Paul Delvaux (1897 – 1994), “Deux Femmes,” 1945. Watercolor, ink, and ink wash on paper, 14 1/8 x 10 3/8 inches. Signature partially effaced at lower right. Artcurial pre-sale estimate: 25,000 – 35,000 Euros. Image courtesy and copyright Artcurial.
PARIS — If one can expect Christie’s to trot out the incontournables for the Spring Impressionism and Modern sales — familiar canvasses by Pissarro, Cezanne, and others, guaranteed to fetch seven figures — one has come to expect Artcurial to spring the unexpected: paintings,watercolors, and drawings from artists you’ve never or rarely heard of but should know, or unattended aspects of familiar artists revealed for the first time. The June 7 Impressionism & Modern sale from France’s largest auction house is no exception, with a self-portrait from the Montparnassian Foujita, a charcoal and crayon study of two lavandieres from the Montmartrois Steinlen, a deceptively simple landscape from perhaps the most-undervalued Surrealist going, Andre Masson, more comedic quirkiness from Jean Helion, more Belgian Surrealist-Naturalist strangeness from Paul Delvaux, and a 16-work cachet from Georges d’Espagnat, a contemporary of Bonnard and Denis whose nudes evoke the first and pastoral tableaux the second. — Paul Ben-Itzak
Georges d’Espagnat (1870 -1950), “Nu aux Rochers Rouges,” 1923. Oil on canvas, 38 1/4 x 51 3/8 inches. Signed with the monogram at lower right. Artcurial pre-sale estimate: 15,000 – 20,000 Euros. Image courtesy and copyright Artcurial.
Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859 -1923), “Deux Lavandières.” Charcoal and chalk on paper, 18 1/8 x 24 1/4 inches. Signed lower right. Artcurial pre-sale estimate: 3,000 – 4,000 Euros. Image courtesy and copyright Artcurial.
Foujita (1886 – 1968), “Self-portrait,” 1953. Pencil and ink wash on paper, 10 3/8 x 8 1/4 inches. Signed and dated lower center. Artcurial pre-sale estimate: 8,000-12,000 Euros. Image courtesy and copyright Artcurial.
Jean Helion (1904 – 1987), “Suite amoureuse, pompiste et promeneuse,” 1974. Oil on canvas, 19 5/8 x 51 1/8 inches. Signed with the initial and dated lower right. Signed again, dated, and titled on the reverse. Artcurial pre-sale estimate: 8,000 – 12,000 Euros. Image courtesy and copyright Artcurial.
André Masson (1896-1987), “La Seine près de Vetheuil,” 1953. Oil on canvas, 7 7/8 x 23 5/8 inches. Signed lower left. Artcurial pre-sale estimate: 4,000 – 6,000 Euros. Image courtesy and copyright Artcurial. While this tableau may look elementary when viewed in an Internet reproduction, looked up close up and seeing the array of splashes and dashes that produced the above effect, including the artist’s signature vermillion in the foreward plane, one is reminded what a gemnius Masson was.