June 12, 2010

Paintings from Ambroise Vollard's collection for sale in London and Paris this month



Paul Cézanne, "Ambroise Vollard," 1899, oil on canvas; 39 3/4 x 31 7/8 in. Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris.

 Lot number 18: André Derain, "Salon d'Automne," 1905. Possibly exhibited in Paris in 1905.

After years of litigation and several exhibitions, the trove of art work found in a Paris safe deposit box in 1979 is going to auction. The paintings, which originally belonged to legendary art dealer Ambroise Vollard, were deposited in the bank in 1939 by Yugoslavian art collector Erich Slomovic. Slomovic was killed by the Nazis in 1942, and the pictures sat in the bank until 1979 when the bank tried to sell them in order to recoup unpaid safety deposit box fees. Litigation between the Vollard heirs and the Slomovic heirs ensued, and they finally reached a settlement in the 1990s, dividing the works among them.  In 2007, some of the pictures were included in "Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of The Avant-Garde," an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and that later traveled to the Art Institute of Chicago.

The 140 works included in the auction at Sothebys include a 1905 painting by Andre Derain valued at up $18 million. Other highlights include a portrait of the writer Emile Zola by Cezanne, three rare monotypes by Degas and a print by Renoir. Derain's painting will be sold in London on June 22, when a Manet self-portrait estimated at up to $43.6 million also will be offered. The rest of the Vollard collection will be sold in Paris on June 29. (via Associated Press)

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