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Impressionist & Modern Art
Christie's New York

7 PM, May 15, 2017

Sale 14183

Brancusi bronze


Lot 32, "La muse endorme," by Constantin Brancusi, patinated bronxe with gold leaf, 10 1/2 inches long, original marble version carved in 1909-10 and this bronze was cast by 1913

By Carter B. Horsley

The evening auction of Impressionist & Modern Art May 15, 2017 at Christie's New York is highlighted by a fine bronze head by Brancusi, two good oils each by Picasso, Monet, and Chagall, and an excellent landscape by Cézanne, and strong paintings by Klee, Signac, Kandinsky, Gauguin, and Moholy-Nagy.

Lot 32 is a bronze ovoid head of a woman by Constantin Brancusi (1867-1957) that is patinated with gold leaf and 10 1/2 inches long.  The original marble version was carved in 1909-1910 and this bronze was cast by 1913.
  The catalogue entry notes that Brancusi once said that "With this form, I could move the universe."  "At a time when cubism, all fragmentation and disfiguration was on the ascendant," the entry continued, "Brancusi forged his own intensely personal modernist path, his and his alone, turning to the elemental, immutable form of the primal egg as his initial inspiraton and master key."

Brancusi 2

Detail of Lot 32

"Brancusi," the entry continued, ""first carved La Muse Endormie in white marble in 1909-1910 (Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.) and over the course of 1910 created three plasters and six bronze versions of the radiant, abstracted head.  The present sculpture is one of only two bronzes from this sequence still in private hands.  The Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York each have one, and the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris houses the remaining pair."

"Together with Duchamp and Matisse, Brancusi received more attention in the press than any other artist in the [1913] Armory Show [in New York]....Picasso and the cubists were largely eclipsed," the entry noted.

The lot has an estimate of $20,000,000 to $30,000,000.  It sold for $57,367,500 to Tobias Meyer, the private art dealer who was recently the chief auctioneer at Sotheby's, including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

The sale total was $289,200,000, substantially above the pre-sale estimate of $200,000,000 and far in excess of last May's total of $141,500,000.

Picasso 12

  Lot 12, "Femme assisse, robe bleue," by Pablo Picasso, oil on canvas, 28 3/4 by 23 5/8 inches, 1939

Lot 12, "Femme assisse, robe bleue," an oil on canvas portrait of Dora Maar by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) is the cover illustration of the lavish auction catalogue.  It measures 28 3/4 by 23 5/8 inches and was painted in 1939.  It had been owned by Paul Rosenberg & Co., of Paris until it was confiscated by the Nazis and was intended for transfer by train to Moravia when it was seized by the French Resistance, the subject of a movie starring Burt Lancaster called "The Train."  It was reconstituted to Rosenberg and then acquired by G. David Thompson and then others.  It has an estimate of $35,000,000 to $50,000,000.  It sold for $45,047,500.


Picasso femme 7

Lot 7, "Femme assisse dans un fauteil," by Pablo Picasso, oil on canvas, 51 1/4 by 35 inches, 1917-1920

Lot 7 is a much more attractive portrait of an earlier mistress of Picasso, Olga Khokhlova.  Entitled "Femme assisse dans un fauteil," it is an oil on canvas that measures 51 1/4 by 35 inches and was painted in 1917-20.  It has an estimate of $20,000,000 to $30,000,000.  It sold for $30,487,500.


Cezanne 19

Lot 19, "La côte Saint-Denis à Pointoise," by Paul Cézanne, oil on canvas, 25 3/4 by 21 3/8 inches, circa 1877

Lot 19 is an excellent landscape by Paul Cézanne entitled "La côte Saint-Denis à Pointoise," an oil on canvas that measures 25 3/4 by 21 3/8 inches.  It was painted circa 1877.  It is almost a perfect Cézanne except that the lower left corner is rather unresolved.  It was acquired by Hunt and Jeanne Henderson of New Orleans in 1928 and had been widely published.  It has a modest estimate of $5,000,000 to $7,000,000.  It sold for $8,647,500.

Monet snow  20

Lot 20, La route de Vétheuil, effet de neige," by Claude Monet, oil on canvas, 24 1/8 by 32 1/8 inches, 1879

Another very fine painting from the Henderson collection is Lot 20, "La route de Vétheuil, effet de neige," an oil on canvas by Claude Monet (1840-1926).  It measures 24 1/8 by 32 1/8 inches and was painted in 1879.  It has been widely exhibited and published.  It was one of five paintings by Monet that was included in the famous Armory Show in New York in 1913.  It has an estimate of $10,000,000 to $15,000,000.  It sold for $11,447,500.

Monet green 21

Lot 21, "Printemps à Giverny, effet d'apres-midi," by Claude Monet, oil on canvas, 23 3/4 by 32 1/8 inches, 1885


Another Henderson Monet is Lot 21, "Printemps à Giverny, effet d'apres-midi," an oil on canvas that measures 23 3/4 by 32 1/8 inches.  It was painted in 1885 and has been widely published.  It has an estimate of $4,000,000 to $6,000,000.  It sold for $4,167,500.


Gauguin 22

Lot 22, "Bretonne et oie au bord de l'eau," by Paul Gauguin, oil on canvas, 9 7/8 by 15 1/2 inches, 1888

Another Hendrickson jewel is Lot 22, "Bretonne et oie au bord de l'eau," an oil on canvas by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903).  It measures 9 7/8 by 15 1/2 inches and was painted in 1888. 

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"This painting is deeply mysterious, while defying ready interpretation, in terms of form as well as content.  Gauguin's structuring of flattened, horizon-less space is intentionally ambiguous and dreamlike....Most marvelous of all is the mesmerizing, virtually ecstatic, chromatic intensity of the colors Gauguin chose to render his conception."

The lot has a modest estimate of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000.  It sold for $4.951,500.


Signac 39

Lot 39, "Le Musoir (Port d'Antibes)," by Paul Signac, oil on canvas, 23 5/8 by 28 3/4 inches, 1918


Lot 39 is a very good oil on canvas by Paul Signac (1863-1935).  Entitled "Le Musoir (Port d'Antibes)," it measures 23 5/8 by 28 3/4 inches and was painted in 1918.  It has an estimate of $2,500,000 to $3,500,000.  It sold for $3,943.500.

Kandinsky

Lot 29, "Oben und links," by Wasssily Kandinsky, oil on board, 27 1/2 by 19 5/8 inches, 1925

Lot 29 is a very strong and fine abstract oil on board by Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) that is entitled "Oben und links."  It measures 27 1/2 by 19 5/8 inches and was painted in 1925.  It was acquired in 1936 from the artist by Solomon R. Guggenheim and has been very widely exhibited.  It has an estimate of $5.000,000 to $7,000,000.  It sold for $8,311,500.


Chagall head

Lot 11, "Le buveur ou l'Absinthe ou Etude pour 'Le Saoul," by Marc Chagall, gouache and pen and india ink on paper laid down down board, 18 by 22 5/8 inches, circa 1923

Lot 11 is a very handsome work by Marc Chagall entitled "Le buveur ou l'Absinthe ou Etude pour 'Le Saoul."  It is a gouache and pen and india ink on paper laid down on board that measuyres 18 by 22 5/8 inches.  It was painted circa 1923.

The catalogue entry provides the following commentary:

"painted in 1923-1924, the work is a new version of a major composition that Chagall initially created in oil twelve years before....Within a faceted, cubist-inspired space transformed through violent color contrasts, Chagall presents a scene of stressed oppositions and unsettling incongruities."

The work has a very modest estimate of $700,000 to $1,000,000.  It sold for $1,327,500.


Large Chagall

Lot 6, ""Les trois cierges," by Marc Chagall, oil on canvas, 51 1/4 by 38 1/4 inches, 1939

A larger Chagall is Lot 6, "Les trois cierges," a 1939 oil on canvas that measures 51 1/4 by 38 1/4 inches. It is property of the Cleveland Clinic and was donated by Mrs. Sydell Miller.  It has been widely published and exhibited.  It has an estimate of $8,000,000 to $12,000,000.  It sold for $14,583,500.

Leger 18

  Lot 18, "Nature morte aux élements mecaniques," by Fernand Leger, oil on canvas, 27 5/8 by 19 3/4 inches, 1918

Lot 18 is an excellent abstraction by Fernand Leger (1881-1955) entitled "Nature morte aux élements mecaniques."  An oil on canvas, it measures 27 5/8 by 19 3/4 inches and was painted in 1918.  It once belonged to Alexander Calder.  It has an estimate of $10,000,000 to $15,000,000.  It sold for $11,447,500.



Jawlensky  25

Lot 25,  "Das blasse Madchen mit grauen Zophfen," by Alexej von Jawlensky, oil over pencil on linen-finish paper laid down on masonite, 25 by 19 1/2 inches, circa 1916

Lot 25 is an attractive portrait by Alexej von Jawlensky (1864-1941) entitled "Das blasse Madchen mit grauen Zophfen."  It is an oil over pencil on linen-finish paper laid down on masonite and measures 25 by19 1/2 inches.  It was painted circa 1916.  It is property of the collection of Greta Garbo.  It has an estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000.  It sold for $1,807,500.


Laszlo

Lot 4, "CH 14B Variation of a RH picture," by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, oil on canvas, 30 1/8 by 38 inches, 1940

Lot 4 is an excellent abstraction by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) that is entitled "CH 14B Variation of a RH picture."  An oil on canvas, it measures 30 1/8 by 38 inches and was painted in 1940.  It was included in last year's major exhibition on the artist at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. It has an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,500,000.  It failed to sell.

Moore rocking chair 3

Lot 3, "Rocking Chair No. 1," by Henry Moore, bronze, 12 1/2 inches high, 1950


Lot 3 is a pleasant bronze of a mother and child in a rocking chair by Henry Moore (1898-1986).  It  is 12 1/2 inches high and was created in 1950.  There are three other examples.  It has an $800,000 to $1,200,000.  It sold for $2,167,500.


See The City Review article on the Fall 2016 evening auction of Impressionist & Modern Art at Sotheby's New York
See The City Review article on the Fall 2016 day auction of Impressionist & Modern Art at Sotheby's New York
See The City Review article on the Fall 2016 auction of Impressionist & Modern Art at Christie's New York
See The City Review article on the Spring 2016 auction at Sotheby's New York of Impressionist & Modern Art

See The City Review article on the Spring 2016 auction at Christie's New York of Impressionist & Modern Art
See The City Review article on the Fall 2015 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Christie's New York
See The City Review article of the Fall 2015 Impressionist and Modern Art auction at Christie's New York
See The City Review article on the Fall 2015 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Sotheby's New York
See The City Review article on the Fall 2015 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's New York

See The City Review article on the Fall 2015 "Masterworks: the Collection of A. Alfred Taubman" auction at Sotheby's New York
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
See The City Review article on the Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's May 6, 2004
See The City Review article on the Spring 2004 Impressionist & Modern Art day auction at Sotheby's
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
See The City Review article on the Fall 2002 Impressionist & Modern Art evening auction at Sotheby's
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
See The City Review article on the Spring 2002 Impressionist Art Part Two day auction at Sotheby's
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
See The City Review article on Phillips May 7, 2001 Impressionist & Modern Art auction
See The City Review article on the November 9, 2001 Impressionist & Modern Art auction at Sotheby's
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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