1912 Adele Bloch-Bauer II by Klimt
2006 SOLD 88 M$ including premium by Christie's
1912 Drei Pferde, gouache on card by Franz Marc
2018 SOLD for £ 15.4M including premium by Christie's
1912 Bonnard in Grasse
2019 SOLD for $ 19.6M including premium
Grasse is one of the world capitals of perfumery. The period chosen for this holiday is conducive to the feeling of a rebirth of the Mediterranean vegetation.
On May 13 in New York, Christie's sells La Terrasse, oil on canvas 125 x 134 cm painted in Grasse, lot 42A estimated $ 5M.
This large picture is decidedly post-Impressionist. The soft and varied colors are intertwined and often complementary, building shapes that are sometimes indistinct. The composition is divided into two parts. The lower side is intimate : the sunny terrace is closed by a balustrade interrupted by a high arch. At the top, the landscape is half hidden behind a thick grove of palms and orange trees.
La Terrasse is not a realistic view but the interpretation of a moment or an atmosphere which immerses the observer until he imagines that he has taken the place of the painter.
The vision of details is mysterious. The character in the foreground on the right is either the artist or Marthe. Two little cats roam. The third cat on a stool is as stiff as a Bastet. Its enigma is solved when a closer observation reveals next to its stool a dog's head in white plaster.
1912 The Prophet of Fire
2018 SOLD for $ 14M including premium
Assimilating his vocation to that of a hallucinated Jewish prophet, Meidner paints a series of Apocalyptic landscapes that offer a highly original style and appeal to the Expressionists.
On November 12 in New York, Sotheby's sells an oil on canvas 94 x 109 cm painted by Meidner in 1912, lot 25 estimated $ 12M. It is painted on both sides, a practice quite common in German groups, particularly understandable here considering the large size of the canvas and the poor resources of the artist. Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
The front side is an Apokalyptische Landschaft, with an expression of horror comparable to Munch's Scream. Two thick rivers of incandescent lava pour into an already shaken city where houses ready to collapse bend in all directions, anticipating the landscapes dislocated by Soutine. In the foreground two characters run madly. Columns of troops roam the square of this city of German architecture, making this artwork a premonition of the First World War.
The reverse seems in total contrast with the front. A serious young man reads a book. With his unusually hollowed cheeks, if he is not a self-portrait, he is at least a projection of the artist on his own misery.
The war breaks the creative impulse of Ludwig Meidner, who will continue his career with self-portraits and imaginary portraits of prophets and will be cataloged as a degenerate artist in 1937. He will never reach fame but Baselitz will remember his Apocalypses for howling against the Berlin wall.
1912 The Eyes of the Boat
2019 SOLD for £ 10.7M including premium
After another complaint Egon Schiele spends 24 days in the prison of Neulengbach, in April 1912. His conviction was limited to an offense against morality for exhibiting erotic drawings in a place accessible to children.
Once out of this ordeal, Schiele feels the need to change air. In May he spends a few days in Trieste, a place he loved, in the pleasant atmosphere of the fishing port.
On February 26 in London, Sotheby's sells Triestiner Fischerboot, lot 9 estimated £ 6M, oil on canvas certainly painted in his studio in Vienna around the end of 1912.
On a square format 70 x 70 cm, the composition is symmetrical and flat. The boat is seen from the front, in a rather naive drawing and without perspective. The colors are rich and saturated, in the morbid style that Schiele had already practiced.
The perspective is nevertheless present by the water that deviates in front of the boat as if she was rushing onto the observer. At the foreground of the boat two anchor points increase the threat of this subject that could have been peaceful. Black in a bright red orbit, they are on both sides of the main axis like the intimidating taotie of the Chinese liturgical bronzes.
The logical continuation of Triestiner Fischerboot is the series of haunted cityscapes of Krumau in which no human presence is needed to express the artist's feelings. Until 1912 Schiele could have become a cursed artist. This is not the case : fame comes to him as early as 1913 with his first solo exhibition.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
1912 The Continuous Space of Umberto Boccioni
2018 SOLD for £ 9M including premium
He gathers around him the artists interested in his project. Umberto Boccioni becomes the theoretician of the Futurist art. Art will no longer be realistic. Embracing dynamism and simultaneity, the new painting is a global expression of the world.
Unlike Balla who expresses the speed of the machines, Boccioni remains focused on the human figure. He discovers in Paris the cubism of Braque and Picasso of which he reuses the divisionism with many facets.
Painted by Boccioni in 1912, Testa + luce + ambiente is a great example of this new global art. The image is structured in areas that can be oblique mirrors in which the reflections of the head and of the light are everywhere and nowhere. This oil on canvas 60 x 60 cm is estimated £ 5.5M for sale by Sotheby's in London on February 28, lot 14.
In terms of graphic art, other avant-gardes around Duchamp, Léger or Kandinsky make similar advances. Mondrian will soon capture the whole universe on small canvases.
Boccioni's vision for sculpture is even more seminal. Based on portraits sculpted by Picasso, he promotes the overall effect against the realism of proportions and surfaces. In 1913 his running man titled Forme uniche della continuità nello spazio precedes by 34 years Giacometti's walking man with moreover an abstract vision of the human body that announces Henry Moore.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's :
1912 A Plaster Portrait by Brancusi
2012 SOLD 12.4 M$ including premium
Portraiting the women made him busy for several years. The facial features become slightly marked through more simple growths or deformations. Within this period, the heads of his two main models, Baroness Frachon and Miss Pogany, remain recognizable.
On November 7 in New York, Christie's sells a plaster of the Baroness, entitled Une Muse, made in 1912, 46 cm high. This sculpture is shown in the press release shared by Artdaily.
At this time, the artist develops two opposite representations of his muse-baroness. Asleep, she has lost her neck and her personality also fades. Awakened, as in the example coming for sale, the effect is more psychological and the simplification is still far from abstraction. The gaze is empty, but the mouth invites to communication.
The estimate of $ 10M is high for a plaster, even by Brancusi. Note, however, the outstanding history of this piece which contributed to the reputation of the artist the following year in an exhibition at the Armory Show in New York.
I invite you to play the video shared by Christie's.
POST SALE COMMENT
The very good price of this plaster, $ 12.4 million including premium is related to its exceptional positioning in the development of Brancusi's creativity.
1912 The Gaze of Jawlensky's Wife
2011 SOLD 11.3 M$ including premium
Alexej von Jawlensky expresses this tendency in beautiful paintings of female faces, which were to remain his most spectacular art. The head is turned toward the artist, the eyes underlined by large rings provide a very effective sense of presence.
On May 3 in New York, Sotheby's sells a portrait of the artist's wife. Her confident and intimate attitude is made strange and attractive by her yellow cheeks and neck, red nose, blue and red clothing, and the green of the fan.
This oil on board, 65 x 54 cm, is one of the masterpieces of the master, who kept it until his death. It is estimated $ 8M.
POST SALE COMMENT
Excellent price, $ 11.3 million including premium, confirming this beautiful portrait as one of the masterpieces of the sale.
1912 Head and Egg
2015 SOLD for $ 9.1M including premium
The young artist did not want to follow Rodin. His origins as a son of Carpathian peasants certainly helped him to reject the traditions of the art of Western Europe. When he carved in white marble the other seminal model of his art, the Sleeping Muse, in 1910-1911, he already sought to express a universal emotion.
The Sleeping Muse is also a vital egg. The figure is ovoid with a sweet protrusion granted to the nose and eyebrows. Finely chiseled lines synthesize the facial and hair features. The sitter is recognizable with no trend toward abstraction, but this artwork is already an interpretation of the ideal woman. The artist begins to realize some plasters and bronzes.
On May 14 in New York, Christie's sells a plaster of La Muse endormie I executed in 1912, 28 cm long, lot 11C estimated $ 8M. This example is one of the works that ensured the glory of Brancusi at the exhibition of the Armory Show in New York on the following year.
It is interesting to compare this specimen with a plaster from the same year entitled Une Muse where the head of the same model found a more traditional attitude as part of a bust. This sculpture 46 cm high was sold for $ 12.4 million including premium by Christie's on November 7, 2012.
1912 Perfect Limousines by Rolls-Royce
2012 SOLD 4.7 M£ including premium
This huge vehicle of nearly 5 meters long was reliable, comfortable, fast, and as silent as a ghost. It generated a trend to oversizing which inspired several other manufacturers just before the First World War.
The example for sale on June 29 by Bonhams at Goodwood was manufactured in 1912. Its coachwork by Barker with a very high roof is of Double Pullman Limousine type, a name that proves by itself that the high-end cars considered as an advantage to look like railway wagons!
This limousine had an exciting history in the popular imaging : it was chosen half a century later by Corgi as the model for a toy, showing to children the extravagant beauty of the Rolls-Royce cars of ancient time.
The estimate is not published in the catalog, but the press release of February indicated £ 2M. Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENTS
Bonhams had clearly demonstrated that this Rolls is exceptional. It was sold £ 4.7 million including premium.
This result must be compared with the £ 3.5 million including premium obtained by Bonhams on 3 December 2007 for a Rolls-Royce 10hp manufactured in 1904 which is the oldest surviving car of the brand, a price that was considered exceptional at that time.
The conversion of the two results in U.S. $ gives very similar figures, taking into account the evolution of the exchange rates.
1912 The Cossack of the Empress
2013 SOLD 5.9 M$ including premium
The Fabergé house had the talent to interest the Royal family for a new approach to art by using new themes and new materials as valuable as possible. Creations by Fabergé anticipate many features of luxury and invention in the decorative arts of the European twentieth century.
In 1912, for a gift to his empresses, the Tsar orders to Fabergé the figurines of both Cossacks who were invited to posing in the studio for a wax model. The realization of the final statuettes was then assigned to Henrik Wigström, the workmaster to whom Fabergé subcontracted the most prestigious commissions.
Wigström was specifically responsible for the Fabergé eggs. His figures, also very rare, similarly used hard and semi-precious stones with an enamel finish .
The Cossack of Alexandra, measuring 18 cm, is one of the largest statues of this type and was one of the most expensive pieces sold by Fabergé to the Tsar . Brought out of Russia after the revolution by Armand Hammer, it had disappeared a few years later and its reappearance is a rediscovery.
This statuette is estimated $ 500K, for sale on October 26 by Stair Galleries in Hudson NY. Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
The great result, $ 5.2 million before fees, is confirming that it was convenient to compare this piece with the imperial eggs produced by the same foreman for Fabergé. Congratulations to Stair Galleries for the perfectly successful sale of this figure.
1912 Interior with Daylights
2018 SOLD for $ 5M including premium
In 1909 the couple moves to a house in Bredgade 25, in another part of Copenhagen. In this short period that ends with a new move in 1913, Hammershøi seeks to renew his original creativity but exhausts his fragile health on female nude studies.
Dated 1910, an Interior with easel preserved at the National Gallery of Denmark shows a corner of an empty room in Bredgade, illuminated through a visible glass door on the left edge. The light projected on the dull wall is blurred. In this phase the artist experiments with the inclusion within grey of bright colors that are visible only by close inspection but contribute to the overall effect in the manner of the Impressionists.
In 1912 he paints an identical view that goes much further in the experimentation of lights like some tribute to the Dutch painters of the seventeenth century whom the artist admired.
The light of the beginning or end of the day comes from the same source but is here more sunny. Through an interior door, a similar light appears like an echo in a back room. Another luminous trace is visible on the floor, coming from a window out of field on the other side. The artist thus shows in a single view both the morning and evening lightings into the room where he has installed his easel, according to the new principles of multiple angles of the Futurism.
This seemingly simple composition is in fact a mystery to which the easel, already placed in the same position in 1910, contributes greatly. It is facing the wall, so we cannot see if a work is going on. The currently absent artist could only observe the other back wall, which we imagine as empty as the rest of the room.
This oil on canvas 78 x 70 cm is estimated $ 1.5M for sale by Christie's in New York on October 31, lot 14. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
#Bestof2018 #VilhelmHammershøi’s ‘Interior with an Easel, Bredgade 25’ – “The picture’s rarity and importance, coupled with the renewed market interest in 19th-century art, piqued the interest of 10 bidders and pushed the final price to $5,037,500”https://t.co/QxOvw7Ergg pic.twitter.com/TzYGzzMs5u— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) December 28, 2018