly after its execution by a renowned Belgian couple who were close friends and patrons of Magritte, and has remained in the same collection to the present day.
  • Francis Picabia, Atrata, 1929, Estimate £1,500,000–2,000,000
    This remarkable oil by Francis Picabia dates from the crucial early years of Surrealism. The monumental Atrata, with its complex overlapping imagery and historical references, is one of the most stunning examples of the artist’s celebrated series of Transparances executed in the late 1920s.
  • Jean Arp, Évocation D'une Forme Humaine Lunaire Spectrale, 1957, Estimate £1,200,000–1,800,000
    The present work is an extraordinary example of the artist's ability to take inspiration from natural forms around him, whilst always managing to transcend the realm of the tangible. As the title suggests, this wonderfully organic and sensual sculpture is at the same time evocative of a human torso and of a mysterious lunar landscape. The dynamic of the work is derived from its seductive undulations and shadowy crevasses, resulting in a stark contrast between the concave and convex forms.
  • StephaneGros
    Man Ray, Femmelaharpe, 1957, Estimate £700,000–1,000,000
    ‘I never paint because I am a painter. I paint because I have an idea. I let the idea recur and recur, it has to haunt me until I have to put it down in concrete form.’ Man Ray

    A monumental canvas from Man Ray’s late Paris period, Femmelaharpe amalgamates a range of the themes that fascinated the artist throughout his career, from depicting the interaction of women and objects to the synthesis of music and traditional mathematical models within his works.
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