Artcurial announces highlights included in the Modern & Contemporary Art auction in Paris

Art Daily
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Chaïm Soutine, Les Figuiers, Céret © Artcurial.
Chaïm Soutine, Les Figuiers, Céret © Artcurial.

PARIS.- Important works by major 20th century artists will be presented by Artcurial in the prestigious sales of Impressionist & Modern Art and Post-War & Contemporary Art, to be held on the evening of Wednesday 8 July and the afternoon of Thursday 9 July.

The Modern Art section boasts several French and European collections with highlights including an expressionist masterpiece by Chaïm Soutine, a selection of paintings by Edouard Vuillard, a large composition by Henri Lebasque and an image of a young girl surrounded by roses by Auguste Renoir. Some remarkable works on paper by Marc Chagall and Raoul Dufy are presented alongside watercolours and pastel drawings from various collections. The post-impressionist period is well represented by Henri Martin with his Vue de Collioure as well as Henri Moret’s Brittany landscapes. The sculptures on offer feature a rare example of Implorante by Camille Claudel cast by Blot, linking to work by Auguste Rodin. Another notable lot is a rare self-portrait with figures by the Belgian artist James Ensor, rediscovered after 70 years in the same family ownership.

The Post-War and Contemporary Art section features the monumental work by Alexander Calder, with a large-scale and highly original stabile, created in 1963 and 3.5 metres high. This is the first time a stabile of this magnitude has appeared at auction in France. A highlight of the contemporary paintings on offer will be a masterpiece by Pierre Soulages, Peinture 130 x 81 cm, 27 janvier 1981, characteristic of his unique exploration of « outrenoir » (ultra-black). Also starring will be a triptych by the Spanish artist Antoni Tàpies as well as a group of eight works by the Franco-Hungarian artist Simon Hantaï, known for his « pliage » technique of folding canvases.

Impressionist & Modern Art
The Impressionist & Modern Art sale will present an important landscape of Céret by the Russian artist Chaïm Soutine. The bold expressive style of this major piece prefigures the work of American abstract expressionists such as De Kooning, a connection explored in an exhibition at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris this autumn. The village of Céret has attracted the attention of many artists, among them, Picasso and Braque, who stayed there from 1911, joined by Juan Gris and Auguste Herbin, which led to Céret becoming known as the mecca of cubism. Entitled Les Figuiers, Céret, this oil on canvas by Soutine is estimated at €800 000 to €1 200 000.

Artcurial will also present several remarkable series of work from private French and European collections, bringing together the biggest names in 19th century French art. Among these will be paintings and works on paper from the Georges and Jacqueline Herbin Collection, industrialists from the north of France during the second half of the last century, who focused on representations of family life and nature. Central to this collection are five paintings by Edouard Vuillard from the years 1900 – 1918, in an intimate, nabi style, including Madame de Saint-Maurice (1917-1918), estimated at
€100 000 to €150 000, as well as a large Mediterranean composition by Henri Lebasque called L’été au jardin (1906-1907), estimated at €200 000 to €300 000.

The sale will also present, from a different French collection, an exceptional selection of works on paper including some large-scale pieces by Marc Chagall, such as Fleurs et Amants (1935), a brightly-coloured image of a couple with a bouquet, in reference to the artist’s love for his wife Bella (estimate €180 000 – 250 000). Other highlights include Espagnole, peigne brun (circa 1922-1924), a work by Francis Picabia that appeared in the famous sale « Quatre-vingts Picabia de Marcel Duchamp » on 8 March 1926, and has been exhibited in all international retrospectives dedicated to the artist (estimate : €50 000 – 70 000). There are also pieces by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Raoul Dufy, and Kees Van Dongen.

Post-War & Contemporary Art
The major sale dedicated to Post-War and Contemporary Art on 8 and 9 July stars a spectacular black stabile from 1963 by Alexander Calder, untitled, in painted metal and standing an imposing 3.5 metres high. This piece was originally installed in the Midi in France in 1969, in a holiday village in La Colle-sur-Loup that had recently been built for VVF (Village Vacances Famille), an association set up in the 1960s to promote tourism and family holidays throughout France. It was therefore one of the first installations of its kind in France, after the magisterial mobile Spirale, erected at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in 1958. As the word « stabile » suggests, this piece is a fixed sculpture, unlike the « mobiles » that the American artist is also famous for. It is the first time that such a large-scale stabile by Calder has appeared at auction in France. This unique work presented for sale by Artcurial is estimated at €2,5M to €3,5M.

Another important piece of contemporary art is a magnificent painting by the French artist Pierre Soulages, dating from 1981. This oil on canvas is characteristic of the artist’s almost exclusive use of black from 1979 onwards, which he called « outrenoir » (ultra-black). The painting Peinture 130 x 81 cm, 27 janvier 1981 is estimated at €800 000 to €1,2 M.

Collectors will also discover a series of eight works by the Franco-Hungarian artist Simon Hantaï, who developed ‘pliage’, a technique evident in the selection on offer. While Panse, and the oil on canvases from the series Plis, demonstrate his reflection on the dialogue between colours, the series of watercolours explores a single colour through geometric forms. The pieces by Simon Hantaï are estimated between €30 000 and €150 000.