See also : Léger
Le Grand Déjeuner by LEGER
The human figure returns into his art. His world is now flat : the juxtaposition of mingled figurative forms creates the emotion. In 1920 the series of eight paintings titled La Femme au miroir and Les Femmes à la toilette starts this anti-Cubist style by one of the former Cubist pioneers.
2005 SOLD for $ 4.8M by Christie's
1921 La Tasse de Thé, final version
2009 SOLD for € 11.5M by Christie's
Painted in 1921, la Tasse de thé (cup of tea), also designated by the artist as the Cup of chocolate, offers a striking contrast between the naked woman, whose flesh is pale, and surrounding objects in bright colors. This fat woman has not been chosen for any aesthetic feature: simply, she is the modern woman as conceived by the artist.
The final 92 x 65 cm version of the Tasse de Thé sub-theme was sold for € 11.5M by Christie's on February 23, 2009, lot 38 in the sale of the Saint-Laurent - Bergé collection. Otis annotated by the artist as the final version.
1921 La Tasse de Thé, draft version
2010 SOLD for $ 8.1 M by Christie's
1921 Le Grand Déjeuner
2018 SOLD for $ 19.4M by Christie's
On the simple theme of the idle or quiet life of the new women, Léger has modified all iconographic conventions, in search of a balance between bright colors and forms stylized in thick lines. The anonymity of the figures reduces the narration, the intimate emotion is prevailing. The final version completed in 1922 measures 184 x 252 cm. It is kept at the MoMA.
The woman on the right side has the same attitude as the character of la Tasse de thé
L'Artiste et le Modèle Nu
2014 SOLD £ 6.8M by Christie's
In his hotel room, he watches the perfect curves of naked women. For most of his career, Matisse used successively in long durations models who were young enough to be perfect.
On June 24, 2014, Christie's sold for £ 6.8M an oil on canvas 60 x 73 cm titled L'Artiste et le modèle nu, lot 7. Please watch the video shared by Christie's.
Antoinette sits at the center of the image. It is probably one of her last poses for Matisse, when she becomes pregnant in April 1921. She looks pensive but is perhaps only bored.
Far left, Henri gently clothed with his pajamas is at work. His hand runs the brush on the canvas. He looks at the nude woman with attention. The narrow room also offers opportunities for lines, curves and soft colors. The location in Nice is symbolized by the palm tree visible through the window.
The distance between the two characters excludes eroticism but not sensuality. The professional work of the artist is not disturbing Henri's married life. It is quite possible that the choice by Matisse of this theme of bearded artist and nude woman has inspired Picasso, who without hesitation crossed the limits of lust.
Les Régates de Nice by Matisse
2017 SOLD for $ 16.6M by Christie's
On November 13, 2017, Christie's sold for $ 16.6M from a lower estimate of $ 12M Les Régates de Nice, oil on canvas 81 x 65 cm painted in spring 1921, lot 18 A.
According to the taste of the artist, this painting is well balanced both as an interior and exterior scene with the pleasant colors of the Midi, from the vase of flowers on the table to the small white sails of the regatta on the deep blue sea.
Two quiet young women enliven this intimate scene. Standing in the window, the very young Henriette is the new favorite model of the artist, succeeding in this role to Antoinette who is pregnant. She looks at the sea. Her long skirt and her hair cut in the bowl are typical of the fashion of the roaring twenties.
From the beginning of their collaboration the friendship is deep between the nice Henriette and the Matisse family. The other woman on the balcony is Marguerite, Henri's daughter, less visible, curled up in a large armchair because of her fragile health.
1921 Belle Haleine by Duchamp
2009 SOLD for € 8.9M by Christie's
In 1913 (I like that year in the history of art), Duchamp invented the ready-made, to recover a usual object and to present it as a work of art signed with an outlandish pseudonym. The first ready-made is a bicycle wheel.
Duchamp was also a fan of coining multiple puns with hidden meaning in French and English. LHOOQ is a ready-made of Mona Lisa, with a moustache and a barbichette, 1919.
The following year, seeking a pseudonym to sign his ready-mades, Duchamp built Rrose Selavy, whose main meaning is "Eros, c'est la vie" (Eros is Life). To give a life to Rrose, the artist is photographed as a woman.
A ready-made for Rrose Selavy, dated 1921, is titled Belle Haleine - Eau de Voilette (literally Beautiful Breath - Veil Water), it is a perfume bottle and its box. Duchamp changed the label, now decorated with a portrait of Rrose Selavy by Man Ray. The wit in art is so rare ... that we can really consider this work as exceptional.
Coming from the Saint-Laurent - Bergé collection, it was sold for € 8.9M from a lower estimate of € 1M by Christie's on February 23, 2009.
1921 The Red Prince Mare by Munnings
2004 SOLD for $ 7.8M by Sotheby's
Munnings would not appreciate that his work is discussed as modern art, a genre he castigated when he reached the position of President of the Royal Academy of Art.
Yet the attitudes of his race horses in action are much more beautiful than those of his former colleagues, like Herring in his country or de Dreux in France.
J.H. "Jock" Whitney was a great owner of racehorses. His collection of paintings, sold by Sotheby's on May 5, 2004, included two masterpieces on this theme. The Red Prince Mare, oil on canvas 102 x 152 cm painted by Munnings in 1921, was sold for $ 7.8M. Les Courses au Bois de Boulogne, painted by Manet in 1872, six years before the decomposition of the gallop by Muybridge, was sold for $ 26.3M.
1921 Homme et Femme by Picasso
2013 SOLD for $ 6.3M by Christie's
On April 8, Pablo displays this new adult responsibility in a large pastel titled Homme et Femme, 105 x 74 cm. Both characters are nude, sitting side by side, each one with crossed feet, as if watching that television which was not yetinvented. They are as chaste as Adam and Eve before the apple.
What is important is their presence and attitude. The head is a rudimentary and reduced trapezoid and the square shoulders remind the desires of geometry from the previous decade.
We do not know who they are. The man is too tall to be a self-portrait of the artist. In a totally opposite drawing style, they are the successors of the acrobats of the blue period, occupied with the mystery and the constraints of their own lives.
This drawing was sold for $ 5.3M by Sotheby's on November 2, 2010 and for $ 6.3M by Christie's on May 8, 2013, lot 38.
1921 Merzbild by Schwitters
2021 SOLD for € 5.3M by Sotheby's
The forms are intuitive but not arbitrary. The search for balance, tension and rhythm matches the researches of early abstract painters such as Léger. The elements from everyday life brings an effect of slight relief.
The wheel is a reference to the Dada circles, here beside a laundry button, a rusty can lid and a bright chocolate candy wrapper. The texts of the newspapers have been selected by the artist for their social meaning, making of such works the witnesses of post war Germany.
It was sold for € 5.3M from a lower estimate of € 2.5M by Sotheby's on October 26, 2021, lot 3.
The artist also tried his hand to phonetic poetry.
#AuctionUpdate La vente Modernités s'ouvre le deuxième plus haut prix pour l'artiste atteint par 'Ohne Titel (Dein Trefrischer)' de Kurt Schwitters. Ce 'Merzbild', incontestablement l’un des tableaux de l’artiste les plus remarquables à apparaître sur le marché, emporte 5,3 M€. pic.twitter.com/RsmP2efMSV— Sotheby's France (@SothebysFr) October 26, 2021