Qing and 1933 - The Greatest Jadeite Necklace
2014 SOLD 214 MHK$ including premium
The Qing greatly encouraged the work of jade, and their seals in white or green jade are among the masterpieces of their time. The emerald green jadeite was also used in jewelry.
Despite the troubles in the China of the later Qing, the most important sets of jade beads were not mixed or separated. The main quality of a necklace is the homogeneity of its beads. Any change in color, transparency or texture is a lack of taste, and for that purpose the beads must have been carved from a single boulder.
The prestige of jade reached the Western world. A lot of 27 big jadeite beads, between 15.4 and 19.2 mm in diameter, is included in 1933 in the inventory of Cartier. It is mounted in the same year by Cartier as a necklace with a clasp in ruby and diamond, to be offered as a wedding gift to the wealthy Barbara Hutton by her father. As Christina Onassis later, Barbara Hutton had a difficult life. The husband's family kept the precious necklace.
Considered as the greatest jadeite necklace in existence, this jewel twice won the highest auction price in its category : HK $ 15.6 million in 1988 and HK $ 33M in 1994. It is estimated in excess of HK $ 100M, for sale by Sotheby's in Hong Kong on April 7, lot 1847.
For comparison, a necklace of 35 jadeite beads 12.5 to 15 mm in diameter, also equipped with a clasp by Cartier, was sold for HK $ 43M including premium by Sotheby's on April 7, 2010.
POST SALE COMMENT
Pieces that are unique in their kind have no predictable price. The result, HK $ 214M including premium, rewards an extraordinary necklace.
1933 Painting Assassinated
2017 SOLD for $ 23.4M including premium
For the surrealists this trend is an inadmissible drift. Miro does not agree with the communist affiliations of the group. The break is snarling. When Miro announced to Tériade in 1930 that he wanted to assassinate the painting, it meant that he desired to define a new art, alone, without the influence of any past or present school.
For the next two years he tries collages that do not satisfy him. In early 1933 in his mother's apartment in Barcelona, he defines a two-step process for a homogeneous series of 18 artworks. He prepares 18 maquettes by gluing folded or crumpled papers. Each oil on canvas will be inspired by one of these models without being a copy. The title "Peinture" is reused for this series.
This post-Dadaist process may seem complex compared to direct painting. Miro knows that his imagination is unlimited. He probably wanted to bring a guide for avoiding any figuration. He expresses his subconscious by a composition similar to the 1927 Peintures except that the spots inspired by the collages are brightly colored, appearing as abstract objects floating ahead of the night.
A Peinture 146 x 115 cm made in 1933 was sold for $ 11M including premium by Christie's on May 8, 2013. An oil on canvas 130 x 162 cm from this series of Peintures is estimated $ 18M for sale by Christie's in New York on November 13, lot 31 A.
The Constellations painted in response to the outbreak of World War II are similar in design to the Peintures of 1927 and 1933. The dream of the starry night is now confessed by the artist and the mythical theme of the constellation brings some figuration.
1933 Supercomplication for the Use of New York
2014 SOLD for CHF 23.2M including premium
By 1900, the Palmer specimen was a pocket watch with minute repeater, months, days of the week, split-second chronograph, grande and petite sonnerie and the phases of the moon.
James Ward Packard, the car industrialist, was one of the most demanding customers of Patek Philippe. In 1916, he obtained a pocket watch with sixteen complications, and in 1927 he had a celestial chart added to nine other complications in a single watch.
When Packard died in 1928, the New York banker Henry Graves Jr. had already ordered the world's most complicated pocket watch, with 24 complications divided into two dials including the night time sky from New York City.
Completed in 1932, the Supercomplication is a unique piece for which Patek Philippe had mobilized their best specialists. The assembly of its 920 components in a case 74 mm in diameter and 36 mm thick is a technical feat that will remain unmatched until the era of computer-aided design.
The Supercomplication was delivered to Graves on 19 January 1933 for CHF 60K, nearly five times the price of the ultimate Packard watch. It was sold for $ 11M including premium by Sotheby's on December 2, 1999. It is for sale by Sotheby's in Geneva on November 11, lot 345.
I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's.
1933 A New Strategy for Alfa Romeo
2016 SOLD for $ 12M including premium
This car had been sold for $ 6.7M including premium by the same auction house at lot 117 on August 15, 2010 and had been discussed at that time in this column. It had been illustrated in the article shared by Sports Car Digest
This Alfa Romeo is in an original condition which is quite rare for a car from that time, including its matching number engine and a great traceability of the other elements.
The nickname Monza originally applied to the short chassis version of the 8C 2300 since a victory in the Italian Grand Prix in the first year of the model in 1931.
The build of many early Monzas had been entrusted to Scuderia Ferrari which was a subsidiary of Alfa Romeo. It is not the case for the car for sale which is a rare factory built of 1933 coachworked by Brianza. It belongs to the third series when the 8C 2300 Monza had become a regular variant with a further shortened frame.
1933 had been a pivotal year for Alfa Romeo.
The 8C 2300 model begins to be replaced by the 8C 2600. Alfa Romeo goes under the effective control of the Fascist government desiring to make it a flagship of Italian industry. The brand does not maintain any more a works racing team despite the great success of the two previous years and a repositionment of the Scuderia Ferrari will be necessary.
Please watch the video shared by Gooding.
1933 Miro, Poet of Painting
2013 SOLD 11 M$ including premium
A "peinture" by Miro remained unsold on February 8, 2012 at Sotheby's on an estimate of £ 7M. It appears again at auction, now at Christie's with an estimate of $ 10M. I repeat here below the discussion of last year, updated with the identification of the next sale.
Miro was the poet of art, admired by the Surrealists in the early days of their movement. The independence of hiscreative process would however be disagreed in the group.
In 1933 he played with colored paper, featuring them on surfaces, creating shapes connected by lines, and at the end glueing them. Miro's collages are a new artistic language unrelated to the Cubist researches of dispositioning plans. Once the collage done, he painted the same forms on fairly large canvas.
The poet knew how to excite the imagination by the choice of the title of the painting. The oil on canvas, 146 x 115cm, for sale by Christie's in New York on May 8, has an evocative title. It is simply "Peinture". If there were a suprematism in poetry, Miro would be its champion.
Really, this is nothing but a painting. Something like a Kandinsky without hidden semiotic intentions. The observer never had as much freedom as in the abstract works of Miro. If he wants to see something other than a painting, hecan, and the artist wishes that he does it. The success of the exhibition of Peintures of Miro by Pierre Matisse in NewYork was dazzling.
POST SALE COMMENT
Sold $ 11M including premium, near the lower estimate, this "peinture" came back to its fair price.
1933 Double Eagle
2002 SOLD 7.6 M$ including premium by Sotheby's and Stack's
narrated in 2020
The crisis had lasted since 1924 and the production of eagles and double eagles was considerably slowed down. The production of the 312,500 eagles of 1933 was finished before April 5 and this denomination was legal at that time. The production of the double eagles, which was in progress, was not interrupted.
On September 13, 1934, all gold coins in federal stocks were declared obsolete (uncurrent). In the following month two 1933 double eagles were sent to the Smithsonian for the National Collection as non-monetized samples. 445,469 pieces were in the vaults. This stock was melted in 1937.
Ten pieces escaped that melting, certainly stolen by the cashier of the Mint who was jailed in 1940 for another scam. All of them were recovered and destroyed by the government except one that King Farouk had managed to acquire in 1944. The King had obtained for this piece an export license issued by the Secretary of the Treasury, either simply by mistake or to please the King. This license being federal, the Farouk specimen became the only 1933 double eagle with some legal US status.
Removed at the request of the US government from the auction of the Farouk collections in 1954, the double eagle resurfaced in 1996, brought to New York by an English dealer. He was caught in the act by the FBI during his negotiations with his American customer.
The coin of the English dealer was the specimen which had been legally exported for Farouk. A judicial compromise was found in 2001. The double eagle was listed for auction on July 20, 2002 by Sotheby's and Stack's. In order to declare for the first time the official release of this specific coin, the buyer was required to pay to the federal government its face value of $ 20 in addition to the auction. It was sold for $ 7,590,020 including premium. Here is the link to the catalog in the website of Stack's Bowers, successor to Stack's.
1930s A Simple Pink Nude
2016 SOLD for HK$ 59M including premium
Sanyu is a great innovator, probably influenced by Modigliani's nudes. He fully materializes the idea of the dominance of a sharp line. To draw the body, he favors the undulating lines and removes the unnecessary details. He lengthens torso and legs, and deliberately shrinks the head which is not interesting him.
Sanyu was a fiercely independent temperament, like Soutine. There is no doubt that he preferred his art to the fame but he also needed money and his demands went to weary his dealer Henri-Pierre Roché who broke their relationship in 1932.
Largely from Roché, Sanyu had understood the expressive qualities of oil painting. On October 3 in Hong Kong, Poly sells as lot 133 a pink nude painted by Sanyu in the 1930s. This oil on board 47 x 82 cm had been sold for HK $ 14M including premium by Sotheby's on 4 October 2010, lot 277.
The woman is lying on her back on a white blanket with floral pattern. She is quietly sleeping with arms around her head and with tight legs. This nearly monochromatic composition is overwhelmed by the vivid pink flesh of this Parisian woman with a blonde hair.
1930s Sanyu after La Grande Chaumière
2019 SOLD for HK$ 50M including premium
Two events mark his maturity. He is married from 1928 to 1931. His cooperation with the collector and dealer Henri-Pierre Roché lasts from 1929 to 1932. During this period of great creativity, Sanyu paints oils on canvases on a variety of themes.
His vision of women's bodies changes radically at that time, from sensuality to mystical idealization. These women remain models as at the time of the Grande Chaumière. They have no psychological dimension, and are most often lying on the back or reclining. They offer the beauty of their bare skin while sleeping, like Marie-Thérèse for Picasso. Realism of proportions no longer matters.
These nudes are white and then pink. They are placed on a carpet like starfish on the beach. The rugs are often decorated with small Chinese-style drawings, probably to reveal the origin of the artist. The contours of the body become thinner and the contrasts of colors take on pastel shades.
Sanyu rarely dated his works. A reclining nude 81 x 130 cm painted in 1931 is perhaps one of the earliest in its style if we consider the garish color of the carpet. It was sold for HK $ 16.3M including premium by Sotheby's on October 3, 2011.
A Pink nude on floral sheet painted on panel 46 x 82 cm shows a better maturity. It was sold for HK $ 59M including premium by Poly on October 3, 2016.
In a very similar style, an oil on canvas 45 x 81 cm titled Nu Rose sur Tissus Chinois is estimated HK $ 35M for sale by Sotheby's in Hong Kong on October 5, lot 1030. It had belonged to Roché, which does not allow to identify if it was acquired before or after the quarrel of 1932.
1933 A Convertible by Bohman and Schwartz
2018 SOLD for $ 3.85M including premium
I narrated it as follows in 2016. The short video shared by Mecum was released before the 2016 sale.
Born into a family of industrialists of the lumber, Walter M. Murphy sought fortune in California. In 1920 he opened a coachbuilding shop in Pasadena by relying on the professional experience of one of his associates. He had no competitor for luxury cars in the area and became the provider of Duesenberg cars to the wealthy Hollywood residents.
An advised businessman, Murphy had therefore no specific training nor a sustained vocation for car bodies. The very sudden termination of his company in April 1932 is not related to the economic crisis because the backlog was abundantly filled. Murphy had lost a lot of money in an investment and felt the need to change his activities. He will become in the following year a major dealer for the Standard Oil Company.
The buyer of his workshop is unable to maintain the business. This is an opportunity for two former employees of Murphy, Bohman and Schwartz, to join their skills for processing the contracts unfinished by their former boss and for proposing the transformation of bodyworks from all brands.
The actress Marie Dressler briefly owned a convertible sedan assembled by LeBaron on a Duesenberg Model J long wheelbase which was the top end as a luxury chassis at that time. Her car was bought in 1933 by the film producer and director Roy Del Ruth.
Much younger than Dressler, Del Ruth expects a more modern look. He commissions to Bohman and Schwartz the transformation of his Duesenberg into a roasdster. This specific order makes this car the only example of a Model J LWB convertible coupe by B and S.
(exhibited 1933) The Head of the Ancestor
2017 SOLD for € 2.63M including premium
Full length bodies referred to family ancestors although their naturalistic appearance does not constitute recognizable portraits. They were used in ceremonies. Heads are rarer and had a more intimate ritual role. Coated with oil and powder, they were more likely designed to communicate with the primordial ancestor.
The Fang head for sale by Sotheby's in Paris on December 12 has a great history of provenance and exhibition at the time when that type of work was rightly considered as the best demonstration of the virtuosity of African artists. Louis Carré exhibited it in Paris in 1933. He sent it and commented on it in 1935 for the seminal exhibition of African art at the MoMA, also indicating the name of the collector who had brought it back from Gabon.
It retains a patina of use as well as traces of erosion created by ritual sampling. The curves are perfect without chisel error. This piece is estimated € 1,5M, lot 24.
Despite its naturalistic beauty it cannot be identified if this figure is a beardless man or a woman. The braid hairstyle does not close this issue in the Fang culture. It is likely that this ambiguity was voluntary and may be related to the ancient African tradition of hermaphroditic interpretation of the primordial ancestor.
Please watch the short video shared by Sotheby's.
@SothebysFr #Exposition #vente #enchère Tête Fang, Gabon. Socle de Kichizô Inagaki. Des provenances fabuleuses puisque collections Louis Carré, Charles Ratton, Gaston de Havenon, Claude Berri. Elle fut présentée à la mythique exposition @MuseumModernArt #NewYork @SophieDufresne pic.twitter.com/XDZZB9QNMS— lecurieuxdesarts (@PresseKraemer) December 8, 2017
1933 The Cosmopolitan Smile of Amrita Sher-Gil
2015 SOLD for $ 2.9M including premium
The artistic skill of Amrita was very early. A landscape in the Hungarian countryside, painted in 1931 when she was 18, was sold for $ 610K including premium by Saffronart on September 19, 2012. Painted in the following year, a conversation between a young Hindu girl (perhaps a self -portrait) and a young blonde was sold for Rs 35 million including premium by Osian's on January 31, 2007.
On the initiative of an uncle, Amrita studies art in Paris from 1929 to 1934. She admires Gauguin's tribute to the beauty of Tahitian women. In the Art Déco period, she also retains the expressive power of stylization, which will be increasingly visible in her own style after she returned to India in 1934.
On March 18 in New York, Sotheby's sells a self-portrait signed Rita, oil on canvas 46 x 33 cm painted in 1933 while she had her summer time in Hungary. Aged 20, Amrita shows herself as a welcoming and even enticing young woman, with her direct gaze, broad smile and heavily reddened lips.
Less known internationally than Frida Kahlo, Amrita is one of the women who best appreciated and influenced the avant-garde of her time. She is one of the nine artists whose works were classified National Art Treasures in 1972 by an official act of the Government of India, leading to a ban on the permanent leaving of any of her works.
The arrival at auction of this self-portrait is a highly rare event, even when considering that it had been painted in Europe. It is estimated $ 1.2 million, lot 1336.
I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's :