One of the most important single owner collections of Impressionist and Modern art will be up for auction at Christie’s Hidden Treasures in London on 27 February 2019, featuring works by Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Matisse and more. Many of the works were assembled in the 1980s by an anonymous American, representing very best and most innovative moments of this seminal epoch. Let’s take a look some highlights from the sale.
Claude Monet (1840-1926). Saule pleureur et bassin aux nymphéas (1916-1919)｜Estimate: in the region of £20m
Leading the sale is a rare picture by Claude Monet (1840-1926), painted during his Grande Decoration cycle (popularly known the world over as the Water Lilies series). Originally owned by the artist’s son Michel, Saule pleureur et bassin aux nymphéas, 1916-1919, has never been seen in public before.
The picture was painted at the artist’s house in Giverny during the First World War, at a period when Monet was arguably attempting to break down the boundaries of pictorial abstraction entirely. Saule pleureur et bassin aux nymphéas demonstrates Monet’s ability to craft strong forms and suggest space as well as his gift for orchestrating colour.
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906). Nature morte de pêches et poires (1885-1887)｜Estimate: in the region of £40m
Nature morte de pêches et poires is a still-life painting that shows Cézanne’s desire to shift away from Impressionism in favour of ‘something solid and enduring, like the art in museums.’
The fruits in the present Nature morte serve as vessels for Cézanne’s most profound, sublimated emotions at this moment of personal flux and creative discovery. All but a single pear, once again, are closely clustered within the protective embrace of the round plate.
The painting was once owned by the Impressionist art dealer Ambroise Vollard, and it has not been seen at auction for 40 years.
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). Portrait de femme: buste, profil gauche (1885)｜Estimate: £8,000,000 - £12,000,000
Van Gogh left for Antwerp on 28 November 1885. He started painting the picturesque monuments of the city and sought out models for making portraits. None of the painted townscapes mentioned in his letters survived, but five portraits out of what must have at least been a group of nine did. Four are currently in the Van Gogh Museum, Portrait de femme, buste, profil gauche is the fifth.
Portrait de femme: buste, profil gauche, 1885, depicts a young café singer whom the ill-fated artist met in Antwerp. The picture marks a transitional moment in the Dutch artist’s career — a few months later he was in Paris, where, in a burst of ecstatic creativity, he introduced a new way of painting to the world.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919). Sentier dans le bois (1874-1877)｜Estimate: £7,500,000 - £10,500,000
Sentier dans le bois was painted by Renoir in 1874 at the very height of the Impressionist moment, during the period of the group’s first three independent exhibitions, held in 1874, 1876, and 1877.
The picture depicts the Forest of Fontainebleau — a celebrated destination for French landscape painters since the early 1820s. By choosing this as his subject, Renoir was intentionally painting himself into his nation’s art history.
Henri Matisse (1869-1954). Danseuse assise sur une table, fond rouge (1942)｜Estimate: £4,500,000 - 7,000,000
In mid-August 1942 Matisse commenced painting a series of dancers attired in ruffled, frill-trimmed tutus, lounging indoors, the first canvases he had undertaken since February. During the interim he had occupied himself with the completion of the 158 drawings, begun in October 1941, that comprise his Thèmes et variations.
Matisse painting Danseuse assise sur une table, fond rouge in his Nice studio, September 1942
Danseuse assise sur une table, fond rouge was painted in 1942 during a critical and highly productive period of the artist’s life. While Matisse was holed up in the former Hôtel Régina in Nice, into his life came the vivacious Italian countess, Carla Avogadro.
Highlights from Hidden Treasures
Claude Monet (1840-1926). Saule pleureur et bassin aux nymphéas
Lot no.: 11
Painted in: 1916-1919
Size: 199 x 180 cm
- The artist's estate.
- Michel Monet, Giverny, by descent from the above.
- Galerie Katia Granoff, Paris, by whom acquired from the above, between 1951-1956.
- Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York, by whom acquired from the above, in January 1983.
- Acquired from the above by the present owners, on 29 May 1985.
Estimate on request
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906). Nature morte de pêches et poires
Lot no.: 6
Painted in: 1885-1887
Size: 38 x 46.3 cm
- Ambroise Vollard, Paris (nos. 3424 & 4348), by whom acquired directly from the artist, between 1899 - April 1904.
- Kurt von Mutzenbecher, Wiesbaden, by whom acquired from the above, on 24 August 1904.
- Otto Henkell, Wiesbaden, by whom acquired from the above, before 1929.
- Mrs Otto Henkell, Wiesbaden, by descent from the above, and thence by descent, until at least May 1949.
- Walter Feilchenfeldt, Zurich, by whom acquired in 1962.
- Dr Fritz & Dr Peter Nathan, Zurich (no. C-1248), by 1972.
- Col Edgar William & Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, Florida, New York & Maryland; their estate sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, 12 May 1980, lot 22.
- The Lefevre Gallery (Alex Reid & Lefevre, Ltd.), London (no. 9219).
- Acquired from the above by the present owners, on 30 May 1985.
Estimate on request
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). Portrait de femme: buste, profil gauche
Lot no.: 15
Painted in: 1885
Size: 60 x 50.2 cm
- Emile Bernard, Paris, probably a gift from the artist.
- Ambroise Vollard, Paris, by whom probably acquired from Mme Bernard, on 15 June 1899.
- Auguste Bauchy, Livry, by whom acquired from the above.
- Justin K. Thannhauser, Berlin & Lucerne, by whom acquired from the above, through Galerie Zak, Paris, on 8 July 1929; his sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, 12 April 1945, lot 104.
- Mr & Mrs Alfred Wyler, New York, by 1955.
- Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York, on consignment from the above.
- Acquired from the above by the present owners, on 8 November 1985.
Estimate: £8,000,000 - £12,000,000 (US$10,232,000-15,348,000)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919). Sentier dans le bois
Lot no.: 8
Painted in: 1874-1877
Size: 65.5 x 54 cm
- Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, by whom probably acquired directly from the artist, on 25 August 1891.
- Alphonse Kann, Paris, by whom acquired from the above, on 10 January 1910.
- Alfred Savoir, Paris.
- Mme Alfred Savoir, Paris, by descent from the above, in 1934.
- Jean-Claude Savoir, Coppet, by descent from the above, by 1960.
- Anonymous sale, Sotheby’s, London, 2 December 1986, lot 25.
- Heinz Berggruen, Paris.
- Acquavella Galleries, Inc., New York, by whom acquired from the above.
- Acquired from the above by the present owners, on 27 April 1987.
Estimate: £7,500,000 - £10,500,000 (US$9,592,500-13,429,500)
Henri Matisse (1869-1954). Danseuse assise sur une table, fond rouge
Lot no.: 5
Painted from 12 September to 4 October 1942
Size: 33 x 46.5 cm
- Martin Fabiani, by whom acquired directly from the artist, in 1942.
- Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York (no. 2990), by whom acquired on 25 February 1954.
- Walter Bareiss, New York, by whom acquired from the above, on 6 January 1956.
- The New Gallery (Eugene V. Thaw), New York.
- Count Bruno d’Oncieu, Geneva.
- Brook Street Gallery, London, by July 1979, until at least October 1980.
- Robert Lewin, London, by 1981.
- Arnold Herstand & Company, Inc., New York.
- Acquired from the above by the present owners, on 10 August 1984.
Estimate: £4,500,000 - 7,000,000 (US$5,755,500-8,953,000)
Auction house: Christie’s London
Sale: Hidden Treasures: Impressionist & Modern Masterpieces from an Important Private Collection
Sale date: 27 February 2019｜7pm
Lots offered: 23
21 February｜10am - 8pm
22, 25, 26 February｜9am - 4:30pm
23-24 February｜12pm - 5pm
27 February｜9am - 3pm