Enough with Marie-Thérèse, let’s see how the market feels about Dora Maar again. That’s what Christie’s has decided to do for London this year. A 1942 Dora Maar work that was once briefly on the market nearly forty years ago, having come from Jaqueline’s portion of the estate, but eventually was sold privately and has disappeared from view. It is going to be offered at Christie’s in late June with an whisper estimate at £18-22m, a good price:Continue Reading
Katya Kazakina reported late on Sunday that Picasso’s Le Marin, a $70m painting featured in Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Evening sale had been damaged and, thus, withdrawn from the sale this week:
Christie’s withdrew “Le Marin,” a self-portrait painted in 1943, from its auction this Tuesday for restoration, it said in a statement. It declined to comment on the nature or extent of the damage.
Update: Christie’s had released on their website a statement on the matter earlier on Sunday:
Pablo Picasso’s Le Marin (The Sailor)was accidentally damaged Friday during the final stages of preparation for Christie’s May 12-15 exhibition. Two outside conservators have now been consulted and have made recommendations for the successful restoration of the painting. After consultation with the consignor today, the painting has been withdrawn from Christie’s May 15 sale to allow the restoration process to begin.
Christie’s has a very high standard of care for the objects entrusted to us and we have taken immediate measures to remedy the matter in partnership with our client. No further information is available at this time.
The last time this happened with a Picasso owned by Wynn, admittedly a very different painting, Le Rêve, at a very different time, the restored work ended up selling a few years later for more than his original asking price.
Further Update: The New York Times’s Scott Reyburn is reporting that another Picasso work owned by Wynn has also been withdrawn:
Christie’s has not divulged the precise nature of the damage to “Le Marin,” but following the mishap, the auction house said in an email that Picasso’s 1964 painting “Femme au chat assise dans un fauteuil” (“Woman With a Cat Seated in an Armchair”), estimated at $22 million to $28 million, has also been withdrawn from the sale. This second Picasso had also been identified as being offered by Mr. Wynn. Like “Le Marin,” it had been guaranteed to sell courtesy of a third party.
Pablo Picasso Painting, Valued at $70 Million, Is Damaged Before Sale (The New York Times)
Bloomberg previews the Rockefeller sales this week with a teaser article about the online sales action but the most interesting part of the piece is the way it ends with Christie’s Rebecca Wei outlining the tastes of her Chinese clients. It’s rare to see a Senior figure at an auction house say something anything but upbeat about one the top lots coming up for auction. But in the case of Gertrude Stein’s Picasso, there may be no need for caution. There’s been a lot of talk in the trade, some of it coming from the owner of a number of Picassos that the Rose period Picasso could sell for a great deal more than the $100m low estimate.
That interest is likely to come from buyers in the Gulf States or the owner a private museum than from Chinese clients. Christie’s Rebecca Wei explains why:
“The big whale clients want the top-top pieces only by Tier 1 artists,” said Wei, listing Picasso, Matisse, Claude Monet, van Gogh, Gauguin and Paul Cezanne. “They like bright colors. Women need to be beautiful in the paintings.”
Top on their list, she said, is a sensual 1923 Matisse canvas, “Odalisque couchee aux magnolias.” Estimated at $70 million, it will probably set an auction record for the French artist, whose current high is $48.8 million.
Picasso’s 1905 “Young Girl with a Flower Basket,” which depicts a pale, nude teenage girl with a basket of red blossoms, may be a tougher sell, Wei said.
“I had so many top collectors looking at the piece, saying ‘Mmm… I don’t know, she has a haunted look — I like the Matisse much better.’”
Timed to go on view just as the New York previews open, Sotheby’s announces another 1932 Picasso for the London Impressionist and Modern sales in June. The work is estimated upon request but the whisper number is ~$45m:
Painted during Pablo Picasso’s ‘year of wonders’, this monumental, yet remarkably tender and intimate, painting of Marie-Thérèse absorbed in the act of writing evokes a private moment from the artist’s clandestine relationship with his most beloved muse. Awake or asleep, writing or reading, Marie-Thérèse appears in manifold guises throughout Picasso’s oeuvre. In this painting, Picasso focuses on her innocence and youthfulness, depicting her serenely penning her thoughts.
Appearing at auction for the first time in over two decades, Buste de femme de profil. Femme écrivant will highlight Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in London on 19 June 2018.
Helena Newman, Global Co-Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department & Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said: “This tender and romantic vision of Marie-Thérèse is a remarkably intimate portrait of the woman who has come to embody the heart and soul of the most celebrated year of Picasso’s oeuvre. Buste de femme de profil. Femme écrivant comes to auction having remained unseen in public for more than 20 years, marking the third consecutive season this year where an exceptional Picasso from the 1930s has headlined our flagship evening sale. It is all the more wonderful to offer this painting created in the spring of 1932 at a time when we are enjoying a world-class exhibition devoted to this year at Tate Modern in London.”
In this painting, Marie-Thérèse’s unmistakeable profile and sweep of blonde hair are silhouetted in front of a window at the Château de Boisgeloup, the grand house outside of Paris acquired by Picasso in 1930. Her sensual curves are echoed by the diffused green light emanating from the gardens beyond the window – the deliberate juxtaposition of the horizontals and verticals of the window frame with the soft curves of her body masterfully emphasising her form. The palette is characteristic of Picasso’s key depictions of Marie-Thérèse during this year. The composition recalls both his celebrated Cubist paintings and the series of monumental sculpted heads that he created in 1931, again inspired by Marie-Thérèse. It is the intensity and passion of the paintings from 1932 that mark them out as unique amongst the artist’s work.
Marie-Thérèse Walter entered Picasso’s life one day in January 1927, capturing his attention at first sight on the streets of Paris at a time when his turbulent relationship with his wife Olga was floundering. An intensely passionate – and creatively inspiring – relationship, this chance meeting with Marie-Thérèse galvanised his life and art. She quickly became a source of creative inspiration and veiled references to her appear in his art from that point on. However, it was only five years later in 1932 – following a landmark exhibition at Galerie Georges Petit, Paris – that the artist
announced Marie-Thérèse as an extraordinary presence in his life and art through his paintings.
Picasso almost never painted his muses from life, his depictions being inspired by the memory of them and the metamorphic power of his erotic imagination. With Marie-Thérèse in particular, the artist’s inspiration reached fever pitch in the long periods they were forced to spend apart. Here, he evokes her in a quietly contemplative mood – perhaps picturing her lover as she writes.
The Financial Times Chinese edition sat down with private dealer and advisor David Norman to talk about three seminal works in Picasso’s career. Chinese interest in the Spanish master is growing as (and surely because of) his market is surging beyond its normal market leading position and into an essential growth driver.
Christie’s has another big ticket Picasso for the May sales. With the Rockefeller’s rose-period portrait of a young girl looking to make an easy nine figures, the auction house turns to a self portrait of the artist painted during World War 2. Estimated at $70m, Christie’s is making much of the fact that the painting was owned by Victor and Sally Ganz whose collection remains one of the benchmarks of the 20th Century.
Victor Ganz was passionate about Picasso. He owned numerous works by the painter and only stopped buying when they became too expensive. Ganz bought the whole Femmes d’Algiers series of 15 works and sold off half of them to own the ones he really wanted. Christie’s points to Version O from that series which became the most expensive Picasso three years ago when the auction house sold it for $179m.
But the star Picasso work from the Ganz collection was—and is—the 1932 Marie-Thérèse portrait, Le Reve, that was damaged when Steve Wynn put his elbow through it. Just how valuable is Le Reve? Despite the damage, the work sold a few years later at a higher price than before the elbow incident at a price rumored to be near the level established by Femmes d’Algiers (Version O.)
If Le Marin, sells above the $70m asking price, other Picassos (and Ganz Picassos) will have their values revised upwards:
Le Marin last appeared at auction in 1997, as part of the legendary sale of the Collection of Victor and Sally Ganz. Over their lifetime together, Victor and Sally Ganz assembled what is still one of the most celebrated collections of the 20th Century.
“All in all, he was the best collector we had…” remarked Leo Castelli, “For anyone who wants to know this period, they must look at Victor and apply his lessons.” Of all the artists that they collected, the Ganzes were most committed to Picasso,
Prominently hung in their Manhattan living room, Le Marin was purchased by Victor Ganz for $11,000 in 1952 from the publisher Harry Abrams. It was Picasso’s only male image in the Ganz Collection.
According to his own testimony, Picasso’s earlier 1938 portrait of Maya in a sailor suit (gifted after the artist’s death to thev Museum of Modern Art, New York) is also a self-portrait. This painting, like the present picture, was originally titled Le Marin. Jerome Seckler, who interviewed Picasso, recounted their discussion of that portrait:vI described my interpretation of his painting, Le Marin, which I had seen at the Liberation Salon. I said I thought it to be a self-portrait… He listened intently and finally said, “Yes, it’s me, but I did not mean it to have any political significance at all.”
I asked why he painted himself as a sailor. “Because,” he answered, “I always wear a sailor shirt. See?” He opened up his shirt and pulled his underwear–it was white with blue stripes!
Created only weeks after the most dangerous crisis Picasso faced in World War II, Le Marin reflects the artist’s emotional and psychological distress. In 1944 Picasso said, “I have no doubt that the war is in the paintings I have done.” Perhaps no painting which he made during the Occupation more directly conveys this feeling than Le Marin.
At the outbreak of the war Picasso elected to stay in France, despite offers to move to Mexico and the United States, expressing at the time that “Most certainly, it is not a time for a creative man to fail, to shrink or to stop working”.
Although Picasso was a Spanish citizen, the decision to stay in France required a great deal of courage. As the painter of Guernica, he was an internationally recognized anti-fascist. In a speech, Hitler had denounced him by name. German agents regularly visited his studio in search of incriminating evidence, during which they insulted him and destroyed his paintings.
It was previously thought that these threats never rose above the level of harassment. However, a letter found in the Archive Picasso, dated September 16, 1943 – just five weeks before he painted Le Marin – demonstrated that the Nazis planned to deport Picasso to a concentration camp.
Picasso was saved only by the intervention of friends, Dubois and Cocteau, and especially by Arno Breker, Hitler’s favorite sculptor, who spoke to Hitler on the artist’s behalf. Other people in Picasso’s circle were not so lucky. Max Jacob, who had been one of Picasso’s closest friends, was deported to a concentration camp in the spring of 1944 and died there. That August, the Allies would liberate Paris.
Estimated in the region of $70 million, this masterpiece of the Second World War is set to realize one of the five highest prices for the artist at auction.
James Tarmy has an interesting story on Bloomberg about the Rockefeller estate which will come to market at Christie’s over the next few months. David Rockefeller had a good eye and a keen trading sense. As Tarmy points out, the success of Rockefeller’s Rothko sold at the pre-credit crisis peak of the market for $73m was bought for $10,000 53 years earlier.
The capital gains on that sale caused Rockefeller to make plans to dispose of his art in a way that would maximize the value to charity. The subsequent competition between auction houses became legend within the industry. Rockefeller’s representatives were the toughest of customers. They drove a very hard bargain which has left some bruised feelings even years later.
No one can confirm the final guarantee level (and it is said to include a toggle that gives the estate an additional advantage) but $750m is a safe number to work with on what the estate was expected to generate.
That’s a big number even for Rockefeller. Christie’s approached the market gingerly. In January, some of the top works—Picasso, Matisse and Monet—were released to the press with estimates of $70m, $50m and $35m respectively. Since then, Christie’s has clearly gotten good feedback from the market as it tours the works to Asia and Europe.Continue Reading
Sotheby’s is pleased to announce that Pablo Picasso’s stunning Le Repos from 1932 will highlight of our Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on 14 May 2018. A stunning and intimate depiction of Picasso’s ‘golden muse’, Marie-Thérèse Walter, the work was painted at the apex of Picasso’s artistic production, and captures the rapturous desire of his greatest compositions.
Le Repos is estimated to sell for $25/35 million when it is auctioned this May at Sotheby’s New York. The work will travel to Sotheby’s Hong Kong, London and Los Angeles galleries this spring, before returning to our York Avenue headquarters for public exhibition beginning 4 May.
The sumptuous canvas will appear at auction during a sensational time for related works from Picasso’s oeuvre: the Tate Modern’s first solo exhibition of Picasso’s work, The Ey Exhibition: Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy, opens in London this week. Last Wednesday, Sotheby’s sold the artist’s 1937 portrait of Marie-Thérèse, Femme au béret et à la robe quadrillée, for an outstanding £49.8 million – a record price (in GBP) for any painting auctioned in Europe. Simon Shaw, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Worldwide Impressionist & Modern Art Department, commented: “We are thrilled to offer this stunning painting from Picasso’s greatest series this May. As we saw last week in London, there is a vigorous global demand for depictions of Picasso’s golden muse. This classic, dreamy example from his critical year of 1932 is immediately recognizable, and captures the key elements of his work inspired by Marie Therese. Its lush, painterly quality and vibrant colors stand in stark contrast to Picasso’s final portraits of his first wife, Olga Khokhlova, which immediately precede this extraordinary period – generally considered the strongest in Picasso’s entire career.”
Picasso’s paintings of his lover Marie-Thérèse are arguably the finest emblems of love, sex and desire in 20th century art. He executed his major series of paintings depicting her in January 1932, in anticipation of Picasso’s first retrospective that coming June at Galeries Georges-Petit in Paris.
The frank avowal of Picasso’s love for Marie-Thérèse is particularly evident in this work. He depicts his serene model asleep, her head in Grecian profile, and resting on her interlaced fingers. Devoid of the attributes that often accompany her in other compositions, in the present work Marie-Thérèse’s striking facial features are the main focus of the composition. Picasso embraces not only a vibrant palette of primary colors such as yellow, red and green, but also employs sumptuous and curvaceous brushstrokes to convey Marie-Thérèse’s full, passive and golden beauty, which had now become for him the personification of ripeness and fecundity.