Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale will be followed by The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale, together launching ‘20th Century at Christie’s’ on 5 February 2020.
Tamara de Lempicka’s Portrait de Marjorie Ferry (1932, estimate: £8,000,000-12,000,000) and Alberto Giacometti’s Trois hommes qui marchent (Grand plateau) (1948, estimate: £8,000,000-12,0000,000) will both lead the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale.
Further highlights include George Grosz’s politically charged Gefährliche Straße (1918, estimate: £4,500,000-6,500,000), which has remained in a private collection for 50 years and will appear at auction for the first time. A group of three still lifes by Pablo Picasso demonstrate his career-long dedication to evolving the genre with exceptional examples from the 1940s, 50s and 60s: La cafetière (1943, estimate; £1,000,000-1,500,000); Intérieur au pot de fleurs (1953, estimate: £7,000,000-10,000,000) and Nature morte au chien (1962, estimate: £4,000,000-6,000,000). Works on paper by Gino Severini, Egon Schiele, Paul Klee, Picasso and Max Ernst provide an intimate insight into key artists of the 20th century.
The Day and Works on Paper sales will follow on 6 February together with the online-only sale dedicated to Picasso Ceramics, which is open for bidding from 30 January to 7 February 2020. The works will be on view in the King Street galleries from 30 January to 5 February 2020.
TAMARA DE LEMPICKA
Portrait de Marjorie Ferry was commissioned in 1932 by the husband of the British-born cabaret star Marjorie Ferry at the height of Lempicka’s fame in Paris where she was the most sought-after and celebrated female modernist painter. By 1930 Lempicka had become the première portraitist in demand among both wealthy Europeans and Americans, specifically with those who had an eye for classicised modernism.
Conceived in 1948 Trois hommes qui marchent (Grand plateau) is among the earliest of Alberto Giacometti’s famous multi-figure works, showing three walking men, positioned as if fleetingly passing each other on a street. The three figures are weaving their way past each other, connected yet isolated: the perfect embodiment of city life and the human condition during the post-war years.
George Grosz’s highly politicised depiction of Germany at the close of the First World War, Gefährliche Straße, will be presented 100 years after it was first exhibited in Grosz’s solo exhibition at the Galerie Neue Kunst in Munich. Ten paintings from the series can be seen in leading museums including the Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Kunsthalle, Hamburg; Staatsgalerie Stuttgart; Tate, London; Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, Madrid and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
PABLO PICASSO STILL LIFES
Picasso is credited with transforming the still-life genre into an art form of endless symbolic, allegorical or stylistic possibility. La cafetière (1943, estimate; £1,000,000-1,500,000) is constructed with angular lines and saturated colour and was given as a gift from Picasso to his lover of the time Marie-Thérèse Walter.
Intérieur au pot de fleurs (1953, estimate: £7,000,000-10,000,000) is filled with the formal influence of his friend Henri Matisse, while this intriguing interior scene can also be seen to allude to the inner turmoil that characterised the artist’s life at this time.
Nature morte au chien (1962, estimate: £4,000,000-6,000,000) is a large and playful still-life that not only offers a glimpse into the private world of Pablo Picasso and his idyllic final home, Notre-Dame-de-Vie in Mougins, but encapsulates the abiding themes and stylistic qualities of the artist’s work in what has become known as his late, great period.
WORKS ON PAPER
Conjuring a sense of light, movement, sound and people, La Ferrovia Nord-Sud dates from 1913 (estimate: £700,000-1,000,000), the peak of Gino Severini’s Futurist period.
Here, Severini transports the viewer into the bustling realm of the underground railway. Executed in 1929, Der Ballon im Fenster (estimate: £200,000-300,000) by Paul Klee takes as its focus a multicoloured balloon which the artist has glimpsed through a gap in the curtains, its bright form floating across the sky above a landscape bathed in the glow of a setting sun.