Chronology : 19th century 1880-1889 1889 1890-1899 1890 1900-1909 1905 1907 1910-1919 1914 1919 1932 1940-1949
1889 Irises by Van Gogh
1987 SOLD for $ 54M including premium by Sotheby's, sale canceled in 1990
narrated in 2020
The first feeling is very good. His pictorial creation is a lightning rod which will protect him against his illness. He sets to work with a new enthusiasm. The garden of the former monastery is beautiful in the middle of spring, and perhaps later he will be able to walk in the Alpilles which he sees on the horizon.
The iris flowerbed attracts his attention. He paints at the very beginning of his stay with an obvious pleasure an oil on canvas 74 x 93 cm, apparently without preparatory drawing. The irises occupy the foreground, in a varied and stylized arrangement which is certainly inspired by the processing of close-ups and angles in Japanese prints. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
Vincent appreciated since Gauguin's stay at the Maison Jaune a few months earlier that the vividness of colors has become his best strength, and that flowers perfectly match it. The flowers of his irises are bright blue with the exception of one single white flower. This painting is a study of contrasts with the green leaves of the same plants, painted a little lighter than real, the orange flowers of the marigolds in the background and the ocher ground.
Theo is all the more amazed that happy impulses are very rare for Vincent in this tragic period. In September he exhibits this masterpiece alongside the Starry Night at the annual Salon of the Société des Artistes Indépendants.
Les Iris was sold for $ 54M including premium by Sotheby's on November 11, 1987, seven months after the record setting sale by Christie's of the Sunflowers by the same artist for the equivalent of $ 40M. It returned to the auction house for default of the winning bidder, an Australian businessman, and was acquired in 1990 by the J. Paul Getty Museum.
1890 Portrait du Dr Gachet by Van Gogh
1990 SOLD for 82.5 M$ including premium by Christie's
narrated in 2020
Gachet, 62, is a doctor, a psychiatrist and a friend of the artists. The subject of his doctoral thesis had been a study on melancholy. He advised several members of the Impressionist group on their health problems and had attempted to assist the engraver Charles Méryon in the final phase of his internment.
Vincent is surprised by their first meeting, during which he considers that Gachet is crazier than him. However, the doctor is skillful : in two days he gains the confidence of this hypersensitive artist.
For his art, Vincent seeks to express the deepest psychological aspects. He is still and always passionate about the examples of his predecessors, to better overcome them. He admires the expression of madness in the imaginary portrait by Delacroix of the poet Torquato Tasso in the madhouse of Ferrara.
The Portrait of Dr Gachet is an oil on canvas 67 x 56 cm painted in June 1890. Vincent commented on this work in a letter to his sister. He wanted to display the melancholy of his new friend while recognizing that his expression can be considered a grimace. He sums up his qualities in four words : Sad but gentle and yet clear and intelligent.
Gachet has his head resting on his right hand, allowing a diagonal composition of great expressive force. The face is drawn with the hard lines of the best works of Vincent. On the table, two bright yellow books balance the composition. A branch of digitalis, a medicinal herb, symbolizes Gachet's main activity.
The Portrait of Dr Gachet was sold for $ 82.5M including premium by Christie's on May 15, 1990. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1890 Wild Flowers for Dr Gachet
2014 SOLD for $ 62M including premium
In May 1890 Vincent moved into a room at the local inn in Auvers. He did not have a studio and regularly attended the home of Gachet, a friend of the Impressionists and Cézanne.
Since he is sick, Vincent is terrorized by the idea of failure and by the risk of a new crisis of dementia. With the energy of despair, he gives a new impetus to his old ambition to become the best painter of all time, the only one capable of a synthesis of all genres. Gachet has a painting by Cézanne showing a bouquet of flowers. Vincent wants to do better.
Spring brings forth the flowers into the fields. On November 4 in New York, Sotheby's sells an oil on canvas 66 x 50 cm painted by Vincent on 16 and 17 June 1890, lot 17 estimated $ 30M. Executed in the clear intention to thank Gachet for his help, this artwork shows a vase filled with daisies and poppies.
The composition is powerful and the colors are gorgeous, dominated in the center by the fiery red poppies. The groups of flowers shine like some characters within the ultimate tragedy of Vincent.
I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's :
1905 Garçon à la Pipe by Picasso
2004 SOLD for $ 104M including premium by Sotheby's
narrated in 2020
La Fillette, oil on canvas 155 x 66 cm, was sold for $ 115M including premium by Christie's on May 8, 2018. Le Garçon, oil on canvas 100 x 81 cm, was sold for $ 104M including premium by Sotheby's on May 5, 2004, lot 7.
The Garçon à la Pipe is a subtle blend of realism and dreamlike and, as such, will remain the archetype of the Période Rose. Dressed in blue overalls, the gloomy teenager is drawn in a fine line. The pipe marks his expectation of maturity. Picasso did not reveal his identity, because it is an allegory. He is however P'tit Louis, a boy from Montmartre who spent long hours watching the artists working at the Bateau-Lavoir.
The inspiration suddenly came to Picasso after a month of interruption of the work. In the blur of a dream, the character is positioned in front of a wallpaper with patterns of roses and wears a garland of flowers in his hair. A simultaneous use of a sharp image in a floral blur had also been attempted by Odilon Redon.
The little worker thus becomes a supernatural being. A relevant comparison was made with Verlaine's poem titled Crimen Amoris. In the dream of a delicious Orient where the seven sins supersede the five senses amidst the roses, the most handsome of the evil angels, indifferent to temptations and caresses, is a boy of sixteen who wears a crown of flowers. His ambition, annihilated at the end of the poem, was to be "the one who will create God".
1905 Water Landscapes
2015 SOLD for $ 54M including premium
The artist begins a synthesis of this new theme with his concern from the previous twenty years for the changing colors and reflections under various time and weather. He had the good fortune to catch in his own garden the most subtle theme of modern painting.
The paintings of the first year of the Nymphéas series are very rare on the art market. One of them, 81 x 100 cm, was sold for £ 18.5 million including premium by Sotheby's on 19 June 2007. In this close-up view, the edge of the pond is already off the field, also providing an impression of infinity that anticipates Mondrian.
In 1905, the water lilies are more sparse to offer a better role to reflections that became recognizable although the trees are still out of field. The plants form a floating cohort simulating a nice horizontal movement.
A view in clear weather under a gentle sun, oil on canvas 90 x 100 cm, was sold for $ 44M including premium by Christie's on November 7, 2012.
On May 5 in New York, Sotheby's sells an oil on canvas 81 x 100 cm, lot 30 estimated $ 30M. Also dated 1905, it shows the blocks at the water surface in an atmosphere of early or late hour providing a superb harmony of deep blues and greens.
1905 Monet overwhelmed by his Nymphéas
2012 SOLD 44 M$ including premium
Constable had been the painter of the wind. Monet was the artist of the water surface. After the development of Impressionism, the Nymphéas series is the second revolution brought about by Monet in art history.
In June 19, 2007, Sotheby's sold £ 18.5 million including premium an oil on canvas, 81 x 100 cm. Dated 1904, it demonstrates the first systematic experiments on this subject: the horizon disappears to let the water remaining alone in space. The green reflections are almost abstract, already.
The oil on canvas, 90 x 100 cm, for sale by Christie's in New York on November 7, is dated in the following year, 1905. The water lilies have a botanical accuracy, the more readable reflections are a better tribute to the pleasure of the garden. It is estimated $ 30M, and illustrated in the release shared by Artdaily.
Durand-Ruel was the first to understand and support the transformation of the art of Monet. In 1909, he assembled in an exhibition 48 Nymphéas by Monet, including the painting now for sale at Christie's. Through this unique theme, careful observers could detect the infinite variety of the artistic creation.
POST SALE COMMENT
By its date and quality, this painting is one of the most outstanding from the Nympheas series: $ 44M including premium.
1907 Flowers for the Woman
2017 SOLD for £ 48M including premium
The Klimt and Flöge families are closely linked. Gustav Klimt becomes the brother-in-law of Helene Flöge in 1891 and her tutor in the following year. Helene and her sister Emilie open a business of couture and fashion in Vienna in 1904. Emilie was Gustav's companion from 1891 until the artist's death in 1918.
The Schwestern Flöge workshop is experimenting with new garments for the Viennese avant-garde, including loose dresses hung from the shoulders without using a corset. The very famous blouses of Gustav Klimt, which give him such a neglected attitude according to the conceptions of today's fashion, proceed from the same trend.
The shape of the garment is not enough : women also deserve a shimmering decoration. Gustav observes trees and flowers as patterns of texture. Their bright colors were created by nature. Gustav does not cancel the shapes of the flowers. If he had, he would have been the first abstract artist.
Gustav reveals the woman's head as the only realistic element in his portraits. The body is hidden by an ample garment whose limits loosely overlap the background of the image and whose details are luxurious and colorful. Adele Bloch-Bauer I, oil on canvas 138 x 138 cm painted in 1907, was sold for $ 135M on June 18, 2006 in a private sale by Christie's to Ronald Lauder.
On March 1 in London, Sotheby's sells as lot 11 Bauerngarten, oil on canvas 110 x 110 cm painted in 1907 during the holidays of Gustav at the Attersee. Poppies, daisies and zinnias spread their colors in an endless meadow with no horizon. These flowers are dominated by a triangle of roses that confirms the artist's intention for the design of a dress.
Please watch the very short video shared by Sotheby's.
1914-1917 The New Water Lilies
2018 SOLD for $ 85M including premium
Based in Giverny since 1883 the artist wants to create a water garden. In 1894 he purchases from Latour-Marliac plants from 32 different species including a yellow Nymphaea created in 1888 and a pink Nymphaea created in 1892. His interest in these hybrids is not immediate but his curiosity increases.
These new water lilies will become the stars of his garden. Monet paints his first Nymphéas in 1895, displaying the plants on the water in close-up with a botanical accuracy on canvases less than 1 m wide.
The artist is delighted by his garden. In 1904 the nymphéa pond becomes one of his favorite themes. The water lilies float in a cohort, bringing in conjunction with the reflections a vision of the surface of the water. In the same year he buys four other hybrids to Latour-Marliac
1914 is a terrible year. His son Jean dies in February, less than three years after Alice. International relations are desperate. Fortunately his friend Georges Clemenceau pushes him back to work by suggesting the project of the Grandes Décorations.
This new phase includes a major modification in Monet's art, the use of large formats of canvas. He looks more closely at the details of the flowers in his garden. A group of giant iris at water's edge 200 x 100 cm was sold for £ 10.8M including premium by Christie's on June 23, 2015.
On May 8 in New York, Christie's sells as lot 10 Nymphéas en fleur, oil on canvas 140 x 180 cm painted in his signature style of 1914-1917. The large size enables here a synthesis of the two visions of the artist. Nine big flowers in five groups have retrieved the details of the earliest series while the leaves and reflections are positioning the surface of the water on the whole of this image with no horizon.
#LiveLikeARockefeller: ‘The closer you get to the canvas, the more you feel like you’re inside it. The rest of the world vanishes,’ says Rebecca Wei, our President of Christie’s Asia, of the Rockefellers’ ‘Nymphéas en fleur’ by Claude #Monet.https://t.co/mT8EnKHNAN pic.twitter.com/LrOsMEJU7F— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) April 24, 2018
1917-1919 Le Bassin aux Nymphéas by Monet
2021 SOLD for $ 70M by Sotheby's
This piece is an oil of canvas 100 x 200 cm, a panoramic format used by Monet in the middle preparation phase of Les Grandes Décorations, from 1917 to 1919, after he completed a barn-like studio for the specific purpose of doubling the size of his pictures.
In conjunction with the complete removal of both shore and horizon, the large size of the flowers indeed brings the impression of a very close view of the pond. This immersion is enhanced by the reflections of green trees and blue sky in the interstices between the groups of floating plants.
The emotion and the presence are brought by the arrangement of the increasingly vibrant colors while the topographic depiction becomes unnecessary. This opus had probably been prepared at the end of the 1917-1919 period. It is indeed a forerunner of the trend to abstraction of the next phase of Monet's career.
1919 Bassins aux Nymphéas by Monet
2008 SOLD for £ 41M including premium by Christie's
narrated in 2020
This decorative ambition led him in 1917 to test panoramic formats, around 130 x 200 cm, the largest dimension for which he is able to paint outdoors using a system of ropes and weights. He multiplies the sketches with, according to his signature habit, the greatest variety of colors expressing the different lights of the day.
Under the influence of Clémenceau, the project becomes a patriotic symbol, titled Les Grandes Décorations, which he completes in 1926.
From the start of the preparation phase, Monet attached the greatest importance to the coherence of the whole. Nevertheless in 1919 he paints for the trade four finished works with an especially high quality, which he sells in November of the same year to Bernheim-Jeune.
One of these paintings is in the Metropolitan Museum. Another one was sold by Christie's on November 11, 1992 for $ 12M including premium, a good result for that period of recession in the art market. The third was cut in half before 1944. The left side is in the Tel Aviv Museum. The right side was sold for $ 27M including premium by Christie's on May 12, 2016.
The fourth painting, oil on canvas 100 x 200 cm, was sold by Christie's on June 24, 2008 for £ 41M including premium worth at that date $ 80M, lot 16. The groups of leaves form a frame around the reflections of the trees in the blue water. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1932 The Devil's Snare
2014 SOLD for $ 44.4M including premium
She is not a botanist but there is no need to be a scientist for being fascinated by the datura, a wild herb that is particularly abundant in New Mexico. Its trumpet flowers appear at the cool of the evening with subtle shades of colors on a white background. A powerful hallucinogen, this plant is locally called Jimson weed and most commonly Devil's snare.
Painted in 1932, Jimson weed - white flower No.1 is a beautiful portrait of a flower. Inspired by macrophotography, it is an invitation to enter full front into the intimate secrets of a disproportionately enlarged datura. This oil on canvas is measuring 122 x 107 cm, a large format for the artist at that time.
This painting is estimated $ 10 million, for sale by Sotheby's in New York on November 20, lot 11. It is deaccessioned by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe NM with the consent of the donor.
I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's.