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Masterworks
The Collection of A. Alfred Taubman

Sotheby's New York

7 PM, November 4, 2015

Sale 9430

Matisse

Lot 42, "Mlle. Matisse en Manteau Ecossais," by Henri Matisse, oil on canvas, 29 by 21 3/8 inches, 1918

By Carter B. Horsley

The opening major auction of the fall season at Sotheby's New York is "Masterworks: The Collection of A. Alfred Taubman," the shopping center magnate who became the former chairman of Sotheby's and died April 17, 2015.

There are 77 lots in the auction, which is the first of several this season devoted to his collection and it is far and away the most impressive with very major works by Matisse, Toulouse-Lautrec, Rothko, Picasso, Bacon, Still, de Kooning, Kline and Munch.
 Mr. Taubman established the Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions at Brown University in 1984 and the A. Alfred Taubman School of Architecture and Urban Planning and the A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building at the University of Michigan in 1999 and 2011, respectively.

In an essay in the catalogue, Leslie Wexner, the head of The Limited stores, recalled received a call from Mr. Taubman in 1983 asking him if he wanted to join him in buying Sotheby's.  He did and later he got a package from Mr. Taubman, a large painting by Kenneth Noland that Mr. Taubman said he should hang in his office, which he did.  He asked Mr. Taubman why and was told "because in the future I want you to have something  to remember me by.  You are my friend."

Mr. Wexner observed that Mr. Taubman loved "works of art that were challenging."  That is certainly accurate based on many of the works in this auction, but there are also some works that are just wonderful such as Lot 42, "Mlle. Matisse en Manteau Ecossais."  The oil on canvas, which measures 29 by 21 3/8 inches, was painted by Henri Matisse (1869-1954) in 1918 and was acquired by Mr. Taubman in 1986 from Henry Ford II, a fellow Detroiter.  A portrait of the artist's daughter, it has been exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid and the Center National d'art and de culture Georges Pompidou in Paris.  It has a very modest estimate of $12,000,000 to $18,000,000.  It sold for $13,690,000 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

An article in the November 4, 2015 edition of The Wall Street Journal by Kelly Crow said that Mr. Taubman's three sons by his first wife asked both Sotheby's and Christie's to compete for the consignment and that Sotheby's eventually won it when if offered to "guarantee the estate for slightly over $500 million, the auction house's largest offer ever."

The sale total was $377,034,000 and was 89.6 percent sold by lot.  The pre-sale low estimate was $374,800,000 and the pre-sale high estimate was $536,500,000.

The auction was very lavish with a pre-sale buffet with a selection of very good wines and all the staff in "black tie."


Lautrec

Lot 68, "La Clownesse Cha-u-Kao," by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, peinture l'essence on board, 31 7/8  by 23 1/2 inches, 1895

Another sketchy but very fine portrait of a female important to the artist is Lot 68, "La Clownesse Cha-u-Kao" by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901).  A peinture l'essence [diluted oil paint used to create the feathery appearance of pastel] on board, it measures 31 7/8 by 23 1/2 inches and was painted in 1895.  It  was acquired in 1985 at Sotheby's from the estate of FlorenceJ. Gould of Cannes.  It has been very widely exhibited at 10 major art museums.  It has a very modest estimate of $12,000,000 to $18,000,000.  It sold for $12,010,000.

Seated woman by Picasso

Lot 24, 'Femme Assise Sur Une Chaise," by Pablo Picasso, oil on canvas, 49 by 34 1/4 inches, 1938

Lot 24 is a large oil on canvas by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) of Dora Maar in a chair.  It measures 49 by 34 1/4 inches and was painted in 1938.  Mr. Taubman acquired it at Sotheby's in London December 7, 1999 where it had been consiged by Gianni Versace.  A somewhat more detailed version sold at Sotheby's New York May 3, 2006 for $95,216,000.  This lot has an estiimate of $25,000,000 to $35,000,000. It sold for $20,074,000.


Woman with stripes by Picasso

Lot 47, "Portrait de femme," by Pablo Picasso, oil on canvas, 29 by 23 3/4 inches, 1937

Another Picasso is Lot 47, "Portrait de femme," an oil on canvas that measures 29 by 23 3/4 inches.  It was painted in 1937.  It was acquired by Mr. Taubman at Sotheby's in London, June 23, 2014.  It is one of a series of portraits in which he placed the figure in front of a striped background.  The figure here is Marie-Thrse.  It has an estimate of $8,000,000 to $12,000,000.  It sold for $8,650,000.

Bacon


Lot 45, "Man with Arm Raised," by Francis Bacon, oil on canvas, 40 by 25 inches, 1960

Lot 45, "Man with Arm Raised," is a strong oil on canvas by Francis Bacon (1909-1992).  It measures 40 by 25 inches and was painted in 1960.
 

The catalogue entry provides the following commentary:

"With significant transitional paintings like Man with Arm Raised, Bacon's subjects burst into movement.  Here we see the beginnings of Bacon's twisted, mobile figures: the attenuated arm extends and bends around the door frame as an anatomically unrealistic appendage, while the thick impastoed surface of his face suggests captured motion."

It has an estimate of $8,000,000 to $12,000,000.  It sold for $10,330,000.


Bacon 2 men

Lot 70, Two Studies for Portrait of Clive Barker," by Francis Bacon, oil on canvas, each of the two parts 14 by 12 inches, 1978

Lot 70, "Two Studies for Portrait of Clive Barker," is another Bacon.  Each of the two parts is an oil on canvas that measures 14 by 12 inches.  They were painted in 1978.  The lot has an estimate of $4,000,000 to $6,000,000. It sold for $4,842,000.

De Kooning

Lot 15, "Untitled XXI," by Willem de Kooning, oil on canvas, 80 by 70 inches, 1976


Lot 15 is a major oil on canvas by Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) that is entitled "Untitled XXI."  It measures 80 by 70 inches and was painted in 1976.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"With the unparalleled Untitled XXI of 1976, the artist reached his formal climax in the clear brilliance of the painting's electric color palette and the ripe opulence of his brushwork.  Through each visceral swathe, smear, drip and flow, the artist here asserts his total mastery of his medium."

The lot has an estimate of $25,000,000 to $35,000,000.
 It sold for $24,890,000.


Styll


Lot 41k, "PH-218," by Clyfford Still, oil on canvas, 63 by 40 inches, 1947

Lot 41 is a strong and fine oil on canvas by Clyfford Still (1904-1980).  It is entitled "PH-218" and it mesaures 63 by 40 inches.  It was painted in 1947.

The catalogue entry provides the following commentary:

"PH-218 is a masterful realization of Still's distinctive vision, presenting its viewer with a glimpse into the depths of the artist's innovative aesthetic and existing as a true measure of his irrefutable artistic magnitude.  Still was a towering figure of unwavering commitment to creative originality and aesthetic freedom.  At the forefront of American Abstract Expressionism, Still's role cnannot be overstated as one examines the impact of his paintings when first seen in the New Yorik art world in 1946, just one year before he painted PH-218....PH-218 is a critical early touchstone of Still's practice and was exhibited in two of his first major solo museum exhibitions, at the Albright Art Gallery in Bufffalo in 1959 and at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia in 1963.  Still's masterful paint applications are on full display in the seemingly aspontaneous, yet utterly cohevisve, abstract forms that stride across the surrface of the present work."

The lot  has a modest estimate of $10,000,000 to $15,000,000.
It sold for $14,810,000.


Kline

Lot 19, "Elizabeth," by Franz Kline, oil on canvas, 67 by 72 inches, 1958

Lot 19 is an excellent oil on canvas by Franz Kline (1910-1962) entitled "Elizabeth."  It measures 67 by 72 inches and was painted in 1958.  It was once owned by Vincent Scully, the architectural historian, and Mr. Taubman brought it from the Newspace Gallery in Los Angles in 1977.  

The catalogue entry provides the following commentary:

"A stunning portrait of intimacy, Elizabeth is named for Kline's wife, the ballet dancer Elizabeth Parsons, who, like the famous Russian dancer, Nijinksky, suffered from schizophrenia.  As such the painting is exemplary of the rich connotations inherent in the artist's most renowned works, all roooted in the plasticity of the paint and the purity of his unadulterated coloristic counterpoints in conjunction with absolute subjectivity and personal experience....Here the kinetic gestures of Kline's brush evoke a figures's movement in space.."

The lot has a very modest estimate of $4,000,000 to $6,000,000. It sold for $4,842,000.

Rothko 1

Lot 33, "Untitled (Lavender and Green)," by Mark Rothko, oil on canvas, 67 5/8 by 44 1/2 inches, 1952

Lot 33 is a sublime oil on canvas by Mark Rothko (1903-1970) entitled "Untitled (Lavender and Green)."  It measures 67 5/8 by 44 1/2 inches.  It was painted in 1952.   Mr. Taubman acquired it in 1978.  The catalogue entry maintains that in its "equipose, radiant intensity and extraordinary colorism," the painting is "a superb statement of Rothko's inimitable idiom at its most assured."  The lost has a modest estimate of $20,000,000 to $30,000,000. It sold for 20,410,000.



Smith

Lot 34, "Four Soldiers," by David Smith, steel, 25 by 58 1/4 by 12 3/4 inches, 1950-1

Lot 34 is a fine steel sculpture by David Smith (1906-1965) entitled "Four Soldiers."  It measures 25 by 58 1/4 by 12 3/4 inches.  It was created in 1950-1.  Mr. Taubman acquired it in 1981 at Christie's New York from a descendant of Hon. Mrs. Michael Astor of London.  It has been widely published.  It has a modest estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.  It sold for $2,290,000.

Munch landscape

Lot 72, "Kragberg in Spring," by Edvard Munch, oil on canvas, 38 3/4 by 37 1/2 inches, 1929

Lot 72 is a very fine landscape by Edvard Munch (1863-1944) entitled "Kragberg in Spring."  An oil on canvas, it measures 38 3/4 by 37 1/2 inches.  It was painted in 1929.  It was acquired by Mr. Taubman at Sotheby's in London in 2012.  It has a very modest estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. It sold for $1,330,000.


Munch 2

Lot 63, "Ployemark (Ploughed Field)," by Edvard Munch, oil on canvas, 26 3/8 by 35 5/8 inches, 1916

Another Munch oil on canvas is Lot 63, "Ployemark (Ploughed Field)."  It measures 26 3/8 by 35 5/8 inches and was painted in 1916.  It was acquired by Mr. Taubman at Sotheby's in London in 2007.  It has a modest estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. It sold for $1,990,000.


Nolde

Lot 16,"Evening Autumn Sea," by Emil Nolde, oil on canvas, 27 by 34 3/4 inches, 1951

Lot 16 is a large Turnesque oil on canvas by Emil Nolde (1867-1956) entitled "Evening Autumn Sea."  It measures 27 by 34 3/4 inches and was painted in 1951.  It has a modest estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,000,000.  It sold for $2,170,000.



Johns


Lot 65, "Disappearance I," by Jasper Johns, encaustic and canvas collage on canvas, 40 inches square, 1960

Lot 65 is a 40-inch-square encaustic and canvas collage on canvas by Jasper Johns (b. 1930) entitled "Disappearance I."  It was painted in 1960.  It has an estimate of $15,000,000 to $20,000,000. It was passed at $10,500,000.


Pollock

Lot 38, "Black and White Painting III," by Jackson Pollock, enamel on canvas, 56 1/4 by 49 inches, circa 1951

Lot 38 is an enamel on canvas by Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) that is entitled "Black and White Painting III."  It measures 56 1/4 by 49 inches.  It was painted circa 1951.  It has an estimate of $5,000,000 to $7,000,000.  It sold for $5,178,000.


Balla 1

Lot 18, "Studio per 'Mercurio che passa davanti al sole visto dal cannocchiale.'" by Giacomo Balla, gouache on paper, 32 by 24 inches, 1914

Lot 18 is a very vibrant and fine study for a large work by Giacomo Balla (1871-1958) entitled "Studio per 'Mercurio che passa davanti al sole visto dal cannoncchiale" that is the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and another in the Museum Moderner Kunst, Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna.  This work is a gouache on paper that measures 32 by 24 inches and was painted in 1914.  It has a modest estimate of $2,500,000 to $3,500,000.  It  sold for $1,690,000.

Balla 2

Lot 40, "Folla + Paesaggio (Crowd + Landscape)," by Giacomo Balla, collage of painted papers amd tissue paper mounted on canvas, laid down on board, 60 by 26 1/4 inches, 1915

Lot 40 is an impressive Futurist work by Balla entitled "Crowd + Landscape,"  A collage of painted papers and tissue paper mounted on canvas and laid down on board, it measures 60 by 26 1/4 inches.  It was created in 1915.  It has been widely exhibited and published.  It has a modest estimate of $2,500,000 to $3,500,000. It was passed at $1,400,000.


Feininger

Lot 61, "Study, On  the Cliffs (early attempt at Cubist form)," by Lyonel Feininger, oil on canvas, 18 by 23 3/4 inches, 1912

Lot 61 is a very good oil on canvas by Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956) entitled "Study, On the Cliffs (early attempt at Cubist Form)."  It measures 18 by 23 3/4 inches and was created in 1912.  It has been widely exhibited.  It has a modest estimate of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000. It sold for $1,090,000.

Miro

Lot 37, "La Porte (objet)," by Joan Mir, painted wood, metals, turkey feathers and other found objects, 36 1/2 by 23 1/2 inches, 1931

Lot 37 is a large collage of found objects, turkey feathers, metals and painted wood by Joan Mir (1893-1983).  It is entitled "La Porte (objet)" and it measures 36 1/2 by 23 1/2 inches.  It was created in 1931.  It has been exhibited three times at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and widely published.  It has an estimate of $15,000,000 to $20,000,000.  It sold for $13,410,000.


O'Keeffee

Lot 11, "Pink and Green (Pink Pastelle)," by Georgia O'Keeffe, pastel on linen, 16 by 14 inches, 1922

Lot 11 is a pleasant plastel on linen by Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) entitled "Pink and Green (Pink Pastelle)."  It measures 16 by 12 inches and was painted in 1922.  It has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum in 1927 and the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2009-2010.  It has an estimate of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000.  It sold for $2,530,000.


Homer

Lot 27, "In Charge of Baby," by Winslow Homer, watercolor on paper, 8 1/2 by 13 1/2 inches, 1873

Lot 27 is a good watercolor on paper by Winslow Homer (1836-1910) entitled "In Charge of Baby."  It measures 8 1/2 by 13 1/2 inches.  It was painted in 1873.  It has been widely exhibited and published.  It has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.  It sold for $2,650,000.


See The City Review article on the Spring 2015 Looking Forward to the Past auction at Christie's New York
See The City Review article on the Fall 2014 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's New York
See The City Review article on the Spring 2014 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's New York

See The City Review article on the Spring 2014 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Christie's New York
See The City Review article on the Fall 2013 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's New York
See The City Review article on the Spring 2013 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Christie's New York
See The City Review article on the Spring 2013 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's New York

See The City Review article on the Fall 2012 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's New York
See The City Review article on the Fall 2012 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Sotheby's New York
See The City Review article on the Spring 2012 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2012 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2011 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2011 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2011 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2011 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2010 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2010 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2010 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2010 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2009 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2009 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2009 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2009 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2008 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2008 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's

See The City Review article on the Spring 2008 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2008 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2007 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2007 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2007 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2006 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2006 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2006 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2005 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's November 2, 2005
See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern evening sale at Sotheby's in the Spring, 2005
See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction in the Fall, November, 2005
See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Sotheby's November 5, 2004
See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's May 4, 2004
See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Christie's May 5, 2004
See The City Review article on the May 5, 2004 evening auction at Sotheby's of Property of the Greentree Foundation from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney
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See The City Review article on the Fall 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Fall 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on Spring 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2003 Impressionist & Modern Art Part 2 day auction at Sotheby's
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See The City Review article on the Fall 2002 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg
See The City Review article on the Spring 2002 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2002 Impressionist Art evening auction at Sotheby's
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See The City Review article on the Nov. 5, 2001 auction of the Smooke Collection at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg
See The City Review article on the Nov. 5, 2001 auction of the Hoener Collection at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg
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See The City Review article on Phillips Fall 2000 Impressionist & Modern Art auction
See The City Review article on the Christie's evening sale of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art May 8, 2000
See The City Review article on the Christie's evening sale of Twentieth Century Art May 9, 2000


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