FIRST SNOWFALL AT BONHAMS: WORKS IN WHITE ADORN IMPRESSIONIST & MODERN ART SALE

With rumors of snow, artworks at Bonhams set the chilly scene

4 Feb 2014, Impressionist and Modern Art

Wintery works by Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983), Lesser Ury (German, 1861-1931), and Alfons Walde (Austrian, 1891-1958) will be highlights at Bonhams Impressionist and Modern Art sale on February 4th in London's New Bond Street.

Lot 27, Joan Miró's Femme, étoile (1978), is signed "Miró" on the lower right and dated and titled "8/II/78./ Femme, /étoile" on the reverse. The oil on canvas is estimated at £180,000-£220,000.

Femme, étoile epitomizes Miró's creative outburst of the 1970s. He was inspired by the gestural style of the likes of Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline; who could ignore the Kline-like palette and juxtaposition of black against white. The spontaneously applied splashes of color make the work Miró's own; they also create a playful rhythm—look at the painting and feel your eyes dart from hue to hue.

Although painted solely in oil, Femme, étoile displays a range of textural effects. Miró scored out the suggestion of limbs and features, working a sharp instrument quickly into the wet black paint; he employed different techniques to fashion the fuzzy-edged circles of ochre and plum, and the carefully contained segments of yellow, vermillion, and green.

Lot 16, Lesser Ury's oil on canvas Berliner Strassenszene (1920), is signed "L.Ury" on the lower left and is expected to fetch £100,000-£150,000.

Ury was inspired by the contemporary urban life of the German metropolis. He is best known for his depictions of the bustling streets of modern Berlin; his preferred pictorial weather conditions were rain-swept skies.

Berliner Strassenszene portrays a busy thoroughfare in Berlin, complete with horse-drawn carriages. The carriages almost disappear into the mist that rises from the damp, glistening street; only the drivers are visible—the city's inhabitants, their passengers, are simply implied. The time of day is uncertain, though the sky's yellow tint seems to suggest dusk is setting in. What Ury gives us, in a nod to the French Impressionists, is a fleeting impression of daily life.

Finally there is Lot 30, Alfons Walde's Almen im März (circa 1935), signed "A. Walde" on the lower right and inscribed "Kitzbuhel, Tiro..." on a partial label on the reverse. The oil on board is set in the artist's original frame and estimated at £80,000-£120,000.

Almen im März showcases one of Walde's most characteristic motifs, that of an Austrian chalet perched on the snowy slopes of his native town, Kitzbühel, on a crisp winter's day, under a bright blue sky. Layers of thick impasto, in varying shades of white, reveal patches of earth where the snow has melted under the early spring sun. Light radiates off the slopes, while shadows of blue mirror the sky. A skier in red—a pinpoint of contrasting colour—strolls up to the cottage door.

Walde's stylised, pared-down approach reflects his early training as an architect and graphic artist. The harmony of architecture, nature, and man in Almen im März is representative of his oeuvre.


NOTES FOR EDITORS

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

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