Private Masterpieces Move to Auction

Christie's London announces the sale of an exceptional and historic group of Modern Masters: Works from an Important Private Swiss Collection which will be offered at auction on February 5, 2014.

Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network are excited about this amazing opportunity to publicly obtain such important artworks.

Collections often reflect their collectors‟ tastes and histories, but seldom do they also reflect their friendships and relationships as much as the 22 works of art assembled by a private Swiss couple. The collection is expected to realize in the excess of £30 million.

The consignors -- an elderly married couple who wish to remain private -- were prominent in the cultural milieu of Switzerland and Europe as a whole, particularly in the middle decades of the 20th century.

Behind almost all of these works are tales of friendship, as the collectors came to know many of the artists who are represented, meeting a number of the leading figures of the avant garde.

The collection is led by a magnificent still life by Juan Gris, Nature morte à la nappe à carreaux, 1915 (estimate: £12-18 million, illustrated above left).

John Lumley, Honorary Chairman, Christie’s: “In all my 50 years at Christie’s, this is a collection which stands out. It has faultless historical credentials, it provides insights into the personalities of the artists and the collectors, and it also reflects their daring, now justified support of modern art itself, ranging across Cubism, Purism and Surrealism.”

Not all of the works in the collection were from artists whom the collectors knew. The still life by Gris was beyond the couple‟s financial means when it was available for sale in Switzerland.

Instead of buying it, they were able to advise an acquaintance, the eminent Professor Doctor Wilhelm Löffler, with such enthusiasm that he bought it for himself; bequeathing it to them upon his death.

Architectural Influence

Looking at the collection, it is interesting to note the architectural dimension that is often present.

The couple who assembled these works were often in contact with people from that world, and so it seems only natural that they acquired works that are either architectural in character, such as Piet Mondrian‟s Composition No. 2 with Blue and Yellow, 1930 (estimate: £8-12 million, illustrated above right), Theo van Doesburg‟s 1928 Contra Composition XX (estimate:£1-1.5 million) and Georges Vantongerloo‟s Composition émanant de l’hyperbole de Oel, 1919 (estimate: £250,000- 350,000), or which were the creations of artists involved with architecture and design, such as Le Corbusier and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.

'Pittura Metafisica' Masterpiece

Further highlights include the most significant work by Carlo Carrà ever to come to auction: Solitudine (Solitude) (estimate: £2.5-3.5 million).

Conceived in the middle of the First World War, in a withdrawn hospital outside Ferrara, the painting commemorates one of the most significant years in the career of the artist, when in 1917 he met and worked closely together with Giorgio de Chirico.

In its distilled composition and linear structure -- unlike the works of de Chirico -- Solitudine ultimately expresses Carrà's individual perspective on Pittura Metafisica, manifesting his very personal approach to figurative painting.

Carrà's involvement with movement of Pittura Metafisica in 1917 was paralleled by a growing interest for the masters of the Renaissance, which permeates Solitudine.

This work remains one of the most emblematic woks of Pittura Metafisica, marking the dawn of Italian Modernism.

L’Oiseau-nocturne, one of two paintings by Joan Miró in this collection, was painted on 30 August 1939 in the village of Varengeville-sur-Mer, Normandy, on the Channel coast, during a sojourn that lasted from mid-August 1939 through late May 1940 (estimate: £1-1.5 million, illustrated right).

The collection also includes works by Kurt Schwitters, Antoine Pevsner, Constantin Brancusi, Louis Marcoussis, and Henri Laurens.