Following the ground-breaking success of ONE, Christie’s $420 million live-streamed global relay auction in July, Christie’s will again break with tradition and introduce a new global auction calendar in October, adding exciting new collecting opportunities to the traditional Fall auction calendar.
Presented by Christie’s unified “20/21” department, the new calendar will feature a mid-autumn marquee week of Evening and Day sales in New York ahead of the traditional November auctions, and a synchronised series of sales in London and Paris – all devoted to the best of 20th and 21st Century art. The additional New York sales will be conducted live and live-streamed from Christie’s Rockefeller Center galleries on October 6 and 7, 2020. This will be followed by exceptional auctions that celebrate two great cities, bringing together the collecting communities from London and Paris, opening with exhibitions on 6 October during London’s Frieze Week and continuing with Evening live and livestreamed events in both cities on 22 October, coinciding with FIAC in Paris.
The October New York sales will offer extraordinary examples of Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary art, led by Paul Cézanne’s Nature morte avec pot au lait, melon et sucrier, a superlative watercolor still life from the collection of the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan. The still life, which dates to 1900-1906, was acquired by Edsel Ford in 1933. In the region of $25 million, Nature morte avec pot au lait, melon et sucrier is the finest watercolour by the artist to come to auction in over thirty years.
Alex Rotter, Chairman of 20/21, remarked: “What we have witnessed over the past few months is an extremely robust art market, fuelled by global collectors who are keen to acquire remarkable objects and works of art. These collectors are happily making use of a wide range of platforms, they are buying works across categories, and they certainly are not glued to the conventional auction schedule. With this in mind, we decided to break with tradition to present a landmark sale that would offer top works from across the 20th and 21st Centuries on October 6. This sale will benefit from both the extraordinary range of digital and remote bidding advancements that we have made since the beginning of the year – and even in the time since our July ONE auction – and a market that is indisputably thriving. The response that we have received to our decision to open the fall season with a major evening sale has been overwhelmingly positive, and we very much look forward to greeting the global collecting community once again this October.”
Giovanna Bertazzoni, Vice Chairman of 20/21: “We are delighted to present an innovative new concept for our European calendar in October this year. What struck me as a defining moment during ONE was the dynamic dialogue established between our salerooms in Paris and London. We wanted to continue igniting this energy whilst honouring the pillars that Frieze and FIAC form for our clients, providing a European hub for collectors to convene around. On one day, the 22 October, we will begin in Paris with the esteemed Private Collection of Paul Haim, which is followed by Paris Avant Garde, the first sale of its kind to be established, combining artworks from both the 20th and 21st centuries. We will then move to London, where we will host our iconic Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, a lynchpin of the London calendar, before concluding with Thinking Italian Art and Design, the only auction globally that is dedicated to the influential artists and designers working in Italy throughout the 20th century’’.
GLOBAL EXHIBITION – CÉZANNE
To launch the announcement of its new October 20th Century Week in New York, Christie’s will tour Cézanne’s Nature morte avec pot au lait, melon et sucrier to its galleries in Hong Kong and London in early September, with public viewings available as conditions allow.
Nature morte avec pot au lait, melon et sucrier represents the apogee of Cézanne’s work in watercolor, and a defining moment in the commencement of Modernism as we now know it. The watercolor compositions created between 1900 and 1906 were the culmination of his lifelong study of painting and constitute the final flowering of his art. Standing at the precipice of abstraction, these works represent Cézanne’s most revolutionary body of work.
The history of this picture’s ownership is appropriately distinguished; from the fabled dealer Ambroise Vollard to Alexandre Berthier, the fourth and final Prince of Wagram, killed in the First World War, the watercolor eventually made its way to America in 1929, and in 1933 entered the esteemed family collection assembled by Edsel and Eleanor Ford. The painting occupied their collection until Eleanor’s death in 1976 when it was bequeathed to the private operating foundation that would become Edsel & Eleanor Ford House.
OCTOBER 22, 2020: LONDON TO PARIS
On 22 October, a series of sales will begin in Paris with ‘The Secret Garden of Paul Haim’, an auction offering 41 monumental sculptures from the fantastic collection of the art dealer Paul Haim.
Paris Avant-Garde will follow, highlighted by Zao Wou-Ki’s 31.07.68 (1968, estimate: €1,100,000 – 1,500,000) before moving to London for the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction, concluding with Thinking Italian Art and Design. The London session will include Georg Baselitz’s masterpiece Weiblicher Akt – Liegend (1977, estimate; £900,000-1,200,000).
THE SECRET GARDEN OF PAUL HAIM
Christie’s will offer 41 monumental sculptures from the fantastic collection of the art dealer Paul Haim in a dedicated auction. Since his death in 2006, Dominique, Haim’s daughter, has been overseeing the collection. All of these works were housed in La Petite Escalère, a secret garden nestling along the Adour, a short distance from Bayonne and Biarritz.
Executed in 1968, 31.07.68 by Zao Wou-Ki is fresh to the market having remained in the same French family since 2003. The painting, in perfect condition, has kept its bright and intense colours which makes this work very desirable for all international collectors.
LONDON POST-WAR AND CONTEMPORARY EVENING AUCTION
Painted in 1977, Weiblicher Akt – Liegend (Female Nude – Lying) is a monumental explosion of form and content by Georg Baselitz. Broad swathes of black, white and burnt sienna slice across a vast canvas over three metres wide. Charged with earthy physicality, the brushwork echoes the abstract bravura of Franz Kline or Willem de Kooning.
Only on close inspection does a black diagonal – slashed through the painting’s centre – emerge as the reclining nude of the title. Likely based on the artist’s wife, Elke, she lies on her front, with one hand on her chin and one foot raised behind her. In Baselitz’s signature style, she is also upside-down. From a private Swiss collection, with exceptional provenance, the works was formerly part of the Crex Collection, whose pioneering embrace of the European and American avant-garde from the 1960s onwards transformed public appreciation of contemporary art in Switzerland and beyond.
THINKING ITALIAN ART AND DESIGN
Pino Pascali’s Contraerea (1965, estimate: £2,500,000-3,500,000) is a magnificent work of art, one which stands alone as the defining achievement of Arte Povera, and undoubtedly sits among the great Joan Miró, La caresse d’un oiseau, €4,000,000-6,000,000 masterpieces of the 20th Century. Evocative, playful and characteristically imaginative, captures the zeitgeist of the Post-War generation, exemplifying the practice of the artist.