SHANGHAI AND LONDON — Following the announcement of two masterpieces by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Pablo Picasso that will lead the upcoming Shanghai to London sale series on 1 March, Christie’s is honoured to present a broad selection of exciting works in the Shanghai auction leg, featuring sensational paintings by celebrated Western Modern Art figures including Kees van Dongen, Marc Chagall, and many more, to meet the soaring demand of Mainland Chinese collectors. A group of works by international fast-rising artists will also debut in the sale.
The Evening Sale will coincide with a series of events from 26 February to 1 March, including art forums, specialist walkthroughs, live-streamed activities, and more.
SENSATIONAL CANVASES BY KEES VAN DONGEN AND MARC CHAGALL
Included in the 20th/21st Century Art: Shanghai Evening Sale, a masterpiece by iconic Western Modern artist Kees van Dongen will make its grand appearance at auction in China. Van Dongen’s masterful artistry can be seen in his painting La femme au collier, created in 1908. A modern incarnation of the flâneur, Van Dongen combined his keen observational skills with a cutting-edge, painterly aesthetic, using an expressive approach to colour that aligned his painting with the revolutionary circle of artists known as Les Fauves (The “Wild Beasts”). Powerfully imbued with the artist’s trademark red hue, La femme au collier encapsulates the artist’s new direction through expressive colours, visceral brushwork, and a thoroughly modern approach to his subject. Known foremost for his portraits, van Dongen revels in depicting beautiful women, often adorned in contemporary fashion. The elegant visage of the artist’s muse in La femme au collier creates a mysterious, romantic vision of Parisian chic. Drawn to her poise, grace, and the magnetism of her gaze, the pioneering cosmetics entrepreneur and avid patron of the arts, Helena Rubinstein, purchased the painting and cherished its inclusion in her collection until it was sold as part of her estate in the late 1960s.
Another leading highlight is the exuberant and brilliantly coloured Le bouquet de lilas by Marc Chagall, whose creations have been widely recognized and favoured by distinguished art collectors in Mainland China. Presenting a triumphal expression of beauty and joy, Le bouquet de lilas is an extraordinary masterwork painted at a critical point of the artist’s career in the 1960s.The fragrance of lilac flowers is overflowing, the flute player in the centre of the picture offers a resounding melody, and the muse on the left side of the picture smiles with her gaze fixed towards the painter — a vision of beauty and abundance. The docile farm animals depicted within the painting evoke a sense of harmony with nature. A crescent moon hangs against Chagall’s iconic azure blue background, bathing the whole picture in a soft and brisk light, evoking his fond memories of his hometown of Vitebsk, and also vitality in the prosperous south of France where Chagall then lived; the two places seeming to merge into one in the artist’s dreamlike twilight. Chagall’s famously rich use of colour is vividly presented in this painting. The thick impasto of the painterly surface enhances the work’s gorgeous coloration and gives a sense that the imagery projects forward, the iconic symbols combining in a condensed representation of Chagall’s lifelong experience of artistic creation.
WORKS BY YOUNG AND FAST-RISING INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS TO DEBUT IN MAINLAND CHINA
The 20th / 21st Century: Shanghai Evening Sale will also offer a selection of works by some of the most active and pioneering artists across the world, bringing a refreshing creative energy that meet the eyes of younger collectors. This lineup of artists includes Huang Yuxing (b. 1975), Ye Linghan (b. 1985), Amoako Boafo (b. 1984), and Emmanuel Taku (b. 1986). Their works cover a wide variety of subjects, including social and historical controversies, psychological investigations, and personal confrontations, as well as reflections on tradition and popular culture, some of which are offered at auction for the first time ever in China.