Masterpiece Paintings by Paul Cezanne at Christie’s 20th Century Evening Sale

In a grand announcement, Christie’s, in collaboration with the Foundation Langmatt Sidney and Jenny Brown, recently unveiled a trio of masterpiece paintings by the renowned artist Paul Cezanne.

These extraordinary artworks are set to take centre stage at Christie’s 20th Century Evening Sale, scheduled for November 9, 2023, as part of New York’s Fall Marquee Week. The paintings in question are “Fruits et pot de gingembre,” “Quatre pommes et un couteau,” and “La mer à L’Estaque.”

This exceptional collection finds its origins in the illustrious Museum Langmatt in Baden, Switzerland, home to a treasure trove of Impressionist art passionately curated during the early 20th century by the renowned collectors Sidney and Jenny Brown.

Fruits et pot de gingembre – A Masterpiece of Still Life ($35M – $55M)

At the forefront of this remarkable trio is the exquisite “Fruits et pot de gingembre,” with an estimated value ranging from $35 million to $55 million. This iconic painting belongs to a select group of canvases that Cezanne created in the late 1880s and early 1890s.

With this masterpiece, Cezanne reaches new heights of sophistication in his approach to still life, demonstrating a profound complexity in his treatment of colour and space.

Masterpiece Paintings by Paul Cezanne at Christie's 20th Century Evening Sale

This painting is a vital component of Cezanne’s celebrated series of still-life compositions, now recognized as his signature artistic achievements. The subjects within “Fruits et pot de gingembre” seem to engage in a captivating dialogue, almost acquiring human-like attributes. It is believed that this work was painted in Cezanne’s studio, located on the outskirts of Aix-en-Provence at his parents’ estate—the very place where he created his renowned “Card Players” series.

Quatre pommes et un couteau – Exploring Cezanne’s Apple Obsession ($7M – $10M)

The second offering, “Quatre pommes et un couteau,” is valued between $7 million and $10 million. This artwork delves into one of Cezanne’s most beloved and iconic subjects—the apple. While the apple was relatively absent from his earlier work in the 1860s, it gradually became intrinsically linked to the artist’s identity, making frequent appearances in his compositions from the 1870s onwards.

Masterpiece Paintings by Paul Cezanne at Christie's 20th Century Evening Sale

In contrast to the spontaneity and broken brushwork of classic Impressionism, which dominated his earlier works, here Cezanne adopts a distinct and meticulously “constructed” painting style, embracing a more structured approach to formal rendering.

La mer à l’Estaque – A Serene Coastal Landscape ($3M – $5M)

The final masterpiece of this trio is “La mer à l’Estaque,” valued between $3 million and $5 million. Painted at the end of the 1870s, this oil on canvas captures the growing boldness of Cezanne’s artistic style during his time gazing upon the picturesque vistas of L’Estaque, a charming fishing village nestled along the Mediterranean coast. It is within this setting that Cezanne crafted some of his most innovative landscape compositions, marking a pivotal phase in his career.

Masterpiece Paintings by Paul Cezanne at Christie's 20th Century Evening Sale

Supporting the Museum Langmatt

The Museum Langmatt in Baden, Switzerland, holds a significant place in the world of Impressionist art. Bequeathed to the City of Baden in 1987, this historic villa, originally built in 1900-01 as a family home, was transformed into a public museum and cultural institution, opening its doors in 1990. It now proudly houses the invaluable Impressionist art collection of Sidney and Jenny Brown. The collection was privately amassed between 1908 and 1919, with a few additional acquisitions in subsequent decades. In addition to its permanent collection, the Museum Langmatt regularly hosts contemporary art exhibitions and public programs.

Over the years, the museum has faced the challenge of maintaining its ageing physical facilities, depleting the resources of the Langmatt Foundation, established by Sidney and Jenny Brown. In response, in 2017, the foundation initiated the “Future Langmatt” campaign—a public capital campaign aimed at finding solutions to secure the museum’s future. In an unprecedented show of support, the city, along with assistance from the canton and other stakeholders, pledged contributions for the restoration of the property. Simultaneously, the foundation committed to ensuring a long-term and financially sustainable basis for the museum’s operations.

This ambitious project was officially approved on June 18, 2023, by an overwhelming 80% majority vote in Baden. The Museum Langmatt is set to receive substantial funds from the City of Baden and the Canton Aargau for the renovation and restoration, with the foundation Langmatt now tasked with raising CHF 40 million, approximately US$45 million, for its endowment fund. These funds are crucial to securing the museum’s long-term future and ensuring its continued contribution to the world of art and culture.

Images: Christie’s

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