A Collection of Impressionist Paintings Will Go Under the Hammer With Sotheby’s

Shreeya Maskey
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The upcoming Impressionist & Modern Art Evening sale, presented by Sotheby’s, highlights four important Impressionist paintings. Held on May 12th, 2021 starting at 8:30 PM EDT, the sale will include two rare pieces from Claude Monet, a still-life work from Paul Cézanne, and an oil painting by Edgar Degas.

The total presale estimate for these pieces, which come from a single private collection, ranges from USD 44 million to $64 million. “These are rare, fresh-to-the-market Impressionist masterpieces,” Thomas Danziger, an attorney and art law specialist who worked with the estate representatives, told Artnet.

Paul Cézanne, Nature morte: pommes et poires. Image from Sotheby’s.
Paul Cézanne, Nature morte: pommes et poires. Image from Sotheby’s.

The evening sale will offer work from Paul Cézanne, one of the most celebrated artists in the world of Modernism. Cézanne’s oil on canvas piece titled Nature morte: pommes et poires is coming to auction with an estimate of $25 million to $35 million. Basing his work on emotion, the artist employed a broken brushwork technique— a series of meticulous marks that work together to produce geometric forms.

Created around 1888, this still life painting shows the artist’s use of somber colors to add dimension. It depicts a pear placed on a white ceramic plate surrounded by individually positioned apples and pears. It is the only piece from the series still in private hands. The painting last appeared on the market in November of 2003, when it sold for $8.7 million at Sotheby’s.

Claude Monet, Le Bassin aux nymphéas. Image from Sotheby’s.
Claude Monet, Le Bassin aux nymphéas. Image from Sotheby’s.

Another standout piece in the upcoming Sotheby’s event is French painter Claude Monet’s Le Bassin aux nymphéas. In the early 1870s, Monet began experimenting with the decorative qualities of color, light and form. He used these elements to create a distinct style. This would eventually go on to define the Impressionist movement. 

Painted around 1917, the available piece can be characterized by short brush strokes and a contrasting palette. The painting’s estimate ranges from $40 million to $60 million.

Edgar Degas, Danseuse. Image from Sotheby’s.
Edgar Degas, Danseuse. Image from Sotheby’s.

“People call me the painter of dancing girls,” Edgar Degas said to Paris art dealer Ambroise Vollard. “It has never occurred to them that my chief interest in dancers lies in rendering movement and painting pretty clothes.” Degas painted hundreds of canvases in an attempt to capture the lives of 19th-century dancers.

Edgar DegasDanseuse painting is another key lot available with Sotheby’s. Carrying an estimate of $10 million to $15 million, the work depicts a single ballerina dancing with grace. The Impressionist painting belonged to the Museum of Fine Arts for over 70 years. It was then deaccessioned and sold with Sotheby’s in May of 2003 for $10.6 million.
Impressionist paintings from many other leading artists will be available with Sotheby’s at 8:30 PM EDT on May 12th, 2021. Interested collectors can learn more about other fine art events on Auction Daily, including the recent 50th-anniversary sale from Sotheby’s Photographs.

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