NEW YORK, 31 October 2017 – Following Sotheby’s record-breaking auctions of The Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon in 2014, we are once again honored to present fine art acquired over a lifetime by this legendary tastemaker.
Works by artists including Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Nicolas de Staël, Winslow Homer and Eugène Delacroix that have descended in the Mellon Family to present will be offered in a series of auctions at Sotheby’s New York, beginning this November and extending into 2018.
Jeremiah Evarts, Head of Evening Sales for Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department in New York, commented: “In 2014, thousands of collectors, longtime admirers and new fans crowded into Claude Monet Champ d’iris à Giverny 1887 Estimate $3/5 million 2 our galleries and followed along on social media to take part in auction history, as fine art, furniture and decorative art from Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extensive collection raised over $200 million for The Gerard B. Lambert Foundation. It is a true honor and privilege to once again represent this great American family, and offer paintings that have since descended through the Mellon family. Works by many of the same artists that inspired heated bidding battles in 2014, including Pissarro, Homer and de Staël, will be presented in auctions beginning this November in New York, offering collectors another chance to acquire paintings with this celebrated provenance – many which have not been seen in public for half a century.”
Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale: Auction 14 November 2017
Works from the Mellon Family Collection are led by Claude Monet’s Champ d’iris à Giverny, painted in 1887 during a period of respite from the artist’s extensive travels in Holland, Brittany and, finally, his newly-established permanent studio at Giverny (estimate $3/5 million). The idyllic, pastoral subject matter of this work encapsulates the central focus of Monet’s oeuvre toward the end of the 19th century, when he divorced himself from painting urban scenes of Paris and devoted himself fully to his beloved countryside in Giverny. The present work was acquired by the Mellons in 1953 and has remained in the family’s collection since.
Jeanne dite Cocotte, et Ludovic Rodolphe Pissarro sur un tapis is one of the remarkable compositions in which Camille Pissarro turns his attention to his own family as the subject for his art (estimate $800,000/1.2 million). The canvas depicts two of the artist’s youngest children – Rodo and Cocotte – and was later inherited by his older son Georges Henri Manzana Pissarro, himself an artist. Acquired 3 by the Mellons in 1963, the painting hasn’t been seen in public since 1966. In 1969, a study for the present work came up for auction at Sotheby’s in London and was purchased by the Mellons. That watercolor and gouache was later included in Sotheby’s 2014 sale of Mrs. Mellon’s Collection, selling for $185,000.
The tranquil seaside scene depicted in Le Phare (Antibes) from 1954 exemplifies Nicolas de Staël’s fusion of abstraction with the figurative landscape (estimate $800,000/1.2 million). The work reflects the artist at the pinnacle of his output, when he abandoned the palette knife for the paint brush and relied solely on color to create the illusion of space, light and form. Held in the Mellon Family Collection since 1970, the painting is a superb example of the artist’s unique ability to capture the profound intimacy of lived experience within a limited vernacular of purified geometric forms.
American Art: Auction 13 November 2017
Executed circa 1879, the double-sided drawing Noon-day Rest and Two Men Scything epitomizes Winslow Homer’s quiet depictions of rural life, demonstrating the personal connection he felt with the pastoral countryside and its inhabitants (estimate $150/250,000). The two renderings explore 4 the beauty of the American landscape and the innocence of youth—themes that appear frequently in Homer’s work. In the post-Civil War period, the scyther became an especially poignant motif that sought to evoke hope for rebirth and a desire to return to the country’s agrarian roots.
About Mrs. Paul Mellon
Rachel Lambert Mellon (1910-2014) was a renowned horticulturist and collector, whose marriage to Paul Mellon in 1948, the only son of financier Andrew Mellon, united two of America’s most affluent families. Throughout her life, she pursued a love of gardening, both at her own homes as well for a number of friends, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who asked her to redesign the White House Rose Garden in 1961. The Oak Spring Garden Library, Mrs. Mellon’s celebrated collection of rare books, manuscripts, works of art and artifacts relating to gardening, landscape design, horticulture, botany, natural history and travels, is world-renowned and among the finest of its kind. Passionate about art, Mr. and Mrs. Mellon built an extraordinary collection, while generously supporting the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and establishing the Yale Center for British Art. Equally ardent about horses, the couple bred and raised race horses, including the 1993 Kentucky Derby winner, Sea Hero.