Ambroise Vollard was one of the great art dealers of the 20th Century. He died in a car crash shortly before World War II and the 10,000 works of art stored in his Parisian home were said to contain, “Discoveries everywhere, valuable things, never sold nor noted, discoveries under piles of canvases, priceless, surpassing all calculation…”
Among Vollard’s many legacies was a passion for print-making. An early believer in the possibilities of color lithography, Vollard worked with master printer Auguste Clot to make an album of color lithographs with artists he selected and funded. His second print project was Les Peintres-Graveurs, an edition of 100 which included a rare print of Edvard Munch’s Angst, above.
No example of the intact portfolio was known to exist until Sotheby’s recently discovered one, acquired by a French family in the 1920s, that will be offered at auction in London this September, with an estimate of £500,000 to £1,000,000.
Here’s part of Sotheby’s release on the portfolio:
Issued in Paris in 1896, his first ever multi-artist portfolio Les Peintres-Graveurs comprises 22 prints by the likes of Pierre Bonnard, Odilon Redon, Théo van Rysselberghe, Auguste Renoir, and Edouard Vuillard. A champion of unrecognised artists, Vollard took chances on international and young talent.
At the heart of his portfolio is an exceptional impression of one of Edvard Munch’s most famous motifs, Angst (or Le Soir). Produced in collaboration with the eminent Parisian printmaker Auguste Clot, the subject was the first color lithograph ever produced by Munch, who went on to become one of history’s most prolific and successful printmakers.
This complete example of Les Peintures-Graveurs comes to the market after its rediscovery in a private European collection. The present album was purchased in 1920’s Paris by the current owner’s family and has remained in their collection since, never before exhibited publicly. Initially produced in an edition of 100, its sale on September 17 will mark the first time the complete portfolio has ever appeared at auction. Even in Vollard’s lifetime, albums were split and prints were sold individually. To date, no institution or private collector has been able to obtain the full album.
A complete list of the portfolio’s contents:
- Georges Auriol, Jeune Femme assise (Johnson 3)
- Albert Besnard, La Rêveuse (J. 7; Delteil 66)
- Jacques-Emile Blanche, Jeunes Filles lisant (J. 8)
- Pierre Bonnard, La petite Blanchisseuse (J. 11; Bouvet 40)
- François Rupert Carabin, La Statuette (J. 20)
- Maurice Denis, La Visitation (J. 30; Cailler 94)
- Henri Fantin-Latour, Vénus et l’Amour (J. 39; Hédiard 131)
- Armand Guillaumin, Les Rochers rouges (J. 61)
- René-Georges Hermann-Paul, Le petites Machines à écrire (J. 64)
- James Pitcairn-Knowles, Le Bain (J. 97)
- Gustave Leheutre, Jeune Fille au piano (J. 67)
- Alexandre Lunois, Danseuse espagnole (J. 72)
- Charles Maurin, Étude de Femmes nues (J. 81)
- Edvard Munch, Le Soir (J. 84; Woll 63; Schiefler 61)
- Odilon Redon, La Méditation (J. 101; Memmerio 158)
- Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Mére et Enfant (J. 106; D. 10)
- József Rippl-Ronaï, La Fête au Village (J. 119)
- Jan To-Roop, La Dame aux Cygnes (J. 142)
- Théo van Rysselberghe, Le Café-Concert (J. 136)
- Suzanne Valadon, Étude de nus (J. 144)
- Félix Vallotton, Le Premier Janvier (J. 145; Godefroy 165)
- Édouard Vuillard, Le Jardin des Tuileries (J. 153)