It might seem unfair to compare the three drawings on paper above, all on sale at Artcurial’s October 18 sale of Impressionist and Modern art in Paris, given their different artistic purposes and ‘hors-canvas’ contexts which might add to their appreciation and investment value. If seemingly unremarkable in itself, Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947)’s 19.5 x 20.5 “Nu à sa toilette,” estimated pre-sale by Artcurial at 1,500 – 2,000 € (top), nonetheless informs Bonnard’s intimate bedroom and bathroom nudes, often featuring his wife Marthe. Besides the effective use of the pencil to create the illusion of gossamer floating on the skin of his subject, Aristide Maillol (1861 – 1944)’s 26.7 x 21 cm “Nu a la draperie,” estimated at 1,200 – 1,500 € (middle), is ‘newsworthy’ because of the relatively recent death of the likely model for the drawing, Dina Vierney, his inheritor and the founder of the Maillot / Dina Vierney Foundation museum in Paris’s toney 7th arrondissement, recently overhauled and revamped with contemporary exhibitions — not, one hopes, at the expense of the Maillol bronzes which form its foundation and which also mark the Paris passage (notably the Rubenesque statues of the Tuileries gardens) more than the sculptures of his rival August Rodin. Compositionally, though, Berthe Morisot (1841 – 1895)’s 30.5 x 18.5 cm red chalk on paper “La Faneuse” (bottom) is by far the most sophisticated of the three. Sexist critics of earlier generations often used words like ‘douceur’ (gentleness) to describe her work, presumably because it often features women and children (i.e., ‘domestic’ subjects), missing the sophisticated effects she employed to make those scenes vibrant, often working with multiple shades and hues of the same color arrayed in different planes. Here the contours of the young woman blend with those of the tree trunks behind her, and her hand seems to grow into the trough which seems to emerge from the soil. In contrast to the Bonnard and and the Maillol, it’s a finished work. And, at Artcurial’s pre-sale estimated price of 3,500 – 4,000 €, our pick for the best investment of the sale. Images copyright and courtesy Artcurial. — Paul Ben-Itzak


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s