Showcasing the very best in modern and contemporary art, Sotheby’s London Sales this March present a showcase of the major artistic movements of the 20th and 21st centuries, from the innovations of the Impressionists to the groundbreaking works of Contemporary masters and designers.
This March in London, Sotheby’s will offer for sale one of the greatest paintings by Kandinsky ever to come to market. Dating from a transformative moment in Kandinsky’s career, Murnau mit Kirche II encapsulates the very beginnings of the revolutionary abstract language that would underpin the rest of Kandinsky’s career – and set the next generation of artists on a new path. Executed on an impressive scale, in the near-square format favoured by avant-garde contemporaries from Monet to Klimt, and with a rich palette of contrasting hues, the newly-restituted painting has a remarkable history.
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Signed Kandinsky and dated 1910 on the lower right), and inscribed by Gabriele Münter on the stretcher, the oil on canvas work measures 96 by 105.5 cm., 37¾ by 41½ in, and was executed in 1910.
Edvard Munch’s singular vision resulted in vivid, psychological artworks that are among the most powerfully expressive works of Modern art. In 1906, at a turning point in his life, Munch was commissioned to paint what is now known as The Reinhardt Frieze. Installed on the walls of impresario Max Reinhardt’s avant-garde theatre in Berlin with twelve major canvases, it was an immersive installation – one of the first of its kind – and trailblazed the relationship between performance and art.
At just over four metres wide, Dance on the Beach is the monumental culmination of the series. In the foreground of the canvas are two of the artist’s great loves, affairs with both of whom ended in heartbreak. Like much of Munch’s best work, it explores the themes of life, love and death that underpinned his vision of the ‘modern life of the soul’. It is the only example from the Reinhardt series remaining in private hands, with all of the others held in German museum collections.
The painting was last on the market 89 years ago, when it was acquired at a Norwegian auction by Thomas Olsen – who assembled an unmatched collection of around thirty works by Munch including one of four versions of the infamous The Scream. Having previously belonged to Dr Curt Glaser, a major cultural figure in 1930s Berlin who was forced to flee when the National Socialists came to power, Dance on the Beach is being sold subject to an agreement between the two families.
The women in Picasso’s life have always been at the heart of the artist’s œuvre. On September 5, 1935, a new muse arrived in the form of his daughter Maya, named María de la Concepción after Picasso’s beloved late sister. Born to his great love Marie-Thérèse Walter, Maya was to prove an immense source of happiness for Picasso. Her birth came at a time of personal crisis for the artist; a lengthy divorce battle with his first wife Olga Khokhlova and the associated loss of his beloved property, Château de Boisgeloup, in combination with the increasingly worsening political situation in Europe conspired to overwhelm the artist, who was experiencing a nearly year-long abstinence from painting.
The arrival of Maya sparked a creative rejuvenation. Between January 1938 and November 1939 Picasso painted fourteen portraits of Maya – the most important series Picasso devoted to any of his children, in which his joy as a father finds poignant expression through his art. Fillette au bateau (Maya), one of the artist’s most playful depictions of his daughter, will now appear at auction for the first time in more than 20 years. Kept by Picasso until his death in 1973, the painting was subsequently owned by Gianni Versace, before being sold by Sotheby’s London in 1999 as part of the late fashion designer’s collection of 25 works by the artist. Last year it was exhibited at the Musée Picasso in Maya Ruiz-Picasso, fille de Pablo a show celebrating the artist’s depictions of his daughter.
The Now Evening Auction
1 MARCH 2023 | 6:00 PM GMT | LONDON
Modern & Contemporary Evening Auction
1 MARCH 2023 | 7:00 PM GMT | LONDON
Modern & Contemporary Day Auction
2 MARCH 2023 | 12:00 PM GMT |