Christie’s has had tough time with a number of its recent Impressionist and Modern sales but this May, the auction house just announced, it will be selling four works (three Renoirs and a Monet water lily painting) with a combined high estimate of $60m. The most dramatic lot is the Monet which has not been seen in public since 1926. Though not very big, the vertical canvas is approximately 40″ by 32″, Christie’s sold a comparable work in November of 2012 for $43m with fees.
The most valuable of the three Renoirs, Jeunes filles jouant au volant, is estimated at $10-15m:
Renoir painted Jeunes filles jouant au volant circa 1887, after a three-year period of intense questioning of Impressionist methods and experimentation with his own techniques. Renoir reintroduced traditional notions of draftsmanship into his art. Seeking to give the human form a more monumental presence, he focused increasingly on contour, which he used to silhouette his figures sharply against the background. Jeunes filles jouant au volant is among the most complex compositions from this period of Renoir’s work, depicting five contemporary female figures playing a racquet sport in a rural landscape. The result is an intentional hybrid of timelessness and modernity, the idyllic and the everyday, which gives the painting its particular power.