Property from the Collection of Samuel J. & Ethel LeFrak

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A native New Yorker, Samuel J. LeFrak was a building magnate and a champion of middle class housing, who is perhaps most well-known for developing and building LeFrak City in Queens. While the LeFrak collection includes spectacular works by Renoir, Picasso, Dufy and Van Gogh, collecting was just one of Samuel and Ethel’s many passions. Sam had a larger-than-life personality that was perfectly complimented by Ethel’s elegance. Together they shared a great passion for art and an intellectual curiosity that imbued itself in so many aspects of their lives and enriched their marriage of more than 60 years.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening
14 November | New York

Impressionist & Modern Art Day
15 November | New York

Property from the Collection of Samuel J. & Ethel LeFrak

  • Vincent Van Gogh, Le Moulin à l’eau, painted circa 1884. Estimate: $2,000,000–3,000,000.
    Painted in 1884, Le Moulin à l’eau was executed when the artist was living with his parents in Nuenen. On 4 December 1883, Van Gogh set off on foot from Drenthe for his parents' house in Nuenen where, still in turmoil after separating from Sien Hoornik, a pregnant washerwoman with whom he had been closely involved, he sought to seek solace and re-evaluate his art: "I thought that being at home again might give me a more accurate insight into the question of what I should do" (letter 475). Many of his landscapes from this period depict dark and solitary buildings that appear to reflect the isolation he was feeling following the break-up. Van Gogh remained in Brabant for almost two years using his parents' mangle room as a studio while closely studying the landscape and the impoverished local populace for whom he felt such sympathy. During this period Van Gogh also depicted peasants at work, particularly weavers, and the watermill’s connotations of labor is emphasised here by the inclusion of figures bent under sacks. Through this early work, the viewer bears witness to the machinations of a master painter in his formative years regarding both technique and subject matter.

  • Paul Cézanne, Arbres, executed circa 1890. Estimate: $100,000–150,000.
  • Paul Cézanne, Étude pour "La Tentation de St. Antoine" (recto) & études (verso): a double sided drawing, recto: 1869–72; verso: executed in 1861–65. Estimate: $50,000–70,000.
  • Honoré Daumier, Avant l'audience (Une Cause criminelle plaideur et avocat), executed circa 1865. Estimate: $100,000–150,000.
    As a young boy, Daumier worked as a lawyer’s messenger where he undoubtedly found a great deal of what would become his uncanny mixture of humorous and tragic subject matter. This work is no exception, as a lawyer cross-examines the supposed criminal. A strikingly abstract work, this piece was exhibited in the major exhibition of Daumier drawings at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1992.

  • Camille Pissarro, Groupes des personnes. Estimate: $10,000–15,000.
  • Jacques Villon, Écoutez les ancêstres qui en parlent, executed in 1898. Estimate: $10,00–15,000.
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Femme lisant, painted circa 1894. Estimate: $700,000–900,000.
    Jean Renoir, the artist’s second son, was born in 1894 and his wife’s young cousin Gabrielle Renard was enlisted as the child’s nursemaid. Based on the date of this work, this is one of the very first examples of the many portraits Renoir painted of Gabrielle over the course of his career. She quickly became one of his favourite models, painting her in costumes, rich interiors and in the nude. Fascinated by the artist's exquisite rendering of female portraits, the French art critic Théodore Duret remarked, "Renoir excels at portraits. Not only does he catch the external features, but through them he pinpoints the model's character and inner self. I doubt whether any painter has ever interpreted woman in a more seductive manner. The deft and lively touches of Renoir's brush are charming, supple and unrestrained, making flesh transparent and tinting the cheeks and lips with a perfect living hue. Renoir's women are enchantresses" (quoted in Histoire des peintres impressionnistes, Paris, 1922, pp. 27–28).

  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Le Jardin des Tuileries, painted in Paris in April 1875. Estimate: $600,000–800,000.
    The scholar John Rewald identifies this rare Parisian view of the Tuilieries as study for the oil Madame Chocquet Reading (see next slide). Chocquet was a customs official who intelligently collected works by Monet and Renoir at the beginning of their careers. At the time of his death, he owned 14 Renoir oils.

  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Madame Chocquet Reading, 1876, Private Collection.
  • Maurice de Vlaminck, Village au bord d’une rivière, painted circa 1912. Estimate: $200,00–300,000.
    The present work depicts Chatou, an idyllic, light infused town on the Seine where Renoir and many of his fellow Impressionists went to paint en plein air in the 1870–80s. Vlaminck called the village home for several years beginning in 1892, and it was there where he met his lifelong friend and collaborator André Derain and formed what he called the "School of Chatou," celebrating their common artistic tenants, including heavily impastoed and color-filled canvases. While taken with Chatou, one can quite clearly see Vlaminck’s interest in the work of Cézanne in the present work.

  • Raoul Dufy, Promenade au bois, painted in 1913. Estimate: $700,000–1,000,000.
    Promenade au bois is a highly unique example from the height of Raoul Dufy’s "Cézannesque" period. Dufy often looked to Cézanne for inspiration, exclaming “We have the tree, the bench, the house, but what interests me, the most difficult thing is what surrounds these objects. How do we hold everything together? Nobody has done it like Cézanne” (quoted in Dora Perez-Tibi, Raoul Dufy, New York, 1989, pp. 40–41). At this time, the artist was beginning to distance himself from the Fauves, working closely with Georges Braques.

    This classic Parisian subject, the Bois de Bolougne, may be formally elegant and seemingly innocent, but the park was at the time a well-known salacious haunt on the edges of Paris. The figure on the left is most likely a prostitute soliciting the well-to-do gentlemen on the right, while a stern female figure looks down on her, both physically and metaphorically.

    This work has never appeared pubically at auction and was acquired at by the LeFraks from Hirschl & Adler Galleries in 1967. It was previously owned by Madame Raoul Dufy, meaning it was part of the artist’s prized personal collection at the time of his death in 1953.

  • Raoul Dufy, L'Hindoue, painted in 1930. Estimate: $250,000–350,000.
    This work displays an undeniable connection with Henri Matisse with its rich patterning and the subject of the odalisque. According to the scholar Diane Kelder, this canvas is one of eight paintings posed for by the Indian model Anmavati Ponty in Dufy’s studio in the Impase de Guelma in Montmartre between 1928 and 1930.

    This work was previously in the collection of the physician Dr. Alexandre Roudinseco, who sold his collection at Parke-Bernet galleries in 1968. The LeFraks acquired several important works at this single owner sale of Roudinesco’s famed School of Paris collection.

  • Georges Rouault, La Pauvre famille III (Interiérieur) (Les Réfugiés), executed in 1912. Estimate: $25,000–35,000.
  • Maurice Utrillo, Tabac restaurant Bibet à Saint-Bernard (Ain), painted in 1932. Estimate: $70,000–90,000.
  • Maurice de Vlaminck, Paysage près de Châtou, signed Vlaminck (lower right), painted circa 1910–11. Estimate: $250,000–350,000.
    The present work is a different view of Vlaminck’s beloved Chatou on the river Seine.

    Scenes along the Seine held a central place in Vlaminck’s work and figure in many of his Fauve compositions. "It was in painting the banks of the Seine," Vlaminck would later recall, "that I tried to represent the emotion that seized hold of me when faced by this landscape . . . It can only have been the extraordinarily strong and powerful enthusiasm felt by my twenty-year-old-self, the rush of life that I experienced at the time,that enabled me to transpose this banal subject [The Seine], through a blaze of color, into fierce realism and exuberant picturesque!" (quoted in Maïthé Vallès-Bled, Vlaminck, Catalogue critique des peintures et céramiques de la période fauve, Paris, 2008, p. 361).

  • Maurice de Vlaminck, Nature morte aux artichauts, painted circa 1928. Estimate: $120,000–180,000.
    By the time he painted the present work, Vlaminck was settled in the sleepy village of La Tourilliere. Finding the landscape uncompelling he returned to his still life practice. Diane Kedler explained that in the present work "the table objects are really a pretext for an intense study of form and tonal harmony which ultimately transcends their scale and renders them as solemn and monumental as the elements of landscape or architecture."

  • Pablo Picasso, Tête de femme, executed on 21 July 1970. Estimate: $80,000–120,000.
  • Pablo Picasso, Tête de femme, executed on 21 July 1970. Estimate: $100,000–150,000.
    This charming drawing is most likely of Jacquline Roque, Picasso’s last wife and the greatest love of his life. He adored her large almond eyes, as evidenced in this work, and liked to experiment by putting her in different costumes, such as the flowered headband.

  • Pablo Picasso, Homme et femme assise, executed on 7 June 1970. Estimate: $150,000–250,000.
  • Georges Braque, Composition avec guitare, executed circa 1920. Estimate: $40,000–60,000.
    The arguable creator of both analytical and synthetic Cubism, Braque was also a champion of collage. Braque frequently included musical instruments in his oils and collages including bits of newspaper with words. This work is particularly compelling with the inclusion of the artist’s handwritten versus printed text


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