By Carter B. Horsley
This day auction of Impressionist and Modern
Art at Sotheby's November 5, 2004 is something of a let-down after
the previous night's evening auction that was filled with numerous
blockbusters, but it does offer several fine sculptures and some
smaller choice paintings.
The loveliest offering is Lot 114, "Tete
de Femme," a fine small drawing by Edgar Degas (1834-1917).
A pencil on paper that measures 9 1/8 by 7 inches, it is stamped
with the Atelier stamp and was once with Wildenstein & Co.
It has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It sold for $84,000
including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this
Another small but charming
work is Lot 217, "Mateo F. De Soto," a pastel and charcoal
on paper by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). It measures 16 1/8 by 9
7/8 inches and was executed circa 1899-1900. The catogue entry
notes that "The present work is a haunting depiction of Mateu
Fernandez de Soto, with the sculptor cloaked in black, juxtaposed
against a hazy background," adding that "Rather than
a simple caricature, de Soto is shrouded in an air of mystery,
perhaps providing a glimpse into what drew Picasso to this character."
It has an estimate of $280,000 to $350,000. It sold for $372,000.
Another good study is Lot 158,
"Femme Enlevant Sa Chemise," by Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec
(1864-1901). An oil on board depicting a nude woman removing her
shirt, it measures 26 3/8 by 17 inches and was executed in 1896.
It has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. It failed to sell.
Another nude is Lot 164, "La
Sieste," by Henri Lebasque (1865-1937). An oil on canvas
that measures 35 by 45 5/8 inches, it has an estimate of $300,000
to $400,000. It sold for $114,000. "Monumental in
scale and subject matter," the catalogue noted, "the
present work highlights Lebasque's fascination with both the portrayal
of the female nude and her rich adjoining ornamentation, showing
delight in depicting luxuriant fabrics and color."
Lot 185, "Le Petite Dejeuner Aux Pavillons,"
is a fine oil on board by Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940). It measures
22 3/4 by 30 1/2 inches and was executed in 1910. The catalogue
notes that it was painted at a villa in Cricqueboeuf, Normandy
where the artist stayed along with his family and the family of
Joe Hessel, a prominent art dealer. The catalogue entry describes
the work as "a prime example of Vuillard's mature style,"
adding that "Even though it is painted in a more conservative
manner, the artist succeeded in retaining many of the characteristics
of his work from his celebrated Nabis period. Earlier in
his career the decorative flatness of his compositions had given
a formal unit to the wide variety of highly patterned surfaces
that competed for attention." It has an estimate of $400,000
to $600,000. It sold for $489,600.
Lot 313 is a good work by Wassily Kandinsky
(1866-1944) entitled "Ohne Titel." A gouache heightened
with white on black paper laid down on card, it measures 12 5/8
by 19 1/2 inches and has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.
It sold for $209,600.
The auction has several fine
sculptures by Jean Arp (1886-1966) from the Estate of Sarabel
Florsheim. Lot 208, "La Dame de Delos," is a particularly
voluptuous white marble sculpture that is 14 1/2 inches high.
It was executed in 1959 and has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.
It sold for $220,800.
Lot 207, another fine Arp from
the Florsheim collection, is entitled "Coquille Crystal."
The polished bronze is 12 5/8 inches high and was conceived in
1938 and cast in an edition of thre of which this is the second
probably in 1956 or earlier. It has an estimate of $60,000 to
$80,000. It sold for $51,000.
Another consignment from the
Florsheim estate is Lot 198, "La Parisienne," a superb
bronze sculpture by Max Ernst (1891-1976) that is 31 inches high.
Conceived in 1950, it was cast in 1959-60 in an edition of 9 plus
one cast numbered 0/9 and four lettered H.C. It has an estimate
of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold for $355,200.
Lot 278 is a striking 40-inch-high
bronze by Henry Moore entitled "Two Three-Quarter Figures
on Base." It was cast in an edition of 9 in 1984 and this
is number 2/9. It has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It
sold for $512,000.