Christie’s announces the sale of 22 works in London this February from a Swiss couple the auction house coyly describes this way:
they were able to meet Constantin Brancusi, to see Pablo Picasso‟s Guernica while it was in its studio, to support the impoverished and embattled Piet Mondrian and to entertain Hans Arp on a regular basis. Two published authors, who were authorities in their field, the couple were prominent in the cultural milieu of Switzerland and Europe as a whole, particularly in the middle decades of the 20th century.
Olivier Camu delivers the coup on the group of works that carry a combined estimate of £30m or more with the Mondrian (above) weighing in with an £8-12m estimate and the Juan Gris (below) with a £12-18m range. These works were purchased or received directly from the artists:
“This extraordinary time capsule of a collection was formed by truly passionate art connoisseurs. They were amongst the best and most generous minds of the European architectural and contemporary art worlds from the early 1920s all the way to the 1970s. It is fascinating to see in each work of art how rigorous the collectors were, sticking to the avant garde movements. From Cubism to Surrealism en passant par Metaphisica and Neo Plasticism all the works follow a very pure and concentrated modernist and architectural taste. The provenance is so pure; never seen before on the market, these works were almost always either bought from or, more often, received as gifts from their friends the artists. As a result every work in the collection is highly enviable, evocative and through each work one feels the artist himself reaching out to us via the friendship bond of their only owner so far.”