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David Weiss
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Published: 8 January 2018

Highlights from European Art & Old Masters

On January 23, Freeman’s will hold its auction of European Art & Old Masters. The sale will appeal to a wide range of collectors and features a broad selection of works dating from the 16th through the 20th centuries including prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture. Some notable artists featured in the sale include Edouard Leon Cortes, Jean Dufy, Blanche Hoschedé-Monet, Henry Moret, Vasili Ivanovich Shukhaev, Ilia Zankovski, Fikret Mualla, Celso Lagar, William Henry Morgetson, Montague Dawson, William Clark, Hugo Kauffmann, Alexander Max Koester and Hugues Merle.

Artworks of note include Lot 41, a Madonna and Child oil on panel painted by the Ghirlandaio workshop under the direction of Michele Tosini (Italian 1503-1577), the Renaissance painter who worked primarily in Florence. The workshop was established by Domenico Ghirlandaio along with his two brothers and welcomed many apprentices over the years including, most notably, Michelangelo. This painting portrays the emphasis placed on drawing in the workshop as Tosini was one of the four founding members of the Accademia del Disegno, along with Giorgio Vasari, in 1563. This unique painting is estimated between $15,000-25,000.

Another highlight of the sale is Lot 131, “Les Ombres Sur la Prairie (Giverny, La Plaine des Ajoux)”, a beautiful Impressionist landscape by Blanche Hoschedé-Monet (French 1865-1947), whose mother was the famous Claude Monet’s second wife, and who subsequently married Monet’s eldest son, Jean. Learning to paint en plein air alongside Monet himself, she was the only pupil he ever took on. While her family ties have helped to boost her notoriety, her unique talents and gift for painting rank her among other female Impressionist painters of the period including Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt. The Lot, which is replete with appealing pastel colors and portrays a popular region of France, is estimated between $40,000-60,000.

A noteworthy painting is Lot 130 by French artist Henry Moret (1856-1913), entitled “Lorient” and completed in 1890. The Lot depicts the city of Lorient, located in the northwestern part of France in Brittany, where the artist completed his military service and where he eventually returned to abide. Upon moving to this area, he immersed himself in painting landscapes and street scenes. In the present painting, the artist invites us to a promenade along a street covered with autumn leaves during a beautiful, peaceful day. The Lot is included in the forthcoming new edition of the Catalogue Raisonné of the artist’s work and will be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity. It is estimated between $30,000-50,000.

The important, British Pre-Raphaelite artist John Byam Shaw (1872-1919) is represented in the sale with Lot 56, a lovely portrait of a young woman in an exceptional gilded frame with mother of pearl inlay. The captivating work is entitled “When Alone She Sits With Her Music and Books” and was executed in 1899. Shaw’s artistic influences stemmed from famous other Pre-Raphaelites including Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, whose poems inspired many of Shaw’s canvases. This particular painting’s title is taken from a verse of a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Maud,” which is found painted at the bottom of the frame. Maud is painted in a lavish cream gown adorned with flowers, her bell sleeves resembling gossamer wings; behind her, stacked precariously on sofa of deep olive and red, are several large books to which Tennyson refers. Her face, though caught in shadow, shows rosy cheeks and the classical, elegant features so representative of the Pre-Raphaelite style. The work is estimated between $15,000-25,000.

A work by Dutch portraitist Pieter Nason (1612-1688), “Portrait of a Commanding Officer,” will be offered as Lot 26. Nason was a member of the St. Luke’s Guild of Painters in the Hague, and was most likely a student of Jan van Ravesteyn. The present piece, executed in 1667, is indicative of Nason’s style of portraiture, with firm roots in the Dutch Golden Age of painting. Its estimate is between $10,000-15,000.

The auction will also include several works by Jean Dufy (French 1888-1964), two oils and two watercolors. The oils are specifically of note, and are Lots 153 and 154. Lot 153, with an estimate between $20,000-30,000, depicts the well-known Longchamp Racecourse and is entitled “Aux Courses”. It captures the intensity of a horse race, showcasing Dufy’s characteristic long, sharp lines, which are repeated in the sweeping trees and concourse of the covered stadium seating, as well as in the slanting figures of the horses and jockeys. Lot 154, also estimated between $20,000-30,000, is titled “Paris-Place Clichy” and depicts the major intersection in northwest Paris. At the center of the bustling place stands a statue of the sculptor and artist Amédée Doublemard, surrounded by a blur of horse drawn carriages and small vehicles. The newly constructed Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, completed in 1914, stands sentry in the distance, presiding over the neighborhood from the highest point in the city. Jean Dufy’s quick, strong brushstrokes and confident use of color are a hallmark of his modernist style. Each Dufy work in the sale will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

Another group of four works by well-known French artist, Édouard Léon Cortès (1882-1969) will be showcased at the auction (Lots 155, 156, 157 and 159). The Paris that Cortès portrayed remains primarily the city of the Belle Époque. His paintings are often filled with nostalgia for the period. Through his masterly application of bold brush strokes and colorful palette, Cortès was able to capture the slightest details of the “City of Lights,” including the dazzling rain on the pavements or the fashionable inhabitants depicted next to iconic and historic monuments. Far from being purely aesthetic, his works also display the profound knowledge he held of perspective and composition. Indeed, almost all of his canvases show traces of a pinprick hole, from which he would draw the main lines of the composition.

The preview for this auction runs from Thursday, January 18 through Monday, January 22, with viewing the morning of the auction by appointment.

View the Catalogue Today.

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