Flash News: Monet – Jörg Immendorff – Piero Fornasetti



Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Six Monet works for sale at Sotheby’s – Jörg Immendorff in Vence – First Piero Fornasetti retrospective in France

Six Monet works for sale at Sotheby’s

On 5 May, 33 lots will make up the Impressionist and modern art sale at Sotheby’s New York, including six canvases by Claude MONET, manna which could yield some USD 110m according to upper estimates. The American auction house has already wagered a lot on the Impressionist leader during its last sales in London, where it sold five Monet canvases for an amount equal to USD 74m. The works proposed this time are especially inspiring. Some have not been displayed in public for several decades, as they were stored in private collections, protected from viewing. From Chemin à Epinay created in 1975 (estimated at USD 6-8m), to Nymphéas (or Water Lilies) in 1916 (Bassins aux Nymphéas, les rosiers, estimated at USD 18-25m), the catalogue spans four decades of the artist’s work. The famous Giverny garden, Monet’s most fertile subject in his years of maturity, is represented in two lots, including a colourful masterpiece from 1905 considered the crown jewel of this sale: these great Nymphéas come from a flawless source (from the Durand-Ruel and Wildenstein Galleries) and bear a solid estimation between USD 30-45m. With this estimation, it could be one of the best sales ever conducted by Sotheby’s for Monet. To best attract American collectors, Sotheby’s is recalling the influence that the Nymphéas series had on abstract Expressionists such as Marc Rothko, Clifford Still, Jackson Pollock and Sam Francis, initiators of colourful abstractions, some of which have sailed past USD 50m at auction (Rothko and Pollock)

Jörg Immendorff in Vence

Deceased in 2007, Jörg IMMENDORFF remains one of the most renowned German contemporary artists. La Fondation Maeght (Vence) is holding an exhibit titled, Les Théâtres de la peinture running through 14 June 2015, which presents nearly fifty paintings from the 1970s to 2007 and a selection of sculptures. The exhibit offers a rare opportunity to see Immendorf presented in France. Born in 1945 in West Germany, this former student of Joseph Beuys (until 1964) was one of the most politicized artists of his generation. He created the Alliance d’action RFA-RDA with East German painter A. R. Penck in 1976, and in the same time period, painted his renowned Café Deutschland series, illustrating the division of Germany between the East and the West. The 80s are marked by more symbolic works that are more popular on the auction market. The current record rose to USD 471,000 for a large canvas measuring more than three metres given to Sotheby’s London three months before the death of the artist (All’s well that ends Well, 7 February 2007).

The canvases are rarely seen at auctions since his death. Today they represent 19% of his auction sales, compared to 46% prints, 21% sculptures and 13% drawings. Primarily circulated in Germany (40% of the market), the artist is a benchmark throughout Europe but has not yet found his audience in the United States, where the last work submitted for auction resulted in no sale, despite its quality (Anbetung des Inhalts, Sotheby’s New York, 12 November 2014).

First Piero Fornasetti retrospective in France

The huge nave of Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is transformed into an exhilarating cabinet of curiosities by Piero FORNASETTI through 14 June 2015. Its title, La Folie pratique (Practical Madness), hints at the abundant creativity and humour of this atypical figure, self-taught in etching and printing, who became a master in working with diverse materials ranging from paper, ceramics, glass, copper and textiles. His technical virtuosity and inventiveness earned him a fruitful collaboration with the legendary designer Giò PONTI beginning in 1940. Simultaneously decorator, printer, publisher, collector and art dealer, Fornasetti quickly imposed his trompe-l’œil games and humorous traits, including the famous series of plates bearing the round face of the opera singer Lina Cavalieri. The Italian singer inspired his collection, Thèmes et Variations, featuring 350 design objects. His creations began to appear at auction after his death in 1988, first in France and then in the United Kingdom, and soon after in New York (end of the 90s). A first strike of the gavel defied Christie’s forecasts in 1998: USD 140,000, or USD 100,000 above the upper estimate, for the Architettura cabinet, an original piece from 1952 created by Ponti and embellished by Fornasetti in lithographic motifs and other hand-painted designs. Only two pieces were valued higher than the Architettura cabinet in theatre design. Since 2007, the record has been held by a major work composed of 32 monochrome panels: the Stanza Metafisica, or Metaphysical Room, which reworks the Renaissance to create a powerful atmosphere. Sotheby’s brought in USD 250,000 for this work during a New York sale in 2007. Such pieces are rare and sought-after. Le Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is providing the chance to see some pieces of great calibre, among the more than 1,000 objects exhibited.