The upcoming auctions at this house are brimming with exciting works, including Picasso's most important colour linocut and a Renoir charcoal study of his children's nanny.
Modern and contemporary art as well as photography and Asian art are the four major themes that Cologne-based auction house Lempertz will delight many a collector's heart between 29 November and 7 December.
The prelude will be the photography auction on 29 November, with the first 30 lots of which the auction house celebrates the already 30-year history of its auctions in this art genre. The 30 photographic masterpieces on display at the event include works by such distinguished photographers as Irving Penn, Peter Lindbergh, Henri Cartier-Bresson, August Sander and Horst P. Horst. Leni Riefenstahl's photographs of the Nuba, which can hardly be surpassed in terms of groundbreaking aesthetics, cannot be ignored either, with a portfolio of 30 selected recordings from 2002.
Another highlight is Lightness of Being by Chris Levine, an intimate snapshot during a photo shoot with Queen Elizabeth II. Levine was to portray the monarch in 2004 on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee. Rather coincidently, during a break, the monarch's famous picture was taken with her eyes closed.
Later in the day, the first part of the auction will continue with modern art. This catalogue is headed by Portrait de jeune Fille, d'après Cranach le Jeune.II from 1958 – Pablo Picasso's most important and sought-after colour linocut. This work reflects two elements that Picasso worked with at the time: the linocut, a technique in which he created some of his finest graphic works, and Old Master paintings, which he reinterpreted, including Delacroix 'Femmes d'Alger dans leur appartement and Velázquez 'Las Meninas.
Also noteworthy is Pierre-Auguste Renoir's Gabrielle, nu assis de profil, a charcoal drawing from 1912. On display is Gabrielle Renard, who lived as a nanny in the artist's household from 1894 and repeatedly sat as a model for his nudes, for which Gabrielle apparently had the perfect proportions.
30 works will come from the collection of major art historian and critic Will Grohmann by masters such as Hans Hartung, Joan Miró, Hans Arp and Wassily Kandinsky. Other highlights include Fritz Winter's Manpower of the Earth from 1944 and Willi Baumeister's Cézanne on the way to the motif in which the artist revered his greatest role model.
The auction of Modern Art will continue on the morning of 30 November with the collection Gemmer, which includes works by the important German post-Impressionist Paul Baum, including Spring Landscape at Hyères of 1909. The porcelain painter tree travelled to Paris in 1890, where he was introduced to Impressionism. During a stay in Brussels lasting several years, he made friends with the pointillist Théo van Ryssellberge, who also inspired his style. Further works by modern artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Lovis Corinth, Natalya Sergeyevna Goncharova and August Macke will follow.
The contemporary art session will be led by four works by Gerhard Richter. This body of abstract paintings gives an insight into the evolution and diversity of his pictorial expression from the early 1970s to the late 1990s. This work on Alu-Dibond entitled Abstraktes Bild dates to 1997. Painting, applied by layers alternating with a squeegee in vertical and horizontal movements gives a great depth to the space. Here, Richter leaves to chance and the simple manipulation of the raclette to determine the final result.
Under no circumstances should collectors of the works of Joseph Beuys allow the bronze sun cross to pass by. The 1947/48 piece executed in only a few copies is one of the earliest artistic works of Beuys', who then studied for a year at the Art Academy in Dusseldorf.
With IKB 132 from 1957 a work by Yves Klein comes to the call that was produced at an important turning point in the career of the artist. At that time, Klein had a spectacular exhibition at the Galleria Apollinaire in Milan, for which he covered all his work with blue paint – which became his trademark.
On 30 November, an eye-catcher is Robert Rauschenberg's collage Signs from 1970, with which the artist reviewed the past decade of American history in important personalities and events.
On 6-7 December, art from Asia will finally close the auction days in Cologne. While the focus will be on Japan, India and Southeast Asia on 6 December, art from Tibet, Nepal and China will be sold on 7 December.
In addition to ceramics, sculptures, bronzes, textiles and paintings, collectors may look forward to a nice selection of antique netsuke.
This article is sponsored by Lempertz