Personalized Portrait by Matisse Leads Swann Print Auction

424-Matisse copy.jpgNew York—With highlights spanning six centuries, Swann Galleries’ auction of Old Master Through Modern Prints on May 8 offered works by the greatest innovators in the field. The sale totaled more than $2M.

Leading the auction was a gift from Henri Matisse to one of his favorite models, Nadia Sednaoui. The evocative aquatint Grand Masque, 1948, a stylized portrait of the young woman, is signed and inscribed to her by the artist. It sold for $87,500, a record for the work. Another auction record was set for the artist’s 1938 linoleum cut Diane, at $20,000.

Tête de femme, de profil, 1905, an early drypoint by Pablo Picasso at just 24 years old, reached $75,000. The portrait topped an extravagant selection of works by the master in a variety of media. The jaunty terre-de-faïence dish Goat’s Head in Profile, 1952, and color linoleum cut Le Vieux Roi, 1963, each exceeded their high estimates to sell for $21,250.

Additional twentieth-century highlights included Marc Chagall’s color lithograph L’Âme du Cirque, 1980, which nearly doubled its high estimate to sell for $42,500, a record for the work. Also by Chagall, Carmen, 1967, an after-print in vibrant hues, reached $62,500.   

The etching and drypoint portrait of Jan Uytenbogaert, Preacher of the Remonstrants, 1635, by Rembrandt van Rijn, previously in the collector of the German art director Rudolph Busch, nearly doubled its high estimate to sell for $57,500. A rich selection of early self portraits by the master was led by Self Portrait in a Cap, Laughing, 1630, and Self Portrait in a Fur Cap: Bust, 1630 ($27,500 and $35,000, respectively).

Two elegant etchings by James A.M. Whistler performed well, led by Rue de la Rochefoucault, 1890, which was purchased by a collector for $30,000, a record for the work. Another highlight was The Two Doorways, 1879-80, an intimate vista of Venice ($25,000).

Vice President and Director of Prints & Drawings Todd Weyman noted that “85% of lots by Albrecht Dürer sold, showing resiliency in the old master prints market that Swann has come to dominate.” The visionary’s engraving St. Eustace, circa 1501, led the selection of fine prints at $37,500.

The next fine art auction at Swann Galleries will be Contemporary Art on May 22, 2018. The house is currently accepting quality consignments for autumn auctions.

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 424: Henri Matisse, Grand Masque, aquatint, inscribed to model Nadia Sednaoui, 1948. Sold May 8, 2018 for $87,500, a record for the work. (Pre-sale estimate: $50,000 to $80,000)

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