By Carter B. Horsley
The afternoon sale of Impressionist and Modern
Art at Sotheby's November 8, 2006, is highlighted by a very fine
landscape by Auguste Herbin (1882-1960), two fine drawings by
Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920), and a good work by Wassily Kandinsky.
Lot 370, "Pont sur l'Oise à Vadencourt,"
shown above, is a fine landscape by Herbin and the catalogue notes
that it is "an iconic example" of his Cubist period.
"It was here," the catalogue entry
maintained, "in this small French village near the border
with Belgium that Herbin painted his famous series of landscapes
that defined his departure from Fauvism and his preferences for
a geometric style. Influenced by both Cézanne's retrospective
exhibition at the 1907 Salon d'Automne and the new style
being developed by Picasso and Braque, Herbin translated the objects
he was painting into cylinders, cones and spheres. He stood out
from his contemporaroies by fusing the bright colors of his Fauvist
landscapes with the more somber palette of browns and dark greens
that characterized early Cbist painting. His inventive and energetic
approach to the Cubist landscape created some of the most dynamic
canvases of his career and garnered him a position as a pioneer
of the synthetic form of Cubism."
The lot was a quite modest estimate of $200,000
to $300,000. It sold for $363,200 including the buyer's premium
as do all results mentioned in this article. The afternoon sale
sold almost two-thirds of the 227 offered lots whereas the morning
sale sold about 73 percent of the 206 offered lots. The sales
total for the morning and afternoon sales was $58,218,400.
Another strong work by Herbin is Lot 384, "Composition
(Grand Vitesse)," an oil on canvas that measures 45 1/3 by
35 inches. The work was painted in 1927 and has a modest estimate
of $120,000 to $180,000. It sold for $204,600.
Lot 430 is a fine gouache on
black paper by Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944). Executed in 1938,
it is entitled, "La Forme Tournée, and measures 19
1/4 by 11 3/4 inches. It has an estimate of $180,000 to $250,000.
It sold for $216,000.
Lot 365 is a very strong pen and brush and
ink over pencil on paper of a "Cariatide" by Amedeo
Modigliani. The work was executed in 1912-1913 and measures 24
1/8 by 18 1/8 inches. Modigliani was fascinated by the sculptures
of female figures that were used as columns in some Greek temples.
This is a very strong drawing and has an estimate of $600,000
to $800,000. It sold for $1,416,000.
Another fine Modigliani drawing is Lot 503,
"Les Mariés," a pencil on paper that measures
16 3/8 by 10 inches. Executed circa 1915, it was once in the collection
of Henry Moore and has a modest estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.
It sold for $180,000.
Lot 363 is a good Fauve riverscape painting
by Emile-Othon Friesz (1879-1949). Executed in 1907, it is an
oil on cradled panel that measures 18 1/8 by 21 5/8 inches. It
was exhibited in 1990 and 1991 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
and the Royal Academy of Art in London. It has a modest estimate
of $300,000 to $400,000. It sold for $329,600.
Lot 403 is an intriguing and interesting abstract
sculpture by Oskar Schlemmer (1888-1949). The nickel-plated bronze
and steel sculpture is 41 3/4 inches high and was conceived in
1921-3 and cast in an edition of 11 in 1961 by Noack, Berlin.
It has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $120,000.
Lot 424, "Sitzend von Vorne mit auf den
Lehnen des Stuhles Aufgestutzten Armen (Seated Woman Resting her
Arms on the Armrests of a Chair," is an impresive pencil
drawing on paper by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918). It was drawn in
1903 and measures 17 1/2 by 12 3/8 inches. It hs a modest estimate
of $90,000 to $120,000. It sold for $273,600.
Another very nice Klimt drawing is Lot 465,
"Kniestuck von Vorne, Den Kopf Nach Rechts (Frontal view
of the Knee, Head turned to the right." The pencil on paper
measures 17 3/4 by 12 1/4 inches and was executed in 1903-4. It
has a modest estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $42,000.
Lot 490 is a quite lyrical pencil drawing on
paper of The Three Graces by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). It measures
12 7/8 by 10 1/8 inches and was drawn in 1931. It was once in
the collection of Sir Kenneth Clark. It has an estimate of $200,000
to $300,000. It sold for $430,400.
The first two lots of the afternoon sale
were drawings by Picasso that failed to sell, but the third lot,
Lot 353, "Tete de femme, Gosol," a pen and ink and blue
crayon on paper that measured 23 7/8 by 17 1/4 inches and which
was executed in 1906 sold for $968,000, way above its high estimate
Lot 444, "Chateau des Oiseaux,"
a white marble sculpture by Jean Arp (1886-1966) that measured
19 5/8 inches high sold for $699,200, way above its high estimate
of $400,000. It was property from the Anna Moffo Sarnoff estate.
Lot 448, "Tete, Oiseau, Etoile,"
by Joan Miro (1893-1983), the cover illustration of the catalogue,
sold for $1,304,000. An oil on canvas, it measured 36 1/8 by 28
1/2 inches and was dated 1976 and had a high estimate of $850,000.
Lot 466, "Jouers des cartes,"
an oil on canvas by Kees Van Dongen (1877-1968), sold for $1,192,000,
almost double its high estimate. It measured 25 3/4 by 19 3/4
inches and was painted circa 1945.