jawlensky art 88 298.
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Kaiser Wilhelm once made a disastrous attempt to interfere with the course of art in Germany and brought such a storm around his crowned head that he kept away from art criticism, at least publicly, for the rest of his life.
He may have suffered a heart attack if he had seen what the early German expressionists were doing between 1905 and the end of his empire.
Today, artists like Beckmann, Pechstein, Schmidt-Rottluf, Kirchner, Schiele, Campendonk, Macke, Marc, Jawlensky, Nolde, Grosz, Feininger and Klee, all of whom are well represented at Christie's London sale of German and Austrian art on February 6, look as bold and brilliant as ever.
Two of the most dramatic Schiele nudes, mixed-media drawings on paper, dominate the show. Kneeling Nude from 1917 has a top estimate of GBP2.5m. (over $3.2m); while his Reclining Nude in Black Stockings, of a young woman lifting her chemise to expose her genitals, signed 1913, is likely to go well beyond its top estimate of GBP700,000 ($1.2m.).
A later Kirchner of streetwalkers in post-war Berlin, one of a famous series, has a top estimate of GBP2.5m. ($4.4m.). The brilliantly formalized and richly colorful Cow and Calf by Heinrich Campendonk, 1914, will certainly reach GBP1m. Jawlensky's Dark Eyes, an oil of his mistress from 1912, can be expected to go to GBP3m. or more.
The Impressionist and Modern Art lots follow the Germans at Christie's the same evening. A small and very early Van Gogh, A Weaver at his Loom, from January 1884, has a very conservative estimate of GBP400,000-GBP600,000 and should do better, if only for historical reasons. I find it soundly conceived.
There are some able Pissarros on offer, but I prefer the lovely and atmospheric Sisley of the river at Saint Mammes, 1880 (GBP350,000-GBP450,000). A glimpse of The River Siene at Chatou by Vlaminck, 1907, does not show the bridge there that he loved to paint (there is one in the Sotheby's sale the following evening), but it is a lovely Fauvist work that may reach GBP1m.
The dominant lot in this sale is by Haim Soutine (1893-1943). His gestural Carcass of Beef, 1924, often likened to a crucifixion, is the last oil of this series in private hands and it may well go beyond its top estimate of GBP4.8m. ($8.5m.). A second Soutine lot, a landscape of Cagnes, painted the same year, is far more gentle and was originally purchased by Modigliani's friend and agent Leopold Zborowski (GBP380,000-GBP450,000).
An early and almost pretty Picasso pastel, Clown and Young Acrobat, 1905, is one of a sweet figurative series on the contrasts of age in which the little boy is seated comfortably next to the huge clown; it will certainly sell well (GBP1.5m.-GBP2.5m).
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