1924 Henriette in the Studio
2014 SOLD 19.2 M$ including premium
The war also had left its mark. This is the period of the come back of Matisse, Picasso, Derain, Vlaminck to classic styles. Matisse focuses on the theme of the timeless woman, in the nude and as an odalisque.
Picasso works mostly by imagination, but Matisse paints from nature. He gets as a model and assistant a young woman with perfect curves and proportions, Henriette Darricarrère, who works with him from 1920 to 1927. She loved music and art and Matisse encouraged her artistic talents.
This happy period of creation in the beautiful light of the Côte d' Azur has the effect of making the art of Matisse loved by the public who ever prefers simple drawings and bright colors and does not reject the use of visible geometric patterns.
On May 7 in New York, Sotheby's sells La séance du matin (the morning session), oil on canvas 74 x 61 cm painted in 1924, lot 8 of the catalog, estimated $ 20M.
Henriette busy to paint is dutifully sitting in front of another chair used as an easel. She turns her back to the window through which the clear blue of the sky and the bright blue of the Mediterranea can be seen. Her garment that is undoubtedly a night dress has vertical stripes that clash with the louvered window shutter, creating the strong point of the composition and drawing the attention to the character.
1924 Nude and Color by Matisse
2010 SOLD 15.1 M$ including premium
The main subject of the paintings by Matisse is the harmony of colors. Inspired by the interior design, he does not follow the way of Van Gogh, Gauguin or the Blaue Reiter. He assembles some themes where the observer does not contradict his choice of colors, such as fabrics, wallpaper or vases.
The buyer who paid € 36 million for a simple still life of flowers, 1911, 81 x 65 cm, had understood that the work of Matisse was one of the founding principles of the art of the twentieth century. This result was the highest price in the Yves Saint-Laurent sale, in February 2009 at Christie's.
The drawing of female nude was another specialty of the artist, also well-popularized in prints. The sharp and precise curves give life to the subject with great clarity.
Painted in 1924, a sitting nude with a blue cushion is a synthesis of all of this. The woman is well proportioned (which is not always the case in the works of this master) and the realistic color of the flesh is highlighting the background of the apartment. The model is caught in a moment of trust and relaxation, arms crossed above her head, one leg lifted.
This attractive and friendly oil on canvas, 72 x 58 cm, is estimated $ 20 million, for sale at Christie's in New York on May 4.
It is confirmed that there is a direct relationship between the arts of painting and of drawing in the work of Matisse! The black and white print entitled Nu au coussin bleu près d'une cheminée (Nude with blue cushion near a fireplace) had an almost identical drawing as that of our oil. A copy of this lithograph of 1925, image size 64 x 48 cm, was sold today, March 31, 54 K £ including premium at Christie's in London.
This information that I found by chance on the web reinforces my opinion about the importance of the painting which will go into auction on May 4.
POST SALE COMMENT
This painting has remained far below its estimate: it was sold $ 15.1 million including premium. It may have been disadvantaged by its small size.
1924 Le Piège by Miro
2021 SOLD for £ 5.3M by Christie's
Miro already considers his work to be anti-art, at the opposite of all conventions. He renounces all realism to express lyricism. His landscapes are populated with figures stylized like children's drawings. The eye is attracted by a few splashes of color on a pale monochrome background.
In 1924 his preoccupation is pornographic. He is 31 years old and needs a woman. He develops the symbol of the man-tree, which is a link between ground and sky. The roots are replaced by bare legs and buttocks with a working sex. The arms are replaced by small side branches. The top of the figure is a mix between head and sun, with a single eye and cat whiskers.
Le Piège, painted in Mont-Roig during the summer of 1924, is a demonstrator of the new style. The work is preceded by a preparatory drawing which facilitates its deciphering. The trap on the beach is a kind of lobster rack in the shape of a female sex. It is beyond the reach of the sperm stream but awaits the rabbit and the hen which are walking in the foreground like innocent victims.
Breton is delighted. He immediately acquires the painting that he would keep throughout his life. This 92 x 73 cm oil, charcoal and graphite on canvas was sold for £ 5.3M including premium by Christie's on March 23, 2021, lot 115.
The surrealist influence faded in the following year with the first abstract works, sometimes overwritten with a short poem. As early as 1926, a work by Miro and Ernst for the Ballets Russes was considered a bourgeois drift by the surrealists and their communist friends. Miro will keep his creative autonomy intact.
1924 Slave and Lion by Xu Beihong
2006 SOLD for HK$ 54M by Christie's
His major discoveries at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts were the oil painting, the mythological themes, the nude and the post-Romantic realism of the Orientalistes. He did not miss to send reports to Beijing University.
This approach was unprecedented for a Chinese artist. A very early example is a Sleeping Venus in the nude, oil on canvas 62 x 95 cm completed in 1921, sold by Sotheby's for HK$ 47M on April 3, 2016.
Xu's first empathy with a fully grown male lion was in 1922 at the Berlin Tiergarten. The king of animals was the perfect symbol of the popular Chinese spirit in the early years of the Republic, right and proud despite the wounds. Lion and horse will be Xu's preferred themes throughout the rest of his career.
Slave and Lion, oil on canvas 123 x 153 cm painted in the year 13 of the Republic, 1924 CE, is the masterpiece of Xu and of the new reciprocal influences of Chinese and Western art. It is highly rare because it was in 1941 among the 40 important oil artworks that Xu lost forever and believed destructed after the Japanese entered Singapore. It is one of very few that have resurfaced after his death.
The theme previously used by Gérôme is in the first act of the Roman fable of Androclus. The lion is back to its den with a bleeding wound at its paw. Unknown to the animal, a fugitive slave had taken this cave as a shelter. Xu managed a chiaroscuro effect between the very dark foreground with the frightened man and the bright light on the animal.
The end of the first act, not shown in the painting, is soothing. Androclus managed to remove the thorn. The grateful lion will in its turn save the man a few years later when condemned to the wild beast in the Roman Colosseum. Xu had indeed painted the theme of the force generated by a suitable association of two disabled characters who both had needed help. The lush landscape indeed symbolises the Chinese rebirth.
Slave and Lion was sold for HK $ 54M by Christie's on November 26, 2006, lot 181, and passed at Christie's on May 24, 2021.
1924 Meat for Wild Men by Charles M. Russell
2008 SOLD for $ 4.05M by The Coeur d'Alene Art Auction
This sculpture cast in 1924 is titled Meat for Wild Men. It stages two Indians on horseback attacking livestock.
1924 All Colors by Cartier
2015 SOLD for $ 2.6M including premium
The lot 364, estimated $ 1.8M, is a pendant-necklace made in 1924 on a design by Charles Jacqueau, creative director of Cartier jewelry since 1911. The Asian origin of the finest stones is highlighted by the floral motifs in Mughal style on the three elements of the pendant, a sapphire linking two emeralds. The necklace is made of sapphires and lapis lazuli.
This jewel was made for the baronne de Rothschild, acclaimed as one of the best dressed women in the inter-war Paris. Considered as a masterpiece, it has often been described and photographed.
In 1925, a new theme is introduced by Cartier at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs. A tight vegetable pattern in rubies, emeralds and diamonds is assembled on the whole length of a bracelet or a necklace. The tutti frutti wording that so perfectly describes this new jewelry will however not be introduced before 1970. Perfectly original and recognizable, the tutti frutti is one of the greatest achievements of Cartier.
The lot 356, estimated $ 1.3M, is a tutti frutti bracelet made around 1928. The diamonds form a branched rod to which red fruits and green leaves seem to be hooked. The jewel is embellished with black enamel.
RESULTS INCLUDING PREMIUM :
Mughal inspired necklace : $ 2.6M.
Tutti frutti bracelet : $ 1.63M
1923-1924 The Modern Religieuse
2018 SOLD for $ 2.17M including premium
Pierre Chareau is an architect, furniture designer and art lover. He is little known at that time because he preferred to work for a circle of friends. He seeks to combine simplicity of form and functionality, without fearing the technical difficulties. In 1923 he designed two resolutely innovative models of furniture, the Table Eventail equipped with rotating trays and the Lampe Religieuse.
The Religieuse is a floor lamp 1.80 m high. The tall tapered base made of a single sheet of folded metal is a technical feat of the blacksmith Louis Dalbet. The alabaster shade looks like a complex shape although it is composed of only four identical triangles oriented in staggered rows.
This model was probably inspired by the cubist sculptures of Lipchitz. The resemblance of the lampshade with a nun's cornet may be unintentional but it has given an easy identification and a lasting fame to this unprecedented model.
The metal base is made in very small quantities in 1923 and 1924. The exact figure is not known. One of these lamps is estimated $ 800K for sale by Christie's in New York on June 20, lot 11.
The later production is in wood. The Chwast collection included a pair in mahogany dissociated by Sotheby's on November 21, 2016 for € 1.08M and 850K including premium over lower estimates of € 300K each.
The Exposition Internationale takes place in 1925. Its influence is considerable with in parallel the craze for the Art Déco style and the path to modernism. Chareau participates reluctantly, regretting that luxury dominates over mass production. He is thus a predecessor of Jean Prouvé.
The theories of Le Corbusier appear at that exhibition. For stating the inseparable character of architecture and furniture, he defines them jointly as a machine to live in. Chareau, Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray, Francis Jourdain and Auguste Perret invented the modern furniture around 1925 in Paris.
1924 A Paravent at Jean Désert
2020 SOLD for $ 2.14M including premium
There is also no limit in the variety of the furnishings. The panels which in 1913 attracted the attention of Jacques Doucet are followed by folding screens in Japanese fashion. The figurative motifs are soon replaced by increasingly minimalist abstractions, according to the trends in painting at that time including Mondrian and the De Stijl group.
The culmination of this phase is the openwork screen Briques, designed in 1922 or 1923, which will be a lasting success. Among the earliest examples in black lacquered wood, an eleven column Briques 2.15 m high was sold for £ 1.5M including premium by Phillips on April 27, 2016 and a seven column Briques 1.96 m high for € 1.35M including premium by Christie's on March 29, 2011.
In 1922 Eileen Gray feels the need to increase her commercial visibility. She opens a shop rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré as Galerie Jean Désert. She did not explain how she coined that name.
A photo published in 1924 shows a screen at Jean Désert. This piece is composed of six panels 2 m x 43 cm x 1.5 cm in dark brown lacquered wood with a minimalist decoration of irregular horizontal lines and commas made with silver foils and by incisions. This model, probably designed shortly before the Briques, was not successful : only one replica is known, with a geometry in the manner of De Stijl.
The screen remained at Jean Désert until the gallery closed in 1930. It was sold for $ 1.87M including premium by Christie's on December 12, 2012, lot 32, and is estimated $ 1.5M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on December 9, lot 20.
1924 Pheasants for Jeanne Lanvin
2020 SOLD for $ 2M including premium
Trained at the Ecole Boulle, Rateau is both a decorator and a sculptor, he creates a bronze bestiary with simple shapes and smooth lines in the style of François Pompon, not following the modernist style of Rembrandt Bugatti.
Rateau features several birds in Lanvin's apartment. The legs of the guéridon are the very long tails of small birds. The copy which he had kept for his personal use, made circa 1922, was sold for € 3.04M including premium by Christie's on June 8, 2006.
The floor lamp is mounted on a base of four pheasants with their heads raised. Each pheasant is mounted on a ball. For the low table that can serve as a coffee table, the pheasants with their heads bowed, perched on the same balls, are at the four corners in a caryatid position, facing one another. The balls and tails are placed on the floor.
Rateau reuses for the Duchess of Alba the models of the floor lamp and of the low table. Her table, made in 1924, is similar to the Lanvin variant, with a hollow top and separate heads. It is 33 cm high with a floor area of 102 x 50 cm between the tails. It was sold for € 1.66M including premium by Christie's on May 23, 2013. In the same sale, the two floor lamps of the same provenance were sold for the same price, € 1.66M each.
A table made in 1924 in the Lanvin-Alba type was sold for $ 1.2M including premium by Christie's on December 17, 2015, lot 105. It is estimated $ 1M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on December 9, lot 8.
The table exhibited in 1925 at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs is a variant with a flat top. The bird's heads are closer to each other and joined by a daisy. An example was sold for € 2.03M including premium by Christie's on June 8, 2006.
#AuctionUpdate This masterful “Oiseaux” Low Table by Armand-Albert Rateau achieves $2 million to kick off #SothebysDesign Week auctions in #NYC. Only 2 other examples of this specific table are known to exist, created for famed couturier Jeanne Lanvin & the Duchess of Alba. pic.twitter.com/qWyKzCDIih— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) December 9, 2020
1924 The Mystery of the Iron Horse
2014 SOLD 1.93 M$ including premium
Charley was a cowboy before being an artist. Unlike Remington, he was not working as an illustrator and did not want to compromise with eastern American lifestyle. His wife Nancy seconded him to disclose his art.
The cowboy gradually understood the way of thinking of the Natives. He was resolutely hostile to the automobile considered as a danger to their fragile civilizations. His attitude concerning the railway is similar though less virulent.
On July 26 in Reno, The Coeur d'Alene Art Auction sells a watercolor 45 x 70 cm made in 1924 that perfectly illustrates the ambiguity of progress. Titled Trail of the Iron Horse, it is estimated $ 1.5 M. Here is the link to the website of the auction house.
A group of Indians is stopped by the rails crossing the prairie. The frightened horses do not dare jumping this barrier and we understand that their riders have similar doubts.
The artist shows the scene at sunrise or sunset. Painter and watercolorist, Charley was careful to use a wide range of beautiful colors despite the difficulties of supply in the remote areas where he had chosen to live.