HONG KONG - In November 2014 Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale set a record total of US$422.1 million / HK$3.3 billion, marking the fourth consecutive year as the leading auction house in this field. Prior to Sotheby’s forthcoming Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale to be held in London on 3 February 2015, Sotheby’s is delighted to announce an exhibition of highlights in Hong Kong including Claude Monet’s celebrated view of Venice, Le Grand Canal, Henri Matisse’s exquisite Odalisque au fauteuil noir, one of his finest works to be offered at auction in many years, as well as masterworks by some of greatest artists of the late 19th and 20th centuries, such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Alfred Sisley and Pablo Picasso.
Sotheby’s has been achieving outstanding prices for Surrealist works of art, including many artist records, since its first standalone sale fifteen years ago. The market for Surrealist Art has continued to go from strength to strength and new price records are set every season. This year, Sotheby’s is pleased to announce its Surrealist Art Evening sale which will stand alongside the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale on 3 February, and important highlights including René Magritte’s L’explication and Yves Tanguy’s Deux fois du Noir will also be exhibited in Hong Kong. This exhibition of highlights will be on view at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery, 5th Floor, One Pacific Place, Admiralty from 9 – 12 January 2015 (see p5 for details), prior to Sotheby’s exhibition in New York (21 – 23 January) and then London (28 January – 3 February).
Exhibition Highlights From Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale
Property from an Important Private Collection Claude Monet Le Grand Canal Signed Claude Monet and dated 1908 (lower right) Oil on canvas, 73 x 92 cm Painted in 1908 Estimate: £20,000,000 – 30,000,000 / HK$240,000,000 – 360,000,000
Leading the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale is an exceptionally rare and important view of Venice by Claude Monet, Le Grand Canal of 1908, estimated at £20 – 30 million / HK$240 – 360 million. Reflecting the outstanding quality and beauty of the work, Le Grand Canal was prominently displayed for eight years at The National Gallery, London. Painted during a three-month trip to Venice in 1908, such works depicting Venice are highly sought after by collectors as they represent the peak of Monet’s career.
Property from a Private European Collection Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec Au Lit: Le Baiser Signed H. T. Lautrec (lower right) Peinture à l’essence on board, 39 x 58 cm Painted in 1892 Estimate: £9,000,000 – 12,000,000 / HK$108,000,000 – 144,000,000
Toulouse-Lautrec’s images of the maisons closes are considered to be his greatest accomplishments, and Au lit: le baiser is an especially beautiful and vibrant example of these important works. Painted in 1892, the present work is one of a series of four compositions in which Lautrec depicts a moment of tender intimacy between two women. For the present work Lautrec chose a viewpoint almost unique in his œuvre, and certainly unique among the other works of this group. The two young women are pictured in a loving embrace, with their bodies foreshortened so that all that is visible of them are their intertwined arms and their two closely interlocked faces. The result is a painting of extraordinary intimacy, and among Lautrec’s most psychologically insightful works.
Property from a Distinguished American Collection Henri Matisse Odalisque au fauteuil noir Signed Henri Matisse and dated 1/42 (lower left) Oil on canvas, 38 x 46 cm Painted in 1942 Estimate: £9,000,000 – 12,000,000 / HK$108,000,000 – 144,000,000
An exquisite portrait depicting Princess Nézy-Hamidé Chawkat, the great granddaughter of the last Sultan of Turkey, Odalisque au fauteuil noir is one of Henri Matisse’s finest paintings from his famed ‘Odalisque’ series, with which he created one of the most recognisable emblems of eroticism in Modern art. Princess Nézy had moved to Nice to live with her grandmother after the proclamation of the Turkish Republic and was spotted in the street by Matisse in 1940, who was drawn to her striking dark looks. A dazzling composition of pattern and colour, Odalisque au fauteuil noir reflects Matisse’s interest in Orientalism, which he had first explored in the 1920s and drew on his attraction to the vibrant colours, fabric and patterns that were so evocative of the Orient.
Property from a Distinguished American Collection Claude Monet Antibes vue de la Salis Signed Claude Monet and dated 88 (lower right) Oil on canvas, 65.5 x 91 cm Painted in 1888 Estimate: £5,000,000 – 7,000,000 / HK$60,000,000 – 84,000,000
Monet’s dazzling view of the south coast of France, Antibes vue de la Salis, is one of his most accomplished and brilliantly hued compositions of the 1880s. He was transfixed by the brilliance of the light he found in Antibes and completed four paintings of this view shown at different times of the day, placing a particular emphasis on the tonal contrast between the olive trees in the foreground and this distant shoreline. This painting represents dawn, and is perhaps the most successful juxtaposition of light and shade in the group. The canvases resulting from his trip to Antibes in 1888 are testament to Monet’s masterful reconciliation of his earlier Impressionist manner with the Mediterranean conditions of the South. He was particularly beguiled by what he described as the region’s delicate and tender atmosphere. Antibes vue de la Salis is one of a remarkable series of works unique within Monet’s oeuvre, and the paintings received an enthusiastic reception when they were first exhibited shortly after the artist’s return to Paris.
Exhibition Highlights From Surrealist Art Evening Sale
Property from a Private European Collection René Magritte L’explication Signed Magritte (lower left); titled and dated 1952 on the reverse Oil on canvas, 80 x 60 cm Painted in 1952 Estimate: £4,000,000 – 6,000,000 / HK$48,000,000 – 72,000,000
Painted in 1952, Magritte’s L’explication is among his most compelling engagements with the Surrealist interrogation and transformation of the object. The foreground of the composition is dominated by a striking amalgamation of bottle and carrot that sits on a solid wooden table surrounded by examples of its constituent parts, through which Magritte explores the idea that the combination of two related objects could create a poetic dynamic just as intense as the combination of two completely incongruous objects. L’explication is the largest of four variations of this subject.
Property from an Important Private European Collection Yves Tanguy Deux fois du noir Signed Yves Tanguy and dated 41 (lower right) Oil on canvas, 53.5 x 74 cm Painted in 1941 Estimate: £2,000,000 – 3,000,000 / HK$24,000,000 – 36,000,000
Deux fois du noir exemplifies the refined and personal language with which Tanguy transformed the boundaries of Modernist painting. Tanguy was invited by André Breton to become a member of the Surrealist group in 1925 and two years later he was a highly accomplished painter in complete command of a new and personal Surrealist language. Tanguy's pictorial forms are unique in the canon of Surrealist art, amorphous yet somehow recognisable to the viewer. With a refined sense of mystery, Tanguy presents in Deux fois du noir a brilliant hyper-reality that embodies the aims of the Surrealist movement.