Spring Art Auctions Boast All-Star Line-Ups

  • Tamara de Lempicka, 'Nu adossé I,' 1925.

    Tamara de Lempicka, 'Nu adossé I,' 1925.

    Sotheby's

A number of standout artworks by such modern masters as Cezanne, Munch and Warhol and pioneering women artists from Tamara Lempicka to Cindy Sherman are heading to the auction block in May.

Leading the line-up at the world's two biggest auction houses is the high-profile sale of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” which will take place at Sotheby’s New York on May 2nd. The iconic artwork is expected to bring as much as $80 million.

Also to be sold at Sotheby’s that day is a “lost” work by Polish pioneering female artist, Tamara Lempicka.  The painting, entitled “Nu adosse 1” or “Reclining Nude I,” vanished from public view after being shown at the artist’s first major solo exhibition in Milan back in 1925.  It is estimated to go for up to $5 million.  The current owner didn’t realize until recently what he had on his hands.  However, he had appreciated the painting’s aesthetic so had held on to the painting, which embodies the spirit of the Art Deco, according to Sotheby’s.

The following week, Sotheby’s will auction Andy Warhol’s “Double Elvis,” at their post-war and contemporary art sale. The life-size painting, from 1963, epitomizes the Pop Art leaderl's obsession with fame, stardom and the public image, according to Sotheby's.  It is estimated to go for as much as $50 million.

Sotheby’s London will be selling the late Gunter Sachs collection, which includes a number of Warhols.  Among the standouts is Warhol’s portrait of French actress Bridgette Bardot, ex-wife of Gunter Sachs, as well as another silkscreen painting by that artist entitled “Flowers” from 1964-65.   Both images are expected to go for between $6 and $8 million.  The auction takes place on May 22 and 23. 

Meanwhile, Christie’s New York will be selling a rare work by Post-Impressionist Paul Cézanne, often hailed as the “father of modernism.” This watercolor has only recently been rediscovered and is a study for Cézanne’s series of five paintings, "Joueurs des cartes” or “Card Players.”  The work offered at auction belonged to Dr. Heinz F. Eichenwald, a prominent collector who died in September.

Dr. Eichenwald, a renowned expert on pediatric infectious diseases, inherited the watercolor from his parents who, according to Christie’s experts, are thought to have bought it from a Berlin gallery around 1930, shortly before they fled the Nazi occupation. Cézanne scholars have established the identity of the seated man as Paulin Paulet, who appears in all five paintings of the final series.  The watercolor study will be exhibited in Geneva in April before a New York showing ahead of the May 1 sale, and is estimated to go for $20 million. 

The Akron Art Museum, in a somewhat controversial move, has decided to put one of their Cindy Shermans up for sale.   The 1981 photograph “Untitled #96” is estimated to go for somewhere between $2,800,000-$3,800,000, which would provide an enormous boost to the museum’s $2 million acquisitions endowment.  Another copy of “Untitled #96” sold last year for nearly $4 million dollars.  The photograph, depicting a young woman in orange lying on the floor clutching a personal ad, will be sold at Christie’s New York on May 8th.

(Report: Christine Bolli for ARTFIXdaily)

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