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  • Juan Gris's Cubist Le Livre heads Christie's Impressionist and Modern art auction
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • CubistGris'sJuanLe

Juan Gris's Cubist Le Livre heads Christie's Impressionist and Modern art auction

Regular readers will be aware that we've already mentioned Christie's Impressionist and Modern art sale obliquely, in referring to Elizabeth Taylor's Van Gogh (Vue de l'asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Rémy) which is to be offered in the sale - indeed we made it one of our top five Elizabeth Taylor collectibles.

However, that is not in any way to do justice to the sale. In fact it's not even enough to do justice to the 38 pictures from Taylor's collection which will be offered between 7 and 8 February. This also includes the masterful Pommiers à Éragny by Camille Pissaro, (estimate:£900,000-1.2 million) and Autoportrait by Degas.

One of the greatest highlights however is not from the great movie star's collection.  This is Le Livre by Juan Gris (1887-1927) which was painted in Paris at the turn of 1914 into 1915. It is expected to sell for £12-18m.

It is a highly significant work for art historians, as it marks the artist's change of stylistic approach. At the time, the trend was a shift of emphasis from representation to abstraction in 1910s modernism and to treating the painting as the object in itself.

Juan Gris Le Livre painting
Juan Gris's 'transitional' Le Livre painting

The painting is a transitional one for Gris, as he only became fully committed to the trend in 1919, but this is clearly a departure from his previous work and the painting is an aesthetically intriguing and exciting one.

First exhibited at the celebrated Cubisme exhibition at the Galerie de France, Paris, in 1945, it then travelled the world, being presented in Europe and America in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, before disappearing for three decades until a Madrid retrospective exhibition in 2005.

Collectors on the lookout for great artists of Impressionist and Modern styles need not pay £18m, however.

We currently have a signed sketch by the great Salvador Dali available for sale (offered with our 120% guarantee, no less) and a letter signed by the great Claude Monet.


  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • CubistGris'sJuanLe