Pablo Picasso, Buste de femme au chapeau; Portrait de femme au chapeau et au corsage imprimé (Bloch 1072; Baer 1318). linocut in colours, 1962, signed in pencil, from the edition of fifty. B. 630 x 530 mm; S. 751 x 615 mm. Estimate £100,000-150,000. © Christie's Images Ltd.
LONDON - The most varied and substantial array of Old Master, Modern and Contemporary Prints to be offered in many years at Christie’s London, will be auctioned in a two day sale on Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 September, 2007. A particularly broad range of Old Master Prints include works by the three leading names Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt and Francisco de Goya, as well as an unusually large number of Italian 16th century prints .19th Century and Decorative prints are widely represented with works by John Constable, Samuel Palmer, William Blake, George Stubbs and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. The Modern section of the sale offers an extraordinarily strong selection of works by all the major names and is led by a Private Collection, Property of an American Collector. This includes Henri Matisse’s most important print Grande Odalisque à la Culotte Bayadère, 1925 (estimate: £180,000-220,000) and significant, rare works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Further modern highlights include an important group of vibrant Picasso linocuts. The Contemporary section offers sought-after Pop art and works by American artists Donald Judd and Robert Rauschenburg. Over 600 lots will be offered, with estimates ranging from £400 through to £220,000. The sale is expected to realise in excess of £5 million.
Leading Old Master prints on Tuesday 18 September at 2pm, Durer’s A Coat of Arms with a Skull, 1503 (estimate: £50,000-80,000), exemplifies the artist’s exceptional engraving skills which capture textures and intricate details with true finesse. It is very rare that such a good impression of this print is offered at auction. Rembrandt’s Great Jewish Bride, 1635 (estimate: £12,000-18,000) is one of many works by this sought-after master to be offered. Highlights from Italian 16th century artists who add a fresh dynamic to this section include affordable and interesting works such as Parmigianino’s very rare Madonna and Child (estimate: £2,000-3,000); a chiaroscuro woodcut by Ugo da Carpi after Parmigianino, Diogenes, circa 1527, (estimate: £4,000-6,000); Annibale Carracci’s Madonna of the Swallow (with six other works), 1587 (estimate: £3,000-5,000); Domenico Campagnola’s important engraving Battle of Nude Men, 1517 (estimate: £1,200-1,800) and also Giorgio Ghisi’s Vision of Ezekeiel, 1554; with Caius Marius (estimate: £1,500-2,500).
19th Century prints include works by a splendid role call of key English artists, such as John Constable’s famous ‘English Landscape series’ (estimate: £3,000-5,000). It is rare that this series comes to auction in its entirety, complete with all 22 velvety mezzotints. Samuel Palmer’s The Bellman, 1879 (estimate: £5,000-7,000) and William Blakes’ Illustrations for the Book of Job (estimate: £10,000-15,000), will also be offered. Works by James Abbott McNeill Whistler range in theme from London scenes in Old Westminster Bridge, 1859 (estimate: £2,500-3,500) and mythology with Venus, 1859 (estimate: £5,000-7,000), to Venetian subjects with The Palaces, 1879 (estimate: £10,000-15,000) and The Two Doorways, 1879-80 (estimate: £15,000-20,000). A selection of Decorative prints includes George Stubbs’ A Horse Frightened by a Lion, 1788 (estimate: £3,000-5,000).
Modern Prints on Wednesday 19 September, include the Property of an American Collector which features notable works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. Pablo Picasso’s first print, La Repas Freugal, 1904 (estimate: £50,000-70,000) will be offered, as well as seven important subjects from his Suite Vollard, 1936, ranging in estimate from £10,000 to £50,000. Works by Matisse span his early, lesser known linear etchings of 1906, his woodcuts and include a significant number of lithographs from his famous Odalisque series. The most important subject of the series is his Grand Odalisque à la Culotte Bayadère, 1925 (estimate: £180,000-220,000). an excellent impression which perfectly captures the pervasive beauty and stillness of the model. Fine early lithographs, by Toulouse-Lautrec, range from intimate theatrical scenes, through to cabaret posters. Particularly fresh colours are exemplified in his L’Anglais au Moulin Rouge, 1892 (estimate: £75,000-100,000).
Other important Modern Prints present an excellent array of works, with great depth, by major names. A group of nine unusual early prints by Joan Miro from his Série Noir et Rouge, 1938 range in estimate from £4,000-22,000. Also offered will be one of the largest groups of linocuts, by Picasso, to come to the market in recent years. The 32 prints, which are predominantly artist’s proofs, cover the dominant themes of the artist’s work in the late 1950s; bull fighting, bacanals and bold portraits. Notably, Buste de Femme d’apres Cranach, 1958 (estimate: £80,000-120,000) is Picasso’s first significant linocut, whilst Buste de Femme au Chapeau, 1962 (estimate: £100,000-150,000), is the star of the group, exemplifying unusually fresh, dynamic colours. A select group of Otto Dix’s works include the rare, first trial proof of Kriegskruppel, 1920 (estimate: £35,000-45,000) which is one of the artist’s two most important etchings depicting the ravages of World War I. Also from this Dadaist period are some very early constructivist works in black and white by El Lissitsky. Intended for an edition that was never realised, Proun 1 and Proun 2, 1919-20 (each estimated at: £15,000-20,000) are both rare proofs and unusually each is signed by the artist.
American Post-War prints by Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauchenberg, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol provide an energetic pulse to the latter portion of the sale. Works by Lichtenstein include iconic early pop images such Crying Girl, 1963 (estimate: £20,000-30,000), and mature works including Nude with Blue Hair, 1994 (estimate: £70,000-100,000). A group of six Rauchenbergs feature an x-ray of the artist’s own body, Booster, 1967 (estimate: £30,000-50,000), whilst works by Johns provide the opportunity to own one of his celebrated representations of the Flag, 1969 (estimate: £20,000-30,000), in lead relief. Some of Warhol’s earliest portraits of Elizabeth Taylor, 1964 (estimate: £4,000-6,000); Marilyn Monroe, 1967 (estimate: £40,000-60,000); James Dean, 1985 (estimate: £30,000-50,000); and Mick Jagger, 1975 (estimate: £15,000-20,000) will be offered. A unique trial proof, in gold, of Warhol’s Moon Walk, 1987 (estimate: £40,000-60,000) and a unique colour variant of Eva Mudocci, after Munch, 1984 (estimate: £70,000-100,000), are two of the most unusual works in the sale by Warhol, ‘the king’ of pop art.
Amidst the Contemporary prints, works range from Donald Judd’s minimalist portfolio Untitled, 1988 (estimate:40,000-60,000), to images by Francis Bacon, Peter Doig, Lucian Freud, Damian Hirst, David Hockney, Louise Bourgois and Chinese artist Fang Lijun with works such as No.7, 1996, (estimate: £10,000-15,000), a woodcut in three parts. Lijun utilises a traditional technique and format to create very contemporary scrolls.