Pechstein and Soutine Masterpieces Hit Heights at Bonhams Expressionism Sale

London – La femme en rouge au fond bleu by Chaïm Soutine (1893-1943) sold for £1,842,300 at Bonhams Expressionism: Germany, Austria and Beyond Sale in London today (16 November 2022). It had been estimated at £1,000,000 - £1,500,000. The 65-lot sale made a total of £3,667,091.

La femme en rouge au fond bleu is the quintessence of Soutine's portraits, blending the most important colours in his work (red and blue) and bringing together the artist's modern and traditional influences in a consummate psychological portrait. The work was painted around 1928 and demonstrates Soutine's refinement of the portrait genre during the 1920s. Although the subject is depicted in a position of calm and serenity, her real emotions are emphasised by the shifting background, constructed with thick brushstrokes.

Other highlights of the sale included:

Bildnis Charlotte Cuhrt by Max Pechstein (1881-1955) which sold for £630,000. A signature work by the artist, the painting was executed in 1910 at the height of Pechstein's involvement with Die Brücke group. The sitter was the daughter of one of Pechstein's most important patrons, Max Cuhrt, whom Pechstein first met in 1908. Until 2008, the work had been in the same private collection since its commission.

Egon Schiele (1890-1918), Sitzende Frau. Sold for £365,700 (estimate: £200,000 - 300,000).

Egon Schiele (1890-1918), Sitzende Frau mit Hut. Sold for £214,500 (estimate: £150,000 - 250,000).

Alexej von Jawlensky (1864-1941) Variation. Sold for £94,800 (estimate: £40,000-60,000.

Frederick Millar, Bonhams Specialist, Impressionist & Modern Art, commented: "The portraits by Pechstein and Soutine could not be more different in style, but each represented artists working at the height of their powers. Unsurprisingly, bidding on the lots was intense and I am delighted by the results."


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