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Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Josef Albers, Serge Poliakoff: winter auction of Modern and Contemporary art 2021 at Karl & Faber


8 and 9 December, 2021, Karl & Faber will offer rare XX century paintings, drawings, collages and lithographs. The sale will be lead by the selected works including a shimmering and pearly “Femme nue à sa toilette” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, presumably showing the painter and Renoir’s mistress Suzanne Valadon, meditative abstract composition by Serge Poliakoff, iconic square in green and grey by Josef Albers, “Clown” by Paul Klee inspired by childhood emotions, as well as other outstanding works.

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Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841, Limoges – 1919, Cagnes-sur-Mer).
“Femme nue à sa toilette”.
Oil on canvas, relined. (1892). Ca. 35*22 cm.
Stamped with the signature lower left (Lugt 2137b).
More images here.

“Femme nue à sa toilette”by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (€ 350’000 – 400’000) exemplifies his later style featuring shimmering layers of paint created with loose brushwork. A female form is depicted delicately in a silver mist, and presumably shows the painter and the mother of Maurice Utrillo Suzanne Valadon, who was Renoir’s mistress. The curvy body, full lips and a bun on the head make the seater look like Valadon, whose natural and sensual beauty was admired by Renoir.

Note:

  • With a confirmation of authenticity by Elizabeth Gorayeb, Wildenstein Plattner Institute, New York, dated 30.10.2017.
  • This work will be included in the forthcoming digital Catalogue Raisonné of works of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, which is currently being prepared by the Wildenstein Plattner Institute and it is recorded in the archives as WPI no. 17.10.18/20029.

Exibitions:

  • Renoir, Kunsthalle, Basel 1942, Kat.-Nr. 117;
  • La Peinture française de 1800 à nos jours, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Neuchâtel 1943, (Titel: Petite baigneuse);
  • Bliss, Nahmad Projects, London 2016.

Provenance:

  • Galerie Tanner, Zurich; Pierre Dubied, Neuchâtel, 1947; Private collection, USA, until 1995; Christie’s, New York 8.11.1995, Lot 120; Private collection, Switzerland.
Serge Poliakoff
Serge Poliakoff (1900, Moscow – 1969, Paris).
“Abstract composition”.
Oil on canvas. (1951). Ca. 130*89 cm.
More images here.

“Abstract composition” by Serge Poliakoff (estimated at € 350’000-400’000) was produced in 1951 when his palette became brighter, and he found his distinctive artistic style. The area with the strongest colour variety occupies the centre of the painting and uneven contours create a delicate rhythm. The meditative effect of the composition is reached through colour combination and the balance of proportions.

Note:

  • Signed lower left. With partially illegible stamp “(…) M. Besnier No. (…)796” and the hand written inscriptions “T 660” and “60.P.” on the reverse on the stretcher.
  • With a photo expertise by Marcelle Poliakoff, Paris, dated 28.11.1972, therein titled “Composition noir, jaune, orange” and dated 1950-52.
  • Firmly mounted in the floater frame. Not examined out of the frame.

Exhibitions:

  • Robert Jacobsen – Serge Poliakoff, Kunsthalle, Basel 1958. Label on the reverse with the inscription “No. 4271”;
  • Serge Poliakoff, Musée Municipal, Vallauris 1978, Kat.-Nr. 14. Label on the reverse on the frame.

Provenance:

  • Collection Annie Ronchèse, Nice;
  • Heritage of Annie Ronchèse, Drouot-Montaigne, Paris 4.12.2003, lot 59;
  • Private collection, Switzerland.
Josef Albers
Josef Albers (1888, Bottrop – 1976, New Haven).
Study for homage to the square ‘Oracle’.
Oil on masonite, mounted on fibreboard. 1961. Ca. 81*81 cm.
More images here.

The study “Oracle” by Josef Albers for his homage to the square (estimated at € 350’000-450’000) showcases influence of colour on environment like all other works in the series. Albers worked on the series comrprising 53 works from 1957 to 1973. One of his main artistic ideas is not to consider colour an absolute variable but examine its aspects in compliance with nearby colour areas. ’Oracle” is his rare work in terms of composition. The illusion of space is reached through the combination of colours only, thus making the painting look like a window with green nature outside.

Note:

  • Monogrammed and dated lower right. In artist’s frame.
  • With detailed annotations on the reverse by an unknown hand. Verso by another hand with detailed inscriptions.
  • According to the Foundation, an additional fibreboard was added to the back of the work, on which Albers’ original inscriptions were traced by an unknown hand. When, by whom and for what reason this additional plate was added to the back of the work could not be clarified even after extensive archival research, although this was done with the artist’s consent.
  • With an expertise by Nicholas Fox Weber, Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany, Connecticut, dated 2.9.2020. This work is recorded in the archive of the foundation as “JAAF 1976.1.789” and will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of paintings.

Exhibitions:

  • Interaction of Color: A Presentation of Paintings and the Color Theory of Josef Albers, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas u.a. 1963/64;
  • The Art of Josef Albers, Austin Arts Center, Trinity College, Hartford 1965, Kat.-Nr. 22 (Loaned to Sidney Janis Gallery);
  • Albers, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York 1989, partly visible label on the reverse;
  • Josef Albers Paintings, Waddington Custot Galleries, London 2009, Kat.-Nr. 21, farb. Abb. S. 49, label on the reverse.

Provenance:

  • Hritage of the artist;
  • The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany, Connecticut, 1976;
  • Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, 1989;
  • Edward Totah Gallery, London;
  • Galerie Arditti, Paris;
  • Private collection, Palm Beach;
  • Sotheby’s, Paris 7.6.2016, Lot 15;
  • Private collection, France.
Max Ernst
Max Ernst (1891, Brühl – 1976, Paris).
“Man and woman”.
Oil on cardboard. (1930). Ca. 33*24 cm.
Signed lower right.
More images here.

Surrealistic “Man and woman” (estimated at € 250’000-300’000) by Max Ernst consolidates the main themes of his art, such as a man and a woman, a bird and a man, reality and fantasy. The contrast defines the meaning of the painting in the duality of visible images and the choice of colours to bring more air into the space.

Note:

  • With a label of the artist’s supply store George Rowney & Co, London on the reverse of the card.
  • With a photo expertise by Dr. Jürgen Pech, Brühl, dated 15.6.2014 (copy). This work will be included in the forthcoming supplement to the Catalogue Raisonné by Werner Spies and Jürgen Pech.

Exhibitions:

  • Max Ernst, Galerie Vignon, Paris 1930;
  • Le Chant de la Grenouille, the Surrealists in Conversation, Helly Nahmad Gallery, New York 2014;
  • Max Ernst – Yves Tanguy: Deux Visions du Surréalisme, Musée Paul Valéry, Sète 2016.

Provenance:

  • Ader, Picard, Tajan, Paris 24.11.1988, Lot 88;
  • Private collection, Switzerland.
  • Verso auf dem Karton mit dem Etikett der Künstlerbedarfshandlung George Rowney & Co, London.
Paul Klee
Paul Klee (1879, Münchenbuchsee-1940, Muralto-Locarno).
“Haelften, the clown”.
Black coloured paste on thin Japon, mounted on smooth paper by the artist. 1938. Ca. 57*42 cm. (backing paper ca. 69*49,5 cm).
Signed in the centre of the left edge. The backing paper titled lower right, dated and inscribed “D7” lower left.
More images here.

One of the later works by Paul Klee “Haelften, the clown” (estimated at € 160’000-200’000) is associated with childhood emotions of the artist and his searchings of his identity in the art. In that period he created many similar sketchings and studies showcasing acrobats, surreal animals and masks. The image in the picture is a referral to the iconic circus personality of the clown Grock. This work is part of the biggest collection of Paul Klees’s pictures belonging to Rolf und Käthi Bürgi.

Literature:

  • Grohmann, Will, Paul Klee, Stuttgart 1954, p. 379.

Exhibitions:

  • Schweizer Zeichnungen im 20. Jahrhundert, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, München,1971;
  • Paul Klee. Spätwerk. Arbeiten auf Papier 1937-1939. Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart/Kunsthalle, Emden 1990/1991;
  • Paul Klee. Die Sammlung Bürgi, Kunstmuseum, Bern 2000;
  • Kunstmuseum, Bern 2002-2005;
  • Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern 2005-2007;
  • Zwischen Himmel und Erde. Bilderwelten von Paul Klee, Stadtmuseum, Lindau 2017;
  • Paul Klee. Musik und Theater in Leben und Werk, Galerie Thomas, München 2018.

Provenance:

  • Nachlass des Künstlers/Sammlung Lily Klee, Bern, 1940-1946;
  • Klee Gesellschaft, Bern, 1946-1950;
  • Private collection, Rolf Bürgi, Bern, 1950-1967;
  • Private collection, Switzerland, 1967-1995;
  • Private collection, Switzerland, 1995-2000;
  • Private collection, Switzerland, 2000-2010;
  • Kunsthandel Florian Sundheimer, München 2010;
  • Private collection, Nordrhein-Westfalen.
George Condo
George Condo (1957, Concord, New Hampshire).
“…the natural consequence of desire.”
Oil on canvas. (19)84. Ca. 96*78 cm.
Signed and dated lower right and titled upper left.
More images here.

George Condo’s “…the natural consequence of desire.” (estimated at € 100’000-150’000) is highly influenced bt the styles of Salvador Dali and Giorgio de Chirico. Symbolic and methaphysical images together with the inscription in the style of René Magritte convey a meaning of desire as a moving force of life.

Provenance:

  • Galleria Salvatore Ala, Milan;
  • Collection Carlo Tivioli, Milan;
  • Coolection Giuliana Romani Adami, Mailand;
  • Galleria Proposte d´Arte, Legnano;
  • Private collection, Italy.
Rupprecht Geiger
Rupprecht Geiger (1908, Munich – 2009, Munich).
Untitled (520/68).
Acrylic on canvas. (1968). Ca. 99,5*99,5 cm.
Signed on the reverse of the canvas. In the original acrylic strip frame.
More images here.

A bright orange oval against a blue background by Rupprecht Geiger (estimated at € 75’000-85’000) symbolizes the sun in the evening sky. Geiger used acrylic paint instead of oil, which he applied with a spray gun to reach even surface.

Provenance:

  • Galerie Dieter Wilbrand, Cologne;
  • Private collection, Austria.
Agostino Bonalumi
Agostino Bonalumi (1935, Vimercate –2013, Desio).
“Red”.
Tempera on moulded canvas. (19)74. Ca. 70*70 cm.
Signed and dated on the reverse of the canvas.
More images here.

The composition “Red” by Agostino Bonalumi (estimated at € 65’000-75’000), whose relief technique of working with canvas preceed 3-D technologies, showcases geometric shapes in various projections. The effect of volumeof the images is reached with additional lighting to the picture.

Note:

  • With a photo expertise by the Archivio Bonalumi, Milan. This work is recorded in the archive as number “74-019”.

Literature:

  • Barbero, Luca Massimo, Bonalumi. Evoluzione continua tra pittura e ambiente, Parma 2000, p. 86.
  • Bonalumi, Fabrizio/Meneguzzo, Marco, Agostino Bonalumi. Catalogo ragionato, Band 1, Milan 2015, p. 226.

Provenance:

  • Galleria d’Arte Niccoli, Parma;
  • Studio F. 22, Galleria d’Arte, Palazzolo sull’Oglio, stamped on the reverse;
  • Private collection, Italy.
Christo und Jeanne-Claude
Christo und Jeanne-Claude (1935, Gabrowo/Bulgarien – 2020, New York) and (1935, Casablanca – 2009, New York).
“Valley curtain (Project for Colorado) Rifle, Grand Hogback”.
Fabric, charcoal, pencil, wax crayon and paper collage on cardboard. 1971. Ca. 70,5*55,5 cm.
Signed. dated and titled centre left.
More images here.

“Valley curtain (Project for Colorado) Rifle, Grand Hogback” (estimated at € 60'000 – 80'000) is one of the first large-scale projects, which Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude could implement in the USA – raising an orange curtain across almost 400 m mountainous span. After intensive negotiations with authorities on a second attempt in 1972 the environmental work was produced. It had existed only for 28 hours before the wind destroyed it.

Note:

  • This work is recorded in the archive of Christo and Jean-Claude, New York.

Provenance:

  • Galerie Semiha Huber, Zurich, according to the label on the reverse;
  • Private collection, Southern Germany.
Tony Cragg
Tony Cragg (1949, Liverpool).
“Visible man (#2)”.
Murano glass. (2009). Ca. 63*32*22 cm.
More images here.

“Visible man (#2)” (estimated at € 60'000 – 80'000) belongs to the small series of sculptures by Tony Cragg made of Murano glass. These high complexity sparkling anthropomorphic figures were produced after the exhibiton Glasstress, where the workmasters demonstrate their skills of working with glass.

Note:

  • With a confirmation of authenticity by Galerie Buchmann, signed by the artist.

Provenance:

  • Galerie Buchmann, Lugano;
  • Private collection, Hessen.
William Kentridge
William Kentridge (1955, Johannesburg).
“Breathe”.
Indian ink on paper, laid down on wove (12 parts). (20)08. Each ca. 25,5*37 cm.
Signed and dated lower right and inscribed lower left.
More images here.

A series of drawings “Breathe” by William Kenridge is the template for the artist’s flip book with the same title. The animation shows a dancer executed in black ink on the pages of the Soviet encyclopedia from 1953. Dry academic text serves a contrast background for picture of a gracefully dancing woman. William Kentridge is one of the most important contemporary artists internationally and has already had exhibitions at the MoMA in New York, the Louvre in Paris or the Whitechapel Gallery in London

Note:

  • With a certificate by Galleria Lia Rumma, Milan, dated 3.8.2009.

Provenance:

  • Galleria Lia Rumma, Milan;
  • Private collection, Switzerland.

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