Auctions. An exceptional oil on canvas entitled ‘Baigneuses’, or Bathers, by the French post-impressionist painter Henri Lebasque is the star of a diverse auction of Old Masters, Modern and Contemporary Art and Modern Sculpture at Roseberys Tuesday 8 September Fine Art Auction.
Like many great artists before him Lebasque trained at the influential art school, the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris from 1885. On graduation the young artist joined the studio of the well respected and academic artist, Léon Joseph Florentin Bonnat. Through his association with Bonnat Lebasque came in to contact with many of his peers in both the Neo-Impressionist and Nabis movements including Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir and his friend Henri Matisse. Both Matisse and Lebasque were founding members of the Salon d’Automne, an innovative annual art exhibition held in Paris.
Having exhibited widely in Paris Lebasque became a well-respected artist, known for his romantic images of women, family life or children playing. He travelled widely in the south of France from 1906, before moving to Le Cannet on the French Riviera in 1924. It was this exposure to this new world that had the greatest transformation on his work, which was infused with new lustre. Believed to have been painted between 1926 and 1928, ‘Baigneuses’ is an archetypal example of his work from this period. The painting was first exhibited in a retrospective of Lebasque’s work at the O Pétrides Gallery in Paris a year Henri Lebasque, French 1865-1937- “Baigneuses”; oil on canvas. Estimate: £25,000-30,000after his death in 1937. The painting is estimated to sell for £25,000-30,000. [Lot 659].
Just five years after Lebasque was in attendance at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, another young artist arrived at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs to study under the inspirational teacher and Symbolist painter, Gustave Moreau. Albert Marquet was associated with the Fauvist movement at the beginning of his career, but the style of his work was always slightly more subdued. He used the Fauvist approach to brush work, his use of colour was always more restrained, and greyer with pastel tones. He later moved to more naturalistic style, primarily painting landscapes, of which his 1926 oil on canvas entitled “Le Lac de Tunis” is offered for sale by Roseberys.
From 1907 until his death in 1947 Marques toured much of the European coast and North Africa, alternating between his studio in Paris and his holiday destinations. During his voyages to Algeria, Algiers and Tunisia he painted the sea and ships, as well as landscapes and cityscapes. On the occasion of painting “Le Lac de Tunis” it is clear that Marques was painting the natural lagoon, which is located between the capital city of Tunisia, Tunis, and the Gulf of Tunis which borders the Mediterranean Sea. The beautifully executed painting is estimated to sell for £15,000-20.000. [Lot 607].
The celebrated Neapolitan Baroque artist, Luca Giordano was nicknamed ‘Fa Presto’ or ‘does it quickly’ because of the speed in which he managed to produce his work. A prolific artist in the late 17th century, Giordano’s work was widely sought after by his contemporaries due to the diversity of styles within which he worked. This variety was very much a part of the Baroque movement, which is characterized by great drama, rich, deep colour, and intense light and dark shadows. His style lent itself to the mythological and religious subjects he often chose to paint.
The painting offered for sale by Roseberys depicts the Roman philosopher Seneca, who was forced to commit suicide by the emperor Nero for his alleged part in the pisonian conspiracy, a plot to kill the emperor. The story of the Death of Seneca was revisited by Giordano on numerous occasions, examples can be found in the Louvre Museum Paris and the Palacio Real Madrid. This work although a little smaller repeats the composition found in Burghley House which was acquired in 1683. The oil on canvas is estimated to sell for £20,000-25,000. [Lot 591].
The celebrated South African artist Sydney Alex K Kumalo began studying at the Polly Street Art Centre in Johannesburg in 1952, and worked there under Cecil Skotnes until 1957. In 1958 and 1959 Kumalo was mentored by the sculptor Eduardo Villa, who introduced him to Modernist sculptors like Marino Marini and Henry Moore and taught him the technical aspects of sculpting and bronze casting. Villa also showed Kumalo the African primitive strain in European modernism, which formed the basis of his artistic style.
Kumalo became a full time art instructor at the Polly Street Art Centre in 1960 and at the Jubilee Social Centre in Johannesburg until 1964. During his time as an educator, and through his work as an artist, Kumalo is credited with shaping the sensibilities and style of a generation of artists. Offered for sale is Kumalo’s bronze sculpture entitled ‘Mythological Rider II’ which embodies the fusion of African reference and modernist expression which characterises Kumalo’s work. It is estimated to sell for £10,000-15,000. [Lot 551].
The auction will be held on Tuesday 8 September and is available to view on the afternoon of Friday 4 September, and from Sunday 6 September until the morning of the auction at Roseberys London saleroom. The fully illustrated catalogue, and full details of Roseberys in-house online bidding platform, RoseberysLive, can found online at www.roseberys.co.uk.