Last auctioned nearly a century ago, this work by Jean Metzinger, one of the Futurist painters, was made in 1913 and auctioned in 1927 before entering two different private collections. The first held it for another 13 years before it was acquired by the current family which has owned the work for nearly 80 years. Now Sotheby’s will include it in the Impressionist & Modern art sale on February 4th in London. Exhibited only twice, once in a Metzinger retrospective in 1976 and again in 2012 at the Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice, it is among the best works by the artist. Le Cycliste (1913) is estimated at £1.5-2 million (the highest estimate ever placed on a work by the artist).
Not widely known among other more famous Modern artists, Metzinger was at the heart of the futurist movement as a protagonist and theorist. He was a co-author, along with Albert Gleizes, of the manifesto. At the time, cycling was a very modern and urban method of transport. Cycling as a spectator sport on the road and in velodromes reached a huge audience. Artists like Natalia Goncharova, Robert Delaunay and Umberto Boccioni used sport to portray the dynamism of modern life.
An other version of this work is in the Peggy Guggenheim collection (along with a study in the Pompidou).