Art lovers, take note: some of the most beautiful works of modern and contemporary art and design feature in this December sale. Vũ Cao Đàm, Bernard Lorjou, Ferdinand Loyen du Puigaudeau and Picasso are just a few of the big names that will punctuate this prestigious auction.
Taking place on 8 December, French auction house Rossini’s 'Modern and Contemporary Art and Design' sale is studded by the artistic stars of every era. Hailing from Pont-Aven or Paris, Spain or Vietnam, the artists who forged the international scene of the 20th century will be represented in the first half of the auction, while iconic pieces by designers such as Jean Prouvé and the firm Maison Jansen will close the session.
With an innate talent for sculpting busts, the Vietnamese artist Vũ Cao Đàm flourished under the tutelage of Victor Tardieu at the École des Beaux-Arts in Hanoi, before moving to France in 1931. Amazed by European masters like Renoir, Van Gogh, Bonnard and Matisse upon his arrival in the French capital, Vũ Cao Đàm contributed to the development of the Parisian scene through paintings that combined the techniques of traditional Vietnamese art with certain characteristics of western art.
Young Woman in a White Dress is a work on paper produced during World War II, a pivotal period for the artist. Forced to stop sculpting in bronze because all metals were requisitioned by the German army during the occupation, Vũ Cao Đàm turned to other mediums and created some of his finest paintings during this time.
The painter Mai Thu, a contemporary of Vũ Cao Đàm, is mainly known for his 'Children': representations of toddlers widely distributed by UNICEF, although he also depicted women, family and flowers. Young Woman at the Water's Edge, a watercolour and gouache from 1942, testifies to the unity that made the artist famous: the rigorous composition of shapes, colours and lines in space leaves nothing to chance.
Ferdinand Loyen du Puigaudeau was a Post-Impressionist painter who, like many others before him, was charmed by the landscapes of Brittany and decided to attend the School of Pont-Aven in Finistère. He is best known for his exceptional work with light and depictions of nocturnal atmospheres, which can be found in both his landscapes and his popular village scenes. This 1928 twilight view was captured in La Brière, a marsh north of the Loire estuary on the Atlantic Ocean, and is among the last works of the artist, who died in Le Croisic in 1930.
A militant artist who considered painting a weapon, Bernard Lorjou founded the anti-abstract movement 'L’Homme Témoignage de son temps' in the 1940s with the critic Jean Bouret. Often considered a late Expressionist, Lorjou stood out with a dreamlike figurative style. He usually preferred to paint the tragic events of his time, using his work to confront the viewer and make them question the subject more deeply. Lorjou is represented in the sale with his painting Compotier and Bouquet, a still life from Galerie Pams, in Antibes.
As for lithographs and works on paper, there are artists such as Bernard Buffet with the album Jeux de Dames, Foujita with one of the 170 copies of La Mésangère, and Pablo Picasso with a 1964 book comprising of one lithograph printed in colour, one drypoint and three aquatints. The character of Carmen created by Prosper Mérimée, a provocative and rebellious woman symbolising passion, haunted Picasso's work and set him on an artistic quest on the theme of tragic love.
Design takes centre stage after the art session, beginning with the esteemed firm Maison Jansen, whose chic eclecticism has been admired by everyone from the Rockefellers to the Kennedys. Founded in 1880 by Jean-Henri Jansen, the brand has established itself with a sort of elegant opulence, mixing traditional furnishings with new trends inspired by the Anglo-Japanese style and the Arts & Crafts movement. They will be represented by two Palmier floor lamps, made of chiseled brass leaves welded into a black lacquered wooden base.
“In my mind, a chair should be light. A chair always breaks at the back joint between the legs and the seat. This is the reason why all my furniture has forms of equal resistance.” The form of the chair particularly interested the designer Jean Prouvé, and his extensive research has given birth to models that combine stability and solidity with a certain economy of means. Very similar to his standard chair, the Tout Bois or 'All Wood' chair is the only Prouvé chair made entirely of wood, the material having been substituted for the metal base during WWII.
The 'Modern and Contemporary Art and Design' sale will take place on 8 December, and is Rossini’s final sale of the year. The entire catalogue may be viewed online, and online bidding is available with prior registration.