PHILADELPHIA — Freeman’s May 11 La Belle Epoque on Paper auction brings an important collection of artworks from a private New York family to market. The 16 lots offered — almost all works on paper — highlight the work of such School of Paris luminaries as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Raoul Dufy and Joan Miro, and present buyers with remarkable fresh-to-market collecting opportunities. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Leading the sale is Marc Chagall’s 1961 Devant la Fenetre a Sils, a lush, large gouache on paper that capture’s a lover’s embrace against a backdrop of a window overlooking the Alps. It carries an estimate of $250,000-$400,000. Lovers were among Chagall’s most common themes in his oeuvre, and the enthusiasm and warmth emanating from the present work recalls Chagall’s blissful period in the south of France earlier in his career, which deeply influenced his subsequent work.
Individually and as a collection, the works on offer in La Belle Epoque on Paper speak to the family’s affinity with French culture and its strong ties with Paris specifically, where they resided half the year. Works such as Raoul Dufy’s Regates, a 1924 watercolor on paper estimated at $50,000-$80,000, capture the era’s joie de vivre; while works on paper by Paul Signac and Maurice Utrillo offer charming renditions of Parisian street scenes.
Drawings such as Pablo Picasso’s Homme a la Flute et Enfant speak to the kind of artistic experimentation and energy afoot in Paris, where artistes bohemes flocked in search of new challenges and ideals and came to form vibrant artistic communities within the city. The Picasso drawing is estimated at $50,000-$80,000.
The collection also highlights important antecedents to this artistic activity, including four works by Camille Pissarro, led by his ink-and-wash Le Penseur.
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