NEW YORK, NY.- Tonight’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale at Sotheby’s New York achieved $170,478,000, within the overall pre-sale estimate ($158.9/229.7 million). The auction was 74.6% sold by lot, and saw a total of 37 works sell for over $1 million. Pablo Picasso’s Femmes lisant (Deux personnages) was the top lot of the night, achieving $21,362,500, and auction records were established for the Surrealist artist Paul Delvaux and for a sculpture by Paul Gauguin.

“This evening’s sale saw solid bidding activity from around the world, both in the room and on the phones,” said Simon Shaw, Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department in New York. “Pablo Picasso was our dominant artist tonight. We sold a fabulous selection of eight works spanning his career which was led by our cover lot, an exceptional image of Marie-Thérèse Walter and her sister reading that sold for more than $21 million. Another high point of the night was the Jawlensky, a prime work by the artist and the finest we have seen since we achieved the world record in 2008.”

“What unified the top-selling lots in tonight’s sale was great visual presence and vibrant color,” continued David Norman, Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department Worldwide. “As always, fair and conservative estimates really whet the appetite and increase bidding. The results demonstrate demand across all of the different categories represented. Surrealism did wonderfully, as we saw with the record-breaking price achieved by the Delvaux, and the strong prices brought for both Dalí and Magritte. Impressionist works held up well, with the Monet selling for nearly $6.3 million–twice the price it brought in 2004. Sculpture also performed well, as did the spectacular Expressionist artist Jawlensky.”

Works by Pablo Picasso highlighted the top lots from tonight’s sale, with eight of the ten paintings on offer finding buyers. The sale was led by Picasso’s Femmes lisant (Deux personnages), which brought $21,362,500 and sold to a private collector. Painted in 1934, the work is a striking portrayal of Marie-Thérèse Walter–the artist’s beloved mistress during the 1930s–reading with her sister. The canvas is among the most monumental of the iconic series of pictures depicting the young woman, and was last on the market in 1981.



Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973), Femmes lisant (Deux personnages).

Oil on canvas. Painted on March 27, 1934. Dated Boisgeloup XXXIV 27 Mars (upper left); 92 by 73 cm. Estimate 25,000,000—35,000,000 USD
Lot Sold 21,362,500 USD

PROVENANCE: Estate of the artist

Bernard Picasso (by descent from the above)

The Pace Gallery, New York

Acquired from the above in 1981

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Christian Zervos, ed., Picasso, 1930-1935 (Cahiers d'art), Paris, n.d., illustrated p. 56

Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Oeuvres de 1932-1937, vol. 8, Paris, 1957, no. 191, illustrated pl. 82

Pierre Daix, Picasso, Life and Art, New York, 1993, discussed p. 229

The Picasso Project, ed., Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture, Surrealism, 1930-1936, San Francisco, 2003, no. 34-043 , illustrated

Gary Tinterow & Susan Alyson Stein, ed., Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (exhibition catalogue), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2010, discussed p. 217

NOTE: Picasso's striking portrayal of two women reading belongs to the extraordinary group of canvases depicting Marie-Thérèse Walter, his beloved mistress during the early 1930s. Distinguished by their rich coloration, harmonic curves and sweeping arabesques, these exceptional pictures are renowned as Picasso's most euphoric, sexually-charged, fantastical and inspired compositions, and they rank among the most instantly recognizable works of 20th century art. In fact, of all the manifestations of Picasso's exceptionally prolific career, it is during his 'Marie-Thérèse period' when his creative force was at its most powerful. Among the most monumental of these pictures is Femmes lisant (Deux personnages), created when Marie-Thérèse was firmly at the center of Picasso's artistic universe.

Marie-Thérèse's potent mix of physical attractiveness and sexual naivety had an intoxicating effect on Picasso. His rapturous desire for the girl gave rise to a wealth of images that have been acclaimed as the most erotic and emotionally uplifting compositions of his long career. Picasso's reverence is nowhere more apparent than in the depictions of his lover reading, sleeping or writing, the embodiment of tranquility and physical acquiescence. Her passivity in these pictures makes her body all the more pliant to Picasso's manipulations and distortions. It must be remembered that Marie-Thérèse came into Picasso's life when the collective consciousness of the avant-garde was enthralled by Surrealism. Exaltations of sexual deviance and grotesque manipulations of form fanned the flames of Picasso's creative and physical desire, resulting in some of the most extraordinary interpretations of his lover.

In later years, Françoise Gilot, another of Picasso's lovers and an artist herself, recognized the tantalizingly sculptural possibilities presented by Marie-Thérèse's body during this feverish period: "I found Marie-Thérèse fascinating to look at. I could see that she was certainly the woman who had inspired Pablo plastically more than any other. She had a very arresting face with a Grecian profile. The whole series of portraits of blonde women Pablo painted between 1927 and 1935 are almost exact replicas of her.... Her forms were handsomely sculptural, with a fullness of volume and a purity of line that gave her body and her face an extraordinary perfection. To the extent that nature offers ideas or stimuli to an artist, there are some forms that are closer than other to any artist's own aesthetic and thus serve as a springboard for his imagination. Marie-Thérèse brought a great deal to Pablo in the sense that her physical form demanded recognition."

Three paintings by Picasso from the Collection of Dodie Rosekrans also highlighted the group: the monumental Couple à la guitare from 1970 brought $9,602,500; Femme, from a small series of Surrealist works known as the “Bone” pictures, achieved $7,922,500 after a heated competition and exceeded its pre-sale high estimate of $5 million (pictured right); and Fillette aux nattes et au chapeau vert, a tender depiction of the artist’s daughter Paloma, also exceeded its high estimate in selling for $5,906,500. In total, works from the Rosekrans Collection brought $23,431,500, just shy of their collective pre-sale high estimate.

By the time Femmes lisant (Deux personnages) was painted in 1934, the girl who once "knew nothing of Picasso" had come to define the artist and his production. Marie-Thérèse's features were readily identifiable in Picasso's painting at this point, and Robert Rosenblum wrote about the young woman's symbolic unveiling in these works: 'Marie-Thérèse, now firmly entrenched in both the city and country life of a lover twenty-eight years her senior, could at last emerge from the wings to center stage, where she could preside as a radiant deity, in new roles that changed from Madonna to sphinx, from odalisque to earth mother. At times her master seems to worship humbly at her shrine, capturing a fixed, confrontational stare of almost supernatural power; but more often, he becomes an ecstatic voyeur, who quietly captures his beloved, reading, meditating, catnapping, or surrendering to the deepest abandon of sleep' (R. Rosenblum in Picasso and Portraiture: Representation and Transformation (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1996, p. 342).

While paintings of placid female readers were a preferred theme of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, one of Picasso's favorite painters, the implications of sexual availability were never as highly charged as they are in the Spaniard's interpretation of this subject. The context of Marie-Thérèse reading provided Picasso with a thematic narrative by which he could accentuate her docility and passivity. In 1932, his images of the young woman with an open book suggestively placed in her lap established Marie-Thérèse as an emblem of sexual permissiveness. In the present work from 1934, we see Picasso's golden muse reading with another girl; the sexual innuendos, although more discreet, are nonetheless present. This picture belongs to a series completed at the end of March featuring two girls sitting together and focused on a book. The most accomplished of this group is the present work, painted on March 27, and a closely related canvas now in the collection of the Michigan University Art Museum, painted the following day. Picasso's biographer Pierre Daix believed that the other figure in this picture was Marie-Thérèse's sister, Jeanne. But in his recent biography of the artist, John Richardson tells of how Jeanne's recounting of events in later years exaggerated her role in the couple's relationship, and how it was in fact Marie-Thérèse's other sister, Geneviève, who was a more frequent presence during this period.

Following his completion of Femmes lisant (Deux personnages) and its related compositions, Picasso painted a scene of Marie-Thérèse, garlanded like a classical muse and reading by candlelight, that is now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This image, like the present work, alludes to her transcendent importance as a source of inspiration and solace for the artist in the midst of a bitter marriage to Olga. Indeed, Marie-Thérèse would soon take on another role in the artist's life, giving birth to his first daughter Maya in 1935. But it is in these images from the early 1930s that her creative succor and its impact on Picasso's art is at its most powerful.

Three paintings by Picasso from the Collection of Dodie Rosekrans also highlighted the group: the monumental Couple à la guitare from 1970 brought $9,602,500; Femme, from a small series of Surrealist works known as the “Bone” pictures, achieved $7,922,500 after a heated competition and exceeded its pre-sale high estimate of $5 million (pictured right); and Fillette aux nattes et au chapeau vert, a tender depiction of the artist’s daughter Paloma, also exceeded its high estimate in selling for $5,906,500. In total, works from the Rosekrans Collection brought $23,431,500, just shy of their collective pre-sale high estimate.

Three paintings by Picasso from the Collection of Dodie Rosekrans also highlighted the group: the monumental Couple à la guitare from 1970 brought $9,602,500; Femme, from a small series of Surrealist works known as the “Bone” pictures, achieved $7,922,500 after a heated competition and exceeded its pre-sale high estimate of $5 million (pictured right); and Fillette aux nattes et au chapeau vert, a tender depiction of the artist’s daughter Paloma, also exceeded its high estimate in selling for $5,906,500. In total, works from the Rosekrans Collection brought $23,431,500, just shy of their collective pre-sale high estimate.


Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973), Couple à la guitare. 

Oil on canvas. Painted on January 11, 1970.. Signed Picasso (upper left); dated 11.1.70 II on the reverse; 162 by 130 cm. Estimate 10,000,000—15,000,000 USD.. Lot Sold 9,602,500 USD

PROVENANCE: Herman Krikhaar

Arnold Herstand & Company, New York

Acquired from the above in 1986. Property from the collection of Dodie Rosekrans

EXHIBITED: Avignon, Palais des Papes, Picasso 1969-70, 1970, no. 151, illustrated in the catalogue

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Paris, vol. 32, oeuvres de 1970, Paris, no. 20 illustrated pl. 13

Rafael Alberti, Picasso - le rayon ininterrompu, Paris, 1984, illustrated, no. 48, illustrated in color

The Picasso Project, ed., Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture. The Final Years, 1970-1973, San Francisco, 2004, no. 70-018, illustrated p. 9

NOTE: The amorous couple was a dominant theme during the final years of Picasso's life. The present work, painted when the artist was 88, is a poignant manifestation of this subject. The male figure, serenading his lover as his limbs intertwine with hers, underscoring the physical melding of two bodies into one unified form. As was the case for the artist's late compositions, the female figure is a reference to Picasso's wife Jacqueline, and the male figure to the artist himself. Confronted by waning virility and his own mortality, Picasso approached the present work with a passion and tenderness that is evidenced in the tenderness shared between the two figures.

The theme of embracing lovers can be found as early as the artist's Blue and Rose Periods and recurs from that point in drastically differing manifestations, such as the masterpiece from his Classical period, La Sieste. There is, however, something notably more emotionally-charged and conflicting about the works from his late years with Jacqueline. The present work, in fact, can be seen as Picasso's sentimental nod to the sensual pleasures that he is now too old to enjoy. The bloom of youth has long faded, and the couple here is a poignant reminder of a time now passed.

Themes of passion would dominate these late years, such as the virile musketeers and pipe-smoking brigadiers entangled in romantic encounters with women, or the relationship between the painter and his model as depicted in the studio. The present work, along with several others painted around the same time, sheds these narrative contexts to focus solely on the physical and emotional unity of the figures. Given the collision of two bodies, these works reference the physical intimacy and latent sexual desire that was at the core of Picasso's most dynamic compositions. As the artist's granddaughter Diana Widmaier Picasso writes of these late works, "These are not embraces but wrestling matches the sexes have abandoned themselves to. The unleashing of sexual passions is total, a lack of inhibition stamped with bestiality, animality.... Undoubtedly the influence of the Surrealists the painter rubbed shoulders with is not alien to this impassioned debauchery. The colors of blood and death are omnipresent and oppressive. You can hardly avoid associating the dominant red of Picasso's signature with the red nail polish of Jacqueline, the companion of his final years" (Diana Widmaier Picasso, op. cit., pp. 29-30).

The theme of the serenade is one which Picasso devoted a series of pictures from the 1960s, known as Aubade, in which a young man plays the flute to a voluptuous earthly goddess as she revels in the delight of his music. The escapist theme, with its visions of basking in sensual pleasures, was a pleasurable fantasy for a man in declining health. But in this picture, Picasso has reinterpreted the theme with even more poignant references to his past, reviving the guitar playing man from the compositions of his youth and casting him here in this nostalgic composition. Gert Schiff explains, these works provided the basis for a small series of works that included the present painting: "During the winter of 1969-70 ... he painted kissing and copulating couples, all larger than life. Once more he empathized with one of his artistic forebears and depicted Douanier Rousseau, a friend of his youth, embracing his second wife. Picasso portrays the aged couple at a high pitch of emotion. The inspiration came from their portraits, painted by Rousseau himself, and which Picasso owned" (Gert Schiff, Picasso, The Last Years, 1963-1973, New York, 1983, pp. 50-52).

The present work was one of the paintings included in the 1970 exhibition of Picasso's art at the Papal Palace in Avignon. The exhibition is one of two that would be staged at this extraordinary venue, and it is considered the first half of the artist's grand finale of his long and extraordinary career. Although Picasso's late period was greatly misunderstood by the public, these pictures would later be regarded for their immensely expressive power and visual impact. Referring to Picasso as "the Pope of modern art in exile," Marie-Laure Bernadac has written the following about that landmark exhibition: "Hung unframed, in tiers, and arranged in series, an exuberant and colourful procession of cavaliers, couples, nude women and solemn portraits filled the bare walls of the chapel like sacreligious votive plaques; this was Picasso's 'Last Judgement'. An art 'full of sound and fury', in which everything moves and resonates, hurrying the eye from one canvas to the next amid the clatter of sabres, the sweep of plumes, the twist of bodies, the wild, visionary eyes, the strident colours, the frenzy of brushwork: Picasso is presenting us with this artistic last will and testament" (M. L. Bernadac, in Late Picasso, op. cit., pp. 91-92).


Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973), Femme.

Oil on panel. Painted on February 1, 1930. Signed Picasso and dated I - II - XXX (lower left); 64 by 47 cm. Estimate 3,000,000—5,000,000 USD. Lot Sold 7,922,500 USD

PROVENANCE: Galerie Georges Petit & Etienne Bignou, Paris (1932)

Galerie Beyeler, Basel

Private Collection, London

Delbanco Arts, New York

Acquired from the above in 1988. Property from the collection of Dodie Rosekrans

EXHIBITED: Paris, Galerie Georges Petit & Zürich, Kunsthaus, Picasso, 1932, no. 195

Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Surréalisme et Peinture, 1974, no. 40, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Minneapolis, Houston, San Francisco, Picasso-Braque-Léger, 1975-76, no. 22, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Basel, Kunstmuseum, Picasso, 1976, no. 57, illustrated in the catalogue

London, Hayward Gallery, Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, 1978, no. 9.63a, illustrated in the catalogue

St. Etienne, Musée d'Art et d'Industrie, L'art dans les années 30 en France," 1979, no. 236, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Brussels, Musée d'Ixelles, L'aventure de Pierre Loeb: La Galerie Pierre Paris 1924-64, 1979, no. 161a, illustrated in the catalogue

Berkeley, University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley, Anxious Visions -- Surrealist Art, 1990-91

San Francisco, M.H. de Young Memoria Museum, 1998-99 (on loan)

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Oeuvres de 1926 à 1932, vol. 7, Paris, 1955, no. 300, illustrated pl. 124

John Richardson, A Life of Picasso, The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932, New York, 2007, p. 391 & 547

Picasso by Picasso, His First Museum Exhibition 1932 (exhibition catalogue), Kunsthaus, Zürich, 2010-11, illustrated in situ p. 25 and in color p. 242

NOTE: One of the most loaded images of Picasso's Surrealist production is his terrifyingly fantastic depiction of his wife, Olga, abstracted beyond the point of recognition. Femme and its antecedent composition, Baigneuse assise (Olga), painted two days earlier and now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, are among Picasso's most memorable pictures from 1930, as they are emblematic of both the personal and professional forces at play that year. This picture was so important to Picasso's creative development that he selected it for a landmark self-curated exhibition in 1932 at Galerie Georges Petit in Paris and the Kunsthaus in Zürich, where it hung alongside his most important compositions to date.

Femme is among the harrowing images that belong to a small series known as Picasso's "Bone" pictures, inspired by 16th century anatomical drawings by Andreas Vesalius. Picasso's interest in the intricacy of skeletal design was well known, and over the years he amassed a collection of animal bones for personal study. "I have an absolute passion for bones," Picasso once told Brassai. "On any piece of bone at all, I always find the fingerprints of the god who amused himself with shaping it." During the last weeks of 1929 and until February 1930, Picasso occupied himself with piecing together skeletal images of a 'woman's head, using shapes that resembled pelvis, jaw, rib and thigh bones. The majority of the Bone paintings are done on wooden panels because, as John Richardson tells us, "canvas could not provide the unyielding hardness that Picasso hoped to gain" (J. Richardson, op. cit., p. 319).

In later years, Picasso would admit to the historian William Rubin that the present work and the related pictures at MoMA were depictions of his aggrieved wife. Olga Picasso, transformed here into an fierce vagina dentata, was at the time the victim of Picasso's unapologetic infidelity and domestic defiance. Although she supposedly knew nothing of Picasso's liaison with Marie-Thérèse by this point, the couple's marriage was in turmoil and Picasso vented his frustrations through these radical manipulations of form.

Writing about the picture in the Museum of Modern Art, John Richardson points out that Olga was perhaps not the only source of inspiration for these pictures. "With its porcelain finish, sharp focus, eerie serenity, and cracked-open Vesalian head, this painting has come to be seen as a surrrealist icon," Richardson writes. "We should, however, remember that the Seated Bather followed closely on the succès de scandale of Salvador Dalí's first one-man exhibition in Paris (November 20-December 5, 1929). The surrealist wonder works in this show -- among them the Lugubrious Game, acquired by the Noailles, and the Great Masturbator -- apparently left Picasso feeling challenged to go one better than Dalí..." (ibid., p. 392). The likeness of the present work to a praying mantis, an insect that was a particular favorite of Dalí, is telling of Picasso's receptivity to the aesthetic predilections of his contemporaries. Richardson continues: "Surrealist painters and poets had a collective male fantasy about these insects. Some even collected them in the hope of seeing the female bite the head off the male at the climax of mating. As a result, this had become a surrealist cliché, not least in the work of Masson and Ernst. Picasso would have been at pains to avoid it" (ibid.). Indeed, more than any other work in the Surrealist corpus, Picasso's arresting interpretation here has become emblematic of this preoccupation. But what is even more ironic than Picasso's denial of associations is the particular fate of this picture: Initially inspired by the fragility of life and its pleasures, Femme has become an enduring image of the most creative artistic movement of the 20th century.


Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973), Fillette aux nattes et au chapeau vert.

Oil on canvas. Painted on March 27, 1956. Dated 27.3.56 III on the reverse..73 by 60 cm. Estimate 3,500,000—5,000,000 USD. Lot Sold 5,906,500 USD

Claude Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

Maya Widmaier-Picasso has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

PROVENANCE: Estate of the artist

Marina Picasso (by descent from the above)

Jan Krugier, Geneva (on consignment from the above)

H. Shickman Gallery, New York (acquired from the above)

Acquired from the above in 1984. Property from the collection of Dodie Rosekrans

NOTE: Fillette aux nattes et au chapeau vert, an intimate portrait of Picasso's daughter, Paloma, was painted when the little girl was about seven years old and the artist was seventy-four. For Picasso, being a father at such an advanced age had its advantages: By the time Paloma was born in 1949, Picasso was already an established celebrity in the art world and financially secure, and he had more time to devote to fatherhood than he did during earlier phases of his life. Unlike his depictions of his son Paolo from the 1920s or daughter Maya from the 1930s, his many paintings and drawings of Paloma and her older brother, Claude, from the 1950s reveal the ease and familiarity that he shared with his two youngest children. Picasso often presents them playing in the company of their mother, Françoise Gilot, or drawing together in their nursery. For this composition, however, he has focused on little Paloma by herself, her attention devoted explicitly to her father as he draws her picture.

Paloma's portrait is one of the few that Picasso completed of his daughter in 1956, when his attention was primarily focussed on images inspired by his new romantic companion, Jacqueline Roque. From the inscription on the reverse, however, we know that Picasso must have completed at least three versions of his daughter around this time. Paloma's presence in Picasso's life increasingly diminished as the artist grew closer and more dependent upon Jacqueline. Additionally, with the publication of her mother's memoirs in later years, Picasso's relationship with his children by Françoise Gilot became particularly strained. In 1956, however, Paloma was welcomed at the house of her father, although she had to share her time with his new companion who would eventually become her step-mother. The fact that she was the subject of her father's artistic attention in the present work must have been reassuring to the little girl.

Still, Picasso's picture of Paloma here had larger implications for the artist and his future production. The canvas dates from 1956, the year before Picasso would commence his life-long-anticipated investigation of Diego Velazquez's Las Meninas. When comparing the present work with the renderings of the Infanta Margarita that Picasso completed only a few months later, we can see that the legendary 17th century Spanish court was not far from his mind. Perhaps it was his focus on Paloma's image here that brought about the creative encouragement he needed to forge forward with his more ambitious undertaking the following year.

Providing us with his remembrance of Paloma's visits with her father is David Douglas Duncan, whose insight gives us yet another portrait of the girl who would one day become a creative force herself: "Paloma was different. No other child who came to La Californie radiated the same independence of character, or simmering, yet remote feeling of being already in command of her own destiny. She sat drawing beside her father as an equal while he gouged linoleum posters for a Vallauris festival. Often she stood quietly at his side, arm on his shoulder, while he was drawing his private visions -- and she would also be lost in her future dreams while comfortably hidden behind his masks. She had found herself: she was eight" (D. D. Duncan, Picasso and Jacqueline, New York, 1988, p. 134).

Another standout of tonight’s sale was Paul Gauguin’s Jeune tahitienne. The exquisite wood carving set a new record for a sculpture by the artist when it sold for $11,282,500, also marking the eighth-highest price for any work by the artist at auction. Jeune tahitienne was carved during Gauguin’s first trip to Tahiti between 1890 and 1893, and is the only fully-worked bust portrait the artist is known to have created. In 1894, Gauguin presented the sculpture to Jeanne Fournier, the 10-year-old daughter of critic and collector Jean Dolent, having promised to bring her a gift from the tropics. In addition, competition was fierce for Alberto Giacometti’s Femme debout. More than seven bidders vied for the bronze before it sold to client on the phone for $7,362,500, more than double the high estimate of $3 million.


Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903), Jeune tahitienne.

Carved in Tahiti circa 1893, this work is unique. Painted tamanu wood, pasted paper, red coral and shell. 24.5 cm. Estimate 10,000,000—15,000,000 USD. Lot Sold 11,282,500 USD

This work will be included in the new edition of the Gauguin catalogue raisonné being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute.

PROVENANCE: Jean Dolent (Charles-Antoine Fournier), Paris (acquired from the artist in 1894-95)

Jeanne Fournier (inherited from the above in 1909)

The Dominican Order, c/o Father Celas Rzewuski, Toulouse (acquired from the above and sold: Sotheby's, London, June 28, 1961, lot 46)

Acquired at the above sale


Hôtel Drouot, Vente Jean Dolent, Paris, December 17, 1919, listed in the catalogue as no. 112

Christopher Gray, Sculpture and Ceramics of Paul Gauguin, Baltimore, 1963, no. 101, illustrated pp. 230-231

NOTE: Of the extraordinary works that Gauguin created in the South Pacific, it was his sculpture and carvings that the artist believed to be the most important of his creative vision. Jeune tahitienne is an exceptional manifestation of Gauguin's accomplishments in this medium, and was carved during his first stay in Tahiti between 1890 and the summer of 1893. A few months after returning to Paris, Gauguin gave this sculpture to Jeanne Fournier, the nine-year-old daughter of the critic and collector Jean Dolent, having promised to bring her a gift from the tropics. In 1961, Fournier entrusted the sale of this work to Father Celas Rzewuski, a member of the Dominican Order, who consigned it to Sotheby's in London, where it was purchased by the present owner. This is the first time that Jeune tahitienne has been on view to the public in half a century.

According to Gray's catalogue raisonné, eight wooden sculptures, including the present work, survive from Gauguin's first period in Tahiti. Although they are all executed in the round, Gauguin carved most of them as reliefs in order "to produce flat decorative harmonies" (Anne Pingeot, Gauguin, Tahiti, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2004, p. 74). The present sculpture, however, is the only known fully-worked, three dimensional bust portrait. Unlike his other, more geometric or "indigenously-inspired" carvings from this period, the present work incorporates elements that would have been characteristically considered beautiful. The smoothly carved nose, lips and brow, for example, are similar to the features of the young women in his most celebrated paintings Te Aa No Areois (fig. 2) and Deux femmes tahitiennes (fig. 1), now in the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as in paintings in other major museums such as the Hermitage (fig. 3) and the National Galleries of Scotland (fig. 6). Like the stunningly beautiful faces in those seminal oils, Jeune tahitienne features the dark and serenely mysterious eyes that captivated Gauguin and the generations of admirers of his art.

Indeed, Gauguin's 1893 memoir Noa noa reveals that the artist himself could not help but consider the exquisite beauty of Tahitian women: "In order to understand the secret in a Tahitian face, all the charm of a Maori smile, I had been wanting for a long time to do the portrait of a neighboring woman of pure Tahitian race....[T]he majesty and uplifted lines of her forehead recalled these lines by Poe: There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion" (P. Gauguin, Noa noa, 1893, reprinted in The Lure of the Exotic, Gauguin in New York Collections (exhibition catalogue), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2002, p. 86). Gauguin's choice to explore the face here so intimately in the medium of sculpture, rather than in oil, reveals his preference for the expressive power of three-dimensional art.

Jeune tahitienne is a richly constructed work of art, bringing together elements of different media to form an object that is as enchanting and enigmatic as Gauguin's best paintings. The materials Gauguin used for this sculpture are mostly indigenous to the South Pacific, although he did have limited access to European art supplies through importers in Papeete. The head is carved from Tamanu wood, colloquially known as Solomon Islands wood, known for its variant shades of gold-brown and its luminous sheen. Gauguin appreciated the sensuousness of this material, which is beautifully exploited in the present sculpture. The figure's earrings, which are additions to the central block of wood, are made of boxwood, and the shell and coral necklaces are believed to have been strung together by the artist himself. There is evidently a piercing through the top of the left ear, which presumably held a flower. The bust of the figure is overlaid with a thin, white paper, on which Gauguin has painted a pattern. Indeed, while many Tahitians wore sarongs, a Tahitian girl would have been clothed more modestly, due to the influence of local missionaries.

Because Gauguin's Tahitian sculptures were truly some of the most avant-garde examples in Paris at the turn of the century, few of his contemporaries appreciated or understood them. "Speaking of the sculpture, as there is very little of this work, I don't want it to be scattered or to go into the possession of people who should not care for it," Gauguin wrote to his friend Daniel de Monfried from Tahiti in 1900: "And it would give me great pleasure if you would accept (not as a present, but as a proof of my friendship) all the wood carving from Tahiti." Thus, all the sculptures from Gauguin's second and final period in the South Pacific were sent to Daniel de Monfried in Paris, and were eventually donated by his daughter to the French National Museums.

The present work, created during Gauguin's first trip to Tahiti, has never been cast in bronze. It is unique and the only fully-worked bust portrait known to have been created by Gauguin. Like his greatest compositions in oil, Jeune tahitienne captures the mystery, allure and exoticism of the South Pacific with its intimate portrayal of this serene young woman. One of the more interesting features of the sculpture appears in the back, at the base of the neck. Along the bottom are the heads of two foxes, with a tail extending out from the right. Foxes appear as emblems of sexuality in other of Gauguin's well-known works, including The Loss of Virginity and his gravestone sculpture, Oviri. In the case of the present work, the foxes serve as Gauguin's emblematic "signature," just as the image of the dog had in other works from this period.

Gauguin recognized the importance of this powerful sculpture, and perhaps it was with great prescience that he gave this treasured work to the Dolent family, whom he believed would cherish and protect it, as they did. According to Dolent's biographer Pierre Pinchon, the sculpture remained with Dolent's daughter, Jeanne Fournier, until she entrusted it to a Dominican priest to sell at auction in 1961. Indeed, the consignor of record to that sale was Fr. Celas Rzewuski, a prominent member of the Dominican Order who had been a well-known figure in the artistic circles of Paris prior to his ordination. After the present owner bought Jeune tahitienne at that sale, it has never since been seen by the public eye.

Alexej von Jawlensky’s Frau mit grünem Fächer (Woman with a green fan) achieved $11,282,500, just under its high estimate of $12 million. This price is the second-highest for a work by Jawlensky, and Sotheby’s now holds the top three prices for the artist at auction. Pulsating with vibrant color and rich, painterly detail, the extraordinary work exemplifies the artist’s talents as a key figure in the Expressionist movement.


Alexej von Jawlensky (1864-1941), Frau mit grünem Fächer (Woman with a green fan).

Oil on board. Painted in 1912.. Signed A. Jawlensky (upper right) and with the initials A.J. (lower center); signed A. Jawlensky, dated 1912 and numbered N. 68 on the reverse and on the backboard. 65 by 54 cm. Estimate 8,000,000—12,000,000 USD. Lot Sold 11,282,500 USD

PROVENANCE: Estate of the artist

Helene von Jawlensky, Wiesbaden

Andreas Jawlensky, Locarno (the artist's son)

Dalzell Hatfield Gallery, Los Angeles

Robert Simon, California

Sale: Christie's, London, December 2, 1975, lot 93

Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York

Acquired from the above circa 1977

EXHIBITED: Budapest, Nemzeti Szalon, A Futuristák és Expressionisták Kiállitásanak, 1913, no. 63

Hildesheim, Römermuseum, Vater und Sohn, 1925

Frankfurt, Kunstkabinett, Alexej von Jawlensky, 1947, no. 23

Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Alexej von Jawlensky, 1957, no. 31

Düsseldorf, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen & Hamburg, Kunstverein, Alexej von Jawlensky 1957, no. 50

Saarbrücken, Saarland-Museum, Zusatz-Blatt, 1957, no. 6

Bremen, Kunsthalle, Alexej von Jawlensky, 1957-58, no. 50

Stuttgart, Württenbergischer Kunstverein & Mannheim, Städtische Kunsthalle, Alexej von Jawlensky, 1958, no. 55

Locarno, Galleria La Palma, Alexej von Jawlensky, 1960, no. 7

Vienna, Östereichische Galerie & Linz, Neue Galerie der Stadt, Der Blaue Reiter und sein Kreis, 1961, no. 51, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Munich, Stadtische Galerie, Alexej von Jawlensky, 1964, no. 65, illustrated in the catalogue

Wiesbaden, Städtische Museum, Alexej von Jawlensky, 1964, no. 16

New York, Leonard Hutton Galleries, Alexej von Jawlensky, 1965, no. 22, illustrated in the catalogue

Los Angeles, Dalzell Hatfield Galleries, German Expressionists 1908-1968, 1968, illustrated on in color on the cover of the catalogue

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1970 (on loan)

New York, Leonard Hutton Galleries, Der Blaue Reiter und sein Kreis, 1977, no. 109, illutrated in color in the catalogue

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Clemens Weiler, Alexej Jawlensky, Colonge, 1959, no. 109, illustrated p. 234

Clemens Weiler, Jawlensky Heads, Faces, Meditations, London, 1971, no. 119, listed p. 122

Maria Jawlensky, Lucia-Pietroni Jawlensky & Angelica Jawlensky, Alexej von Jawlensky, Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings, Volume One 1890-1914, London, 1991, no. 471, illustrated p. 363

NOTE: Pulsating with vibrant color and rich, painterly detail, Frau mit grünem Fächer exemplifies Jawlensky's talents as a key figure in Expressionism. This exceptional composition dates from 1912, at the height of the artist's involvement with the Blaue Reiter, and is a distillation of the varied stylistic concerns that preoccupied the Russian ex-patriot and German avant-garde during the early 20th century. Jawlensky would always return to the face as a means to explore the range of human emotion throughout his career. Although we know that the model for the present work was Helene, the artist's wife, Jawlensky preferred anonymous titles for his works so that he could express objectively the power and impact of color. "[H]uman faces are for me only suggestions to see something else in them – the life of colour, seized with a lover's passion" (quoted in C. Weiler, Jawlensky Heads, Faces, Meditations, London, 1971, p. 12).

Frau mit grünem Fächer reflects the stylistic influences that shaped Jawlensky's art and contributed to the development of German Expressionist painting. In 1912, Jawlensky was living in Munich and working closely with fellow Russian artist, Wassily Kandinsky of the independent artist group known as "Neue Künstlervereinigung". That same year, Kandinsky founded Der Blaue Reiter, an arts periodical that promoted the ideas of this new group and expounded on the value of color and the aesthetic influences of Eastern European folk art and the religious idolotry of the Russian Orthodox church (fig. 4). Jawlensky was greatly affected by the ideas of his colleagues, and developed his own expressive style of painting using bold color patches and strong black outlines. The present work is a stunning example of his new style and exemplifies the concerns of this wave of German Expressionism.

Jawlensky's reliance upon color as a means of visual expression derived from the examples of the Fauve painters of France. Jawlensky first met these artists, including Henri Matisse (fig. 2) and Kees van Dongen, shortly after the Fauves' premiere exhibition at the Salon d'Automne in 1905. He was inspired by their wild coloration and expressive brushwork, and between 1909-1911 the works of these artists had a profound impact on his painting. Like Matisse, who famously remarked, "I used color as a means of expressing my emotion and not as a transcription of nature", Jawlensky believed that color communicated the complex emotions of his subjects (Jacqueline & Maurice Guillaud, Matisse: Rhythm and Line, New York, 1987, p. 24).

Another important influence on Jawlensky's painting during this period was the multi-dimensional approach of the Cubists, whose fragmented and highly abstract compositions he had seen in Paris (fig. 3). As Clemens Weiler has noted, "Cubism... supplied Jawlensky with the means of simplifying, condensing and stylizing the facial form even further, and this simplified and reduced shape he counterbalanced by means of even more intense and brilliant colouring. This enabled him to give these comparatively small heads a monumentality and expressive power that were quite independent of their actual size" (C. Weiler, op. cit., p.105).

Spending the summer of 1911 at Prerow on the Baltic, Jawlensky reached a pinnacle in his career in which he synthesized his reaction to these artistic movements into a personal and unique artistic expression. As Weiler describes, "For him that summer meant the first climax in his creative development. His colours grow as if seen in a state of ecstasy and his shapes are bound powerfully together with broad outlines" (ibid., p. 14).

Frau mit grünem Fächer is a product of this creative outburst. In the present work, the artist employs a color palette of bright blue, red and green and renders the facial features of his sitter with broad strokes. The model in this instance is known, but Jawlensky was concerned less by the realistic portrayal of his subject than with capturing the emotional impact of the composition as a whole. In three-quarter profile, the figure turns her head to the viewer in what seems to be a singular and passing moment. Her powerful gaze captures the viewer's attention, and her bright eyes create a provocative focal point for the entire picture. As he once wrote to a prominent art collector, "What you feel in front of my paintings is that which you must feel, and so it seems to you that my soul has spoken to yours – therefore it has spoken" (James Demetrion, Alexei Jawlensky: A Centennial Exhibition, Pasadena Art Museum, 1964, p. 22).

Jawlensky kept Frau mit grünem Fächer in his private collection until his death in 1941, at which time it was inherited by his wife and son, Andreas. At a later point, the picture was acquired by Robert Simon, the son of legendary collector Norton Simon, whose eponymous museum is located in Pasadena, California.

Following the success of Salvador Dalí’s Portrait de Paul Éluard, which set a record for any Surrealist work at auction when it sold for $21.7 million at Sotheby’s London in February of this year, tonight’s sale in New York saw strong prices for several Surrealist works. Paul Delvaux’s spectacular Les Cariatides from 1946, which ranks among the most celebrated and widely-known compositions of his career, set a new auction record for the artist when a prolonged bidding war drove its price to $9,042,500 (est. $5/7 million). René Magritte’s Quand l’heure sonnera brought $5,962,500, while six bidders clamored for Salvador Dalí’s extraordinary portrait of Helena Rubinstein. Consigned by the Helena Rubenstein Foundation, the work brought $2,658,500, well in excess of its $1.5 million high estimate.


Paul Delvaux (1897 - 1994), Les Cariatides.

Oil on masonite. Painted in February 1946. Signed P. Delvaux and dated 2-46 (lower right). Estimate 3,000,000—5,000,000 USD. Lot Sold  9,042,500 USD

PROVENANCE: Emile Langui, Brussels (acquired from the artist)

Private Collection (by descent from the above)

Acquired from the above by the present owner

EXHIBITED: Antwerp, Salle Artès, Le nu dans l'art belge contemporain, 1947, no. 8

Buenos Aires, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Arte Belga contemporaneo, 1948, no. 16, illustrated in the catalogue

Verviers, Société Royale des Beaux-Arts, Paul Delvaux, 1949, no. 6, a detail illustrated in the catalogue

Ghent, Musée des Beaux-Arts, 48e Salon quadriennal des Beaux-Arts, 1950, no. 139

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Dertien belgische schilders, 1952, no. 37, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Charleroi, Salle de la Bourse, XXXIe Salon du Cercle royal Artistique et Littéraire de Charleroi, 1957, no. 53, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Brussels, Maison Haute, XXIIe Salon, 1957, no. 12

Ostende, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Paul Delvaux, 1962, no. 31, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Mons, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Hainaut Cinq. Hommage à Paul Delvaux, 1965, no. 4, detail illustrated in the catalogue

Humlebæk, Louisiana Museum, 6 Surrealister, 1967, no. 10

Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Six peintures surréalistes, 1967, no. 22, illustrated in the catalogue

Brussels, Musée d'Ixelles, Paul Delvaux, 1967, no. 16

Paris, Musée des Arts décoratifs, Rétrospective Paul Delvaux, 1969, no. 31, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Malines, Cultureel Centrum, De mensekijke figuur in de kunst, 1971, no. 27

Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-Van Beuningen, Paul Delvaux, 1973, no. 37, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Knokke-Heist, Casino, Paul Devaux, 1973, no. 29, illustrated in color in the catalogue

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Emile Langui, Paul Delvaux, Venice, 1949, illustrated pl. XX

Paul Dewalhens, Delvauxiana, Paris, 1955

A. Marc, "Paul Delvaux: vers la sérénité classique," La Lanterne, Brussels, November 26, 1957, p. 2

Paul-Aloise de Bock, Paul Delvaux. Der Mensch. Der Maler, Hamburg, 1965, illustrated pl. 24

Paul-Aloise de Bock, Paul Delvaux, Brussels, 1967, illustrated pl. 81

José Vovelle, Le Surréalisme en Belgique, Brussels, 1972, discussed notes 26 and 35

Michel Butor, Jean Clair & Suzanne Houbart-Wilkin, Delvaux: Catalogue de l'Oeuvre Peint, Brussels, 1975, no. 168, illustrated p. 216

NOTE: Delvaux's spectacular Les Cariatides is among the most celebrated and widely-known compositions of his oeuvre. Since its completion in 1946, this monumental picture has come to be regarded as one of the most alluring examples of late Surrealist art. Although Delvaux's paintings are renowned for their hallucinatory scenarios and dream-like imagery, the artist claimed not to be a proponent of the writings of Sigmund Freud and did not invest his compositions with the blatantly psychoanalytic references that were favored by Dalí, Miró and his fellow Belgian, René Magritte. Delvaux's approach to painting was more subtle in its representation of the uncanny: without being overtly grotesque or offensive with his imagery, he would interrupt the peacefulness and banality of a given scene with instances of the bizarre. Many of these pictures present a conventional architectural setting, like a railway station, loggia or a street corner, that is populated by expressionless and oddly lifeless women, usually depicted in the nude. The passivity of these women recalls the gentle beauty of a Botticelli or the flawlessness of a Bouguereau and adds a certain sense of timelessness to the composition. The blatancy and contextual inappropriateness of their nudity, however, leaves the viewer to contemplate the perplexing narrative of the composition.

Given the Classical architectural details with caryatids and a Parthenon-style temple and entablature in the background, the scene here seems to be set in ancient Greece. But the figures' gratuitous nudity, accentuated by the intense realism of the reclining woman's unshaven body, takes this otherwise neo-Classical picture to a level of absurdity that can only be achieved by a master Surrealist. Like the ominous street scenes of de Chirico, the rigidity of the architecture and dramatic shadowing create a palpable sensation of enigmatic uncertainty.

Delaux was always fascinated with the effects of light and shadow in his pictures, and his mastery at manipulating color to this end is demonstrated quite beautifully in this work. As the glow of the setting sun casts a golden light over the horizon, the figures cast imposing shadows. The scene as a whole takes on an unsettling incandescence, and the viewer is thus left to consider the oddities of this 'twilight zone.' Discussing Delvaux's fascination with light in his paintings, Barbara Emerson has written, "Delvaux uses light to great effect, almost as if he were manipulating theatrical equipment of spots and dimmers. With consummate skill, he contrasts cool white shafts of moonlight with the warm, gentle glow from an oil lamp" (Barbara Emerson, Delvaux, Paris and Antwerp, 1985, p. 174).

As with most of his paintings, the meaning behind this scene is somewhat unclear, and several hypotheses can be made about the relationship between the two women. But throughout his lifetime, the artist was resistant to provide any sort of narrative for these pictures, stating quite clearly, "I do not feel the need to give a temporal explanation of what I do, neither do I feel the need to account for my human subjects who exist only for the purpose of my painting. These figures recount no history: they are. Further, they express nothing in themselves..." (quoted in Paul Delvaux, 1897-1984 (exhibition catalogue), Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels, 1997, quoted in. p. 22).


René Magritte (1898 - 1967), Quand l'heure sonnera.

Oil on canvas. Painted in 1932. Signed Magritte (lower right). 116 by 89 cm. Estimate 5,000,000—7,000,000 USD. Lot Sold 5,962,500 USD

PROVENANCE: E. L. T. Mesens, London (acquired from the artist circa 1932)

Marc Hendrickx, Brussels (acquired from the above late 1950s)

Hanover Gallery, London

Leonard and Ruth Horwich, Chicago (acquired from the above 1960)

Private Collection (acquired from the above 2007)

EXHIBITED: Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Exposition René Magritte, 1933, no. 18

Paris, Parc des Expositions, Salon des Surindépendants, Sixième exposition, 1933

Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Exposition Minotaure, 1934, no. 72

Knokke, Casino Communal, Ve festival belge d'été: Expositions René Magritte-Paul Delvaux, 1952, no. 11

Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, René Magritte, 1954, no. 41

Venice, Giardini, XXVII Biennale di Venezia, Belgian Pavilion, 1954,
no. 40

Chicago, Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, René Magritte, 1964, no. 4

Little Rock, Arkansas Art Center, Magritte, 1964

Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Dada and Surrealism in Chicago Collections, 1984-85 (titled When the Bell Tolls)

New York, Gagosian Gallery, Marble, 2009

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Marianne, Paris, November 8, 1933, installation photograph of Surindépendants exhibition p. 5

Herbert Read, Art and Society, London 1937, illustrated pl. 96

David Sylvester, Sarah Whitfield & Michael Raeburn, René Magritte Catalogue Raisonné, vol. II, London, 1994, no. 347, illustrated p. 181

NOTE: Quand l'heure sonnera dates from the height of the Surrealist movement in the early 1930s, when members of the avant-garde relished in depicting the absurd, the imaginary or the impossible as concrete subjects in their art; few among them had as lasting an impact at the Belgian painter, Magritte. This picture belongs to a series of works in which a plaster of a female torso, evocative of the Venus de Milo, serves as a central focal point and is justaposed with seemingly unrelated objects. As is the case for the present composition, the titles for Magritte's most intriguing paintings often had little to do with the subjects at hand and were usually derived from the creative suggestions of his friends. The artist's selection of this poetic title is an effective means of provoking our curiosity and enhancing the narrative possibilities of the picture.

Magritte's art is renowned for its use of "elective affinities," a term used by Goethe to describe the pairing of two distinct elements. In this picture, that pairing exists between the torso and the balloon, which invite a host of interpretive possibilities. Magritte's objective with this image is to challenge our basic understanding of the world vis-à-vis our reliance upon seeing connections or "links in a chain" among all objects.

In Magritte's most provocative Surrealist compositions, the female nude is always depicted either with her eyes closed, or with her head turned away from the viewer or, as in the present work, as an inanimate object, thus becoming the object of the spectator's gaze and erotic desire. "Magritte said, in fact, that an undercurrent of eroticism was one of the reasons a painting might have for existing. It asserted itself most intensely and explicitly in these stately classical nudes with their cool coloring. For the very reason that it aims at maximum resemblance, their academicism is upset by the provocation of mystery emanating from that identification, once the painting and the arrangement of the painting interfere with its course" (J. Meuris, René Magritte, London, 1988, p. 76).


Salvador Dalí (1904 - 1989), Princess Arthchild Gourielli-Helena Rubinstein.

Oil on canvas. Painted in 1943. Signed Gala Salvador Dalí and dated 1943 (center right). 89 by 64 cm. Estimate 1,000,000—1,500,000 USD. Lot Sold 2,658,500 USD

PROVENANCE: Helena Rubinstein, New York (commissioned from the artist)

EXHIBITED: New York, Knoedler & Co., Inc., Salvador Dalí, 1943

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Robert Descharnes & Gilles Neret, Salvador Dalí, vol. I, Cologne, 1993, no. 795, illustrated in color p. 351 (as dating from 1942-43)

Robert Descharnes, Salvador Dalí, The Work, The Man, New York, 1997, illustrated in color p. 281

Dalí (exhibition catalogue), The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 2005, mentioned p. 501

NOTE: Dalí's riveting depiction of the legendary Helena Rubinstein (1870-1965) is among the artist's most accomplished portraits. When Dalí painted this work in 1943, Rubinstein was the world's richest woman, having single-handedly established an eponymous multi-million dollar cosmetics company that transformed the industry. As the world's first self-made female millionaire, Rubinstein was a pioneer among captains of industry, achieving a level of success that was hitherto unimaginable for a woman. But as a product of her generation, Rubinstein ironically preferred to be addressed by the noble title and surname she inherited from her Georgian husband. That duality of persona is addressed in Dalí's title for this extraordinary portrait.

Dalí had known Rubinstein since the early 1930s, and she was part of the elite establishment that welcomed the artist when he arrived to New York in 1940 at the outbreak of war in France. In 1942, she commissioned Dalí to create a group of three major murals to decorate the dining room of her 36-room triplex on Park Avenue. A year later, he painted this portrait, featuring his patron as a small element of a larger environment. Unlike typical portrait commissions, Rubinstein's face accounts for only a tiny portion of the canvas -- a compositional allusion, perhaps, to her role as the keystone of a colossal industry.

Rubinstein was seventy-three years old in 1943, but Dalí has rendered a more youthful representation of her in this picture that bears a close resemblance to his own wife, Gala. This choice reinforces the Surrealist idea of a non-literal portrait, which relies on symbolism and atmospheric effects to convey information about the subject. In this way, Rubenstein's youthfulness represents the immortality of her character as well as the accomplishments of a cosmetics pioneer. The entire scene is reminiscent of Renaissance depictions of the mythical Andromeda, chained to the side of a rock (fig. 1); yet, Dalí provides us with a revised version of that story, depicting a woman of great strength and a formidable opponent to the demons of the modern world. As was typical of Dalí's best work, there is even an erotic undertone, suggested by the tiny figures of Venus and Cupid on the rocks below.

Princess Arthchild Gourielli-Helena Rubinstein was painted during the period when Dalí was, "claiming to have discovered for the first time in his life the real way to paint; in other words, with over- and underpainting. For him, this is infinitely more subtle in its tonalities than the pictures painted before" (Robert Descharnes, Dalí, l'oeuvre et l'homme, Lausanne, 1984, p. 142). This discovery of the finer techniques of painting gives the present work its striking luminosity and the precision of a Renaissance masterpiece, from the crests of the minute breakers to the flawlessly rendered textures of the sheer rock faces. Clearly, this was the zenith of Dalí's technical virtuosity, when the fruits of his prodigious subconscious could be represented with pristine detail.

Several Impressionist works in the sale also performed strongly: Claude Monet’s La Seine à Argenteuil from 1877 achieved $6,242,500; Édouard Manet’s handsome Portrait de Monsieur Brun, which has remained in Brun’s family since it was painted in 1880, brought $5,402,500; and Camille Pissarro’s L’Hermitage en été, Pontoise sold for $4,282,500.


Claude Monet (1840 - 1926), La Seine à Argenteuil .

Oil on canvas. Painted in 1877. Signed Claude Monet and dated 77 (lower right). Estimate 6,000,000—8,000,000 USD. Lot Sold6,242,500 USD

PROVENANCE: Du Fresnay, Paris (acquired from the artist in October 1877)

Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the above on June 13, 1894)

Private Collection, Paris (by descent from the above)

Private Collection, France (Sale: Christie's, New York, November 3, 2004, lot 30)

Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

EXHIBITED: Berlin, Paul Cassirer, Ausstellung VIII. Jahrgang, 1905, no. 22

London, Grafton Galleries, Pictures by Boudin, Manet, Pissarro, Cézanne, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Morisot, Sisley, 1905, no. 128

Weimar, Grossherzogliches Museum, Claude Monet, 1905, no. 5

London, Grosvenor Gallery, Art français, 1914, no. 42

Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Tableaux par Claude Monet, 1928, no. 19

Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paysages par C. Monet, C. Pissarro, Renoir et Sisley, 1933, no. 5

Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Maîtres des 18e et 19e siècles, 1938, no. 45

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Hondred Jaar Fransche Kunst, 1938, no. 179

Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Claude Monet, 1959, no. 18, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Claude Monet, 1970, no. 17, illustrated in the catalogue

Tokyo, Seibu Gallery; Kyoto, Municipal Museum & Fukuoka, Cultural Center, Claude Monet, 1973, no. 15, illustrated in the catalogue

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet, biographie et catalogue raisonné, Lausanne & Paris, 1974, vol. I, no. 452, illustrated p. 311

Paul Hayes Tucker, Monet at Argenteuil, New Haven, 1982, fig. 151, illustrated p. 187

Robert Gordon & Andrew Forge, Monet, New York, 1983, illustrated p. 134

Daniel Wildenstein, Monet, catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1996, vol. II, no. 452, illustrated p. 183

NOTE: Painted in 1877, the present work depicts the Argenteuil promenade looking downstream from the bank of the river Seine. Monet moved to Argenteuil, a suburb near Paris, in 1871, and lived there for the following six years. Inspired by the picturesque scenery of the Seine that coexisted harmoniously with such emblems of modern life as smokestacks, boaters and well-dressed strollers, he painted a number of views of the region. In the 1870s, Argenteuil was booming with signs of modernization and industrialization, and was one of the fastest growing regions in the vicinity of Paris. With the advance of the steamboat and railway, the Argenteuil path along the Seine became a popular promenade, rather than the commercial route as it had been in the past.

In choosing to paint in the area of Argenteuil, Monet often focused on sailboats on the river, or the view of the promenade extending deep into the background, sometimes punctuated with figures of fashionably dressed strollers. For the present composition, however, the artist chose a different angle: here he depicted the hot baths on the left, with their lavish flower garden occupying the lower half of the canvas. Daniel Wildenstein described this view: "Several times, he painted a motif that he had first attempted in 1872, the edge of the promenade, looking downstream, with the manor house behind it. In at least two paintings [including the present work], he depicted the bathing establishment moored to the bank; the factory chimneys treated very discreetly, and sometimes omitted altogether. In the foreground, flowers recently planted by the owner of the bathing establishment allowed the warm colours of Monet's garden theme to be allied with that of the Seine" (D. Wildenstein, op. cit., 1996, vol. I, p. 131).

During this time, Monet often experimented with a high horizon line, and the present composition is dominated by wild vegetation in the foreground, with only about half of the canvas opening up to the view of the river and the sky above it. The far bank of this view was populated by a saw mill, a tannery, an iron factory, as well as by residential houses around them. Monet, however, chose to crop some of these signs of industrialized world out of his painting, and carefully selected his viewpoint in order to edit out the common commercial traffic on the Seine and the factories with their smokestacks, and to maximize the natural elements. In doing so, Monet wished to capture the secluded, tranquil atmosphere that had characterised the area, glorifying its idyllic, unspoilt past rather than its bustling, modernized present.

In 1877 Monet painted only four canvases of Argenteuil (Wildenstein nos. 450-453), all of them showing the town and river from a similar view-point. Paul Hayes Tucker wrote about these works: "The four include all the appealing aspects of the site: flower covered banks, tall trees, green grass, refreshing water, and open sky. People stroll along the path while others guide their boats on the river. The petit château, colored a rich purple, sits on a carpet of green in the background. Across the water is the charming Ile Marante, and nearer the foreground is the floating laundry house. [...] Individually and as a group, therefore, these pictures, like the earlier Promenade along the Seine, 1872, seem to reaffirm the idyllic qualities of Argenteuil" (P. H. Tucker, op. cit., p. 181).

Prior to 1873, France, along with the rest of western Europe, enjoyed a period of prosperity due to advances in industry, technology, wages and standards of living. Those who could afford it moved to once-rural areas that were now quickly and easily accessible from Paris by train. With their increased earnings, a leisure class of boaters and Sunday travellers emerged in these suburbs. Factories replaced inexpensive farmland and soon began to appear just outside the city. Monet and his fellow painters delighted in depicting the activities of the Parisian middle classes, and the present work is a beautiful homage to the area that the artist would leave soon after its execution.


Édouard Manet (1832-1883), Portrait de Monsieur Brun.

Oil on paper laid down on canvas. Painted in 1880. 55 by 35.5 cm. Estimate 4,000,000—6,000,000 USD. Lot Sold 5,402,500 USD

PROVENANCE: M. Brun, Paris (acquired from the artist)

Thence by descent

EXHIBITED: Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Portraits français, 1945, no. 70

Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Cent portraits d'hommes, 1952

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Denis Rouart & Georges Wildenstein, Edouard Manet, Catalogue raisonné, vol. I, Lausanne & Paris, 1975, no. 327, illustrated p. 255

NOTE: Manet's handsome portrait of Monsieur Brun dates from the end of the artist's prodigious career. The present composition is one of two renderings of the gentleman subject and aristrocratic friend of the artist, and it is the version that has been in Brun's family since it was painted in 1880. A larger, nearly identical composition was purchased by Kojiro Matsukata and is now in the collection of the Bridgestone Museum in Tokyo. The present work, which Brun deemed the more desirable of the two compositions, is the more nuanced version and beautifully captures the elegance and style of the dapper man posing en plein air, which was Manet's preferable mode for portraying his subjects.

Manet's candid approach to portraiture did not always meet with the approval of his clients. As he was known for synthesizing certain characteristics of his sitters to convey their general character, Manet's portraits were often rejected by his commissioners in favor of more flattering renditions of the same subject. The journalist and politician Antonin Proust, who famously had his own likeness painted by Manet the year before he painted the present work, provides the following account of the experience of sitting for the artist: "During the course of that year, 1879, Manet was obsessed by two idées fixes: to do a plein-air painting... and to paint my portrait on unprepared white canvas, in a single sitting....." (Manet (exhibition catalogue), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, p. 449). Indeed, the present work evidences a spontaneity and painterly freedom that would come to define the style of Manet's most successful works.

At the end of his life, Manet reflected on his skills as a portrait painter, and summarized his philosophy in the following terms; "Conciseness in art is a necessity and a grace," Manet once advised a young painter. "In a figure, look for the full light and the full shadow, the rest will come naturally.... And then, cultivate your memory; for nature will never give you more than information – [memory] is a lifeline that saves you from falling into banality. At all times, you must be the master, and do what pleases you. No set pieces! Please, no set pieces!"


Camille Pissarro (1831 - 1903), Paysannes ramassant des herbes, Éragny

Oil on canvas. Painted in 1886. Signed C. Pissarro and dated 1886 (lower right). 38 by 46 cm. Estimate 800,000—1,200,000 USD. Lot Sold 1,142,500 USD

PROVENANCE: Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the artist in 1886)

Durand-Ruel, New York (acquired from the above)

Chester Johnson Galleries, Chicago (acquired from the above on December 29, 1930)

Acquired from the above

EXHIBITED: Paris, 1, rue Laffitte, Huitième Exposition de peinture, 1886, no. 102 (titled Plein soleil)

New York, National Academy of Design, Celebrated Paintings by Great French Masters, 1887, no. 169

Boston, Chase's Gallery, Paintings by the Impressionists of Paris: Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, 1891, no. 10

(possibly) New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Paintings by Camille Pissarro, 1903, no. 17

New York, The Armory of the 69th Infantry; Chicago, The Art Institute & Boston, Copley Hall, International Exhibition of Modern Art, 1913, no. 501

Waterbury, Mattatuck Historical Society, 1925

Kansas City, Missouri, Art Institute, 1930

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: Rodolphe Darzens, La Pléiade, Paris, May 1886, p. 90

Marcel Fouquier, Le XIXe siècle, Paris, May 16, 1886, p. 2

Gustave Geffroy, La Justice, Paris, May 21, 1886

George Auriol, Le Chat noir, Paris, May 22, 1886, p. 2

Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro and Lionello Venturi, Camille Pissarro - Son art, son oeuvre, vol. I, Paris, 1939, no. 699, catalogued p. 179; vol. II, no. 699, illustrated pl. 145

Joachim Pissarro & Claire Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro, Catalogue critique des peintures, vol. III, Milan, 2005, no. 830, illustrated p. 546

NOTE: Included in the eighth and final official exhibition of the Impressionist painters in 1886, Paysannes ramassant des herbes, Eragny, exemplifies the theme for which Pissarro would be best known and also introduces the new neo-Impressionist divisionist style that he would help to pioneer in the years to come. Titled Plein soleil in that seminal exhibition, the scene depicts fieldworkers in the tall grass of Éragny. As a caretaker of the land, Pissarro, like his Realist forebearers Courbet and Millet, held a deep respect for rural working class, and his vivid depictions of their activities are often considered tributes to the patriotism at the heart of their work.

Critical reception of the eighth Impressionist exhibition identified a stylistic turning of the tides in the paintings of some of the participants, including those of Pissarro and newcomers Seurat and Signac. Pissarro's paintings elicited generous praise, particularly for his glorious renderings of agricultural labor. "Here are fields, real fields," marveled George Auriol in response to Paysannes ramassant des herbes, Eragny. "Here are people working in the fields!" (reprinted and Pissarro and Snollaerts, op. cit. p. 546). A more detailed criticism by Marcel Fouquier of the style of the present work was equally glowing: "Bright Sunshine (the present work) and Meadows at Bazincourt in the Morning (Pissarro & Snollaerts no. 792) are paintings that possess great character and the profound charm of nature and poetry. The brushwork is remarkable. M. Pissarro paints with small, distinct, precise touches and subtle and penetrating juxtapositions of pure tones. His canvases are so dotted that from up close they are like a collection of diversely coloured nail heads, but when viewed from the right distance, a perspective is established, the planes gain depth, and, the sky being handled with a deliberate lightness [of touch], and impression of vast space and an indefinite horizon is produced" (reprinted in ibid., p. 521).

Paysannes ramassant des herbes, Éragny was one of the first of the artist's works to be exhibited in the United States, introducing an American audience to the most current of stylistic transformations occuring in Paris at the time.

* Pre-sale estimates do not include buyer’s premium.