1916 Purified Art by Malevich
2018 SOLD for $ 86M including premium
The second exhibition of his group, from mid-December 1915 to mid-January 1916, includes his Black Square on White Background, the first great shock from this new art. Malevich's aim is aesthetic. He finds for this new approach the designation of Suprematism.
The Black Square is his first flagship but it is not enough. The emotion must not be brought only by the freedom of the elements but also by the colors. Painted in 1915, the 18th Composition is a stack of almost rectangular non-transparent shapes in various colors. This artwork already invites to rotate the canvas for an observation in the four possible orientations. It was sold for £ 21.5M including premium by Sotheby's on June 24, 2015.
After the closing of the exhibition 0.10 in January 1916, Malevich restarts his search for the ultimate expression of colors. Suprematist Composition, oil on canvas 89 x 71 cm painted in 1916, was sold for $ 60M including premium by Sotheby's on November 3, 2008, lot 6. It will be sold by Christie's in New York on May 15, lot 12 A.
I described and commented it as follows in 2008:
The painting for sale no longer produces an illusion : it is a composition based on about fifty colored beams spread over a white background. The size, the proportions and the colors are varied. The angular positions show an opposition between the big purple beam and most of the others.
Malevich has succeeded here in his approach to an art that completely escapes nature and feeling, to retain only the aesthetics of color and geometry. He wanted his art to be understandable in the same way in all countries.
Please watch the video shared by Christie's. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1915-1916 Vegetal Screens by Wu Changshuo
2017 SOLD for RMB 210M including premium by Poly
narrated in 2020
Through his original training as a seal engraver, Wu understood the importance of allowing a free movement to his hand. He specializes in images of plants, with a brushstroke inspired by the emotional art of the calligrapher. He likes to express the density of the foliage. His spontaneity made him compared to Bada Shanren, the great non-conforming artist of the early Qing.
Wu innovated by the simplicity and liveliness of the line and by the use of bright colors. When Qi Baishi moved to Beijing in 1917, Wu encouraged him to modernize the Chinese pictorial art forever.
On December 17, 2017, Poly sold for RMB 210M including premium a set of twelve screens 133 x 53 cm each painted in black ink by Wu Changshuo in 1915-1916, lot 2638. This plant anthology includes peony, narcissus, pomegranate, lotus, pine, plum, bamboo, chrysanthemum, orchid, wisteria, cabbage and one that my source forgot to list, each with a text or a poem.
All of them are illustrated as the second entry in the article shared by The Value after this very important sale, alongside the twelve landscapes by Qi Baishi sold for RMB 930M including premium.
1916 Houses at Unterach by Klimt
2006 SOLD for $ 31.4M including premium by Christie's
narrated in 2020
He does not work from a photo, but his removal of the perspective seems to be independent of Cézanne's deconstructions. He finds textures and geometric elements in the landscape, using a viewfinder made up of a hole in a cardboard. Later a friend will give him an ivory eyeglass.
After choosing his elements, Klimt reassembles them in square formats. His villages can be compared to the accumulations of houses in Krumau by Schiele. Both artists thus obtain a personification of the buildings in their compositions with no characters. Their final effect, however, is in opposition. Schiele wants to annihilate his haunted city but Klimt is on holidays : his colors are happy.
Klimt spends every summer at the residence of Emilie's family in Litzlberg on the Attersee. Unterach is a very picturesque village at the other end of the lake. To avoid any temptation of perspective and horizon, the artist takes his view with a telescope from the other side of the lake.
A view of Unterach, oil on canvas 110 x 110 cm painted circa 1916 and coming from the Bloch-Bauer restitution, was sold for $ 31.4M including premium by Christie's on November 8, 2006 over a lower estimate of $ 18M, lot 52. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1916 A Swirl of Colors by Goncharova
2010 SOLD 6.4 M£ including premium
She early met Diaghilev, and designed for years sets and costumes for his Ballets Russes. Diaghilev was the producer of a total show combining music, dance and visual arts, as Aeschylus two thousand years before him.
Inspired by a project for the Ballets Russes, Goncharova painted a Spanish dancer, circa 1916. The long dress and mantilla are made of bright colors and decorative patterns forming a cubist swirl around the extremely simplified head.
This oil on canvas, 130 x 80 cm, estimated £ 4 million, is for sale by Christie's on February 2 in London.
It is tempting to draw a parallel with the beautiful futuro-cubist ballerina of Severini, dating from 1915, which was sold for £ 15M including premium at Sotheby's on June 25, 2008.
POST SALE COMMENT
It was clearly seen. This Spanish dancer is a masterpiece of Goncharova, without reaching the artistic importance of the ballerina of Severini.
The market establishes its excellent position within the barometer of auction results: £ 6.4 million including premium.
1916 Kandinsky in Moscow
2015 SOLD for £ 6.3M including premium
Yet before the 1920s and the emulation provided by the Bauhaus, he did not really become an abstract artist and willfully ignored Malevich's Suprematist developments.
Kandinsky had developed his art and his theories in Germany. Driven out by the war, he arrived in Moscow in December 1914. Like in Murnau, he is passionate about the light and colors of the city that he did not know quite well, having spent his youth in Odessa.
On February 3 in London, Sotheby's sells Moskau II, oil on canvas 53 x 38 cm painted in 1916, lot 22 estimated £ 6M.
Moskau II is a nice example of the ambiguity of the boundaries between abstract and figurative. The main theme is undeniably the evocation of Moscow's colors.
Moskau II is not an abstract work but an evolution of an urban landscape entitled Moskau I in which perspective was highly shaken. The proportions of the buildings have been conserved between both artworks, but the detailed design of the facades and of the sun, very readable in Moskau I, disappeared in Moskau II. Depriving the viewer of his figurative marks, Moskau II offers a strange poetry.
1916 Dilewski by Modigliani
2021 SOLD for £ 4.4M including premium by Christie's
#AuctionUpdate Amedeo Modigliani's 'Portrait du photographe Dilewski' (1916) realised £4,402,500, more than double its low estimate. The strongly characterised portrait displays the signature traits of the male facial type that #Modigliani developed during this period.⠀ pic.twitter.com/3q24Em8PLP— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) March 23, 2021
1916 The Ninos of Valencia
2013 SOLD 2.77 M£ including premium
Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida is the painter of Valencia. He loves the beach and the characters engaged in innocent or insignificant pleasures. He is also one of very few artists of his time to show children without sentimentality.
In 1916, at the height of his career, he does not try to interpret it, he observes, simply. No adult intervenes in the beach games of these small children. Idle, the boys leave the Mediterranean sea and the warm sun bathe their naked bodies.
Sorolla's colors are as warm as the atmosphere of this beautiful summer. On the beach of El Cabañal a small child with blond hair, maybe a girl, passes the artist without seeing him. The scene is spontaneous, with no identified preliminary sketch or photograph, but the composition is as bold as a Degas.
This oil on canvas, 100 x 70 cm, titled Niños en la playa is estimated £ 1.8 million, for sale by Sotheby's in London on May 23.
This painting is regarded for a long time as a masterpiece of Sorolla. The artist's family bought it back in the late 1950s. In 1963, for the centenary of the artist, this fresh and dynamic image has been issued as a Spanish stamp.
POST SALE COMMENT
This lovely painting was sold £ 2.77 million including premium, in the region of its higher estimate.
The picture is shared by Sotheby's on Wikimedia:
1916 The Abstract Sincerity of Georgia O'Keeffe
2007 SOLD for $ 3M including premium by Christie's
2016 SOLD for $ 2.4M including premium
She nevertheless finds a teacher to guide her talent. AW Dow is not a great artist but he is promoting line, mass and color. He is a figurative painter but his student takes his ideas to express her feelings through abstraction. Unrelated with the European artistic movements, with no further inspiration than her aesthetic sensibility, Georgia is one of the first US artists to explore the modern art.
She did not return immediately to color. Her charcoal drawings are animated by large spirals. At the end of 1915, aware of her profound originality that will continue to mark her career for seven decades, Georgia sends some examples of her art by post to a friend named Anita Pollitzer.
Anita knows Stieglitz. When Georgia visits the Gallery 291 a few months later, she sees her works on display. Stieglitz had not dared to ask for her permission. He tells Georgia that her drawings are the purest, finest and sincerest things that he exhibited in his gallery.
It is easy to understand to what extent the independent minded Georgia is encouraged by such a statement. Decidedly ahead of her time, she now tries a monochrome use of color. Her choice goes to the Prussian blue.
Blue I, watercolor 79 x 57 cm made in 1916, is included in the first solo exhibition of works by Georgia organized by Stieglitz at the 291 in April and May 1917. This seminal work was sold for $ 3M including premium by Christie's in New York on May 24, 2007. It comes back to the same auction room on May 19, lot 7 estimated $ 2.5M.
1916 The Dawn of the Conscripts
2017 SOLD for £ 1.87M including premium
C.R.W. 'Richard' Nevinson was a young English artist close to the Futurist movement. He enlisted as an ambulance driver and participated in November 1914 in the Battle of Ypres.
His health was deteriorating rapidly. During his convalescence he painted the war in its everyday life, an ordeal without liberty and without honors. In France conscription was obligatory : the soldiers had not chosen the heroism. Nevinson alternatively uses several modernist techniques but his images tell the same anonymous story as the photos brought home by the poilus.
On November 21 in London, Sotheby's sells A Dawn (1914), oil on canvas 57 x 48 cm painted in 1916, lot 5 estimated £ 700K. This painting appeared at the Leicester Gallery in the fall of 1916 in a solo exhibition applauded by Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw.
The French troops in march occupy the whole width of the street. No spectator cheers them and there is no flag in the windows. The scene is punctuated by the positions of the bayonets. The faces of the first ranks are differentiated. From the fifth rank this crowd forms the cubist mosaic of the multitude of the unknown soldiers.
1916 Standing Nude by Munch
2020 SOLD for $ 2.06M including premium
1916 The Kindness of Helene Schjerfbeck
2015 SOLD for £ 870K including premium
The health of the artist was poor. She could not marry, gave up teaching and had an uneventful life in Finland with her mother. She remains attentive to modern art and favors after Cézanne the expressive colors instead of the line. After Lautrec, she likes to paint her canvas in pastel-like hues.
On December 16 in London, Sotheby's sells an oil on canvas 57 x 45 cm painted in 1916, lot 10 estimated £ 500K.
The sitter is a young neighbor of the artist in Hyvinkää, a quiet town famous for its sanatorium near Helsinki. She is reading with some attention. The diaphanous colors perfectly express the long blonde hair and the whiteness of the face of this young Scandinavian beauty.
This painting is a good example of the originality of the art of Schjerfbeck, halfway between empathy towards children and peaceful internalisation.
I invite you to watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
1916 Babe Ruth with The Sporting News
2021 SOLD for $ 940K including premium
The MLB rookie card of the future super-champion, published in 1916, is much more satisfactory. He was caught in action, watching where is the ball which he just threw. He has not yet retrieved his balance and the slightly angled view makes him appear slimmer than life. The monochrome sepia print is very neat. He is already identified by his famous nickname 'Babe Ruth'.
Who produced this legendary image? Original inscriptions are absent, which is often the case when the publisher's main clients are companies that use the back side for their advertising. The Sporting News is not the editor but one of such advertisers, like the Standard Biscuit Company. The real author appears to be a Chicago photographer named Felix Mendelsohn, almost a namesake of the musician.
The American Card Catalog, which defined the denominations of all series in 1939, did a commendable job but without resolving such ambiguities. So Babe Ruth's rookie card is in the M101-4 and M101-5 series with a Sporting News or blank back and D350 with a Biscuit back. The three series have about 200 positions each. The Ruth card has the number 151 in all three. M101-5 may be earlier than M101-4.
Still worse : the denomination M101, from -1 to -7, gathers alongside -4 and -5 Sporting News supplements and postcards plus photos later published under an FM copyright, although no other joint operation between the magazine and Mendelsohn is known.
A M101-5-151 with blank back rated NM 7 by PSA was sold for $ 720K including premium by Heritage on August 27, 2016. A M101-4-151 with The Sporting News back graded VG+ 3.5 by SGC was sold for $ 440K including premium by Heritage on February 28, 2021.
An M101-4-151 also with The Sporting News back, graded EX-MT 6 by PSA, is lot 1 in the online sale by Memory Lane which ends on March 20. The auction record for this type was reached almost three weeks before closing.