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Portrait of a Princess, a muse of Picasso and a landscape of Monet will starry at auctions in May

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A remarkable Picasso picture with a striking backstory will take center stage in Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in May.
Besides, the auction house will sell works from The Collection of Hunt Henderson, leading by a Monet’s winter landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why is the Hudson River so important? Read more
. And in Vienna, with a hammer will sell a portrait of the Princess Elisabeth of Austria, the painting admired by her husband Franz Joseph I for 60 years.

Dora Maar and Resistance

The painting by Pablo Picasso that became a legendary priority of French Resistance, will hit the auction. Presale estimate of the portrait of the Spanish master’s lover Dora Maar is up to $50 million. In addition to its artistic merit, the canvas has a historical value.
First of all, Picasso painted the portrait on his birthday (October 25) in 1939, on the eve of the outbreak of World War II. Soon after, the picture was expropriated by the Nazis from its original owner, Picasso’s Jewish French art dealer Paul Rosenberg. The artwork was due to be transported to Germany, but was successfully captured by French Resistance fighters. Among those was Rosenberg’s son Alexandre.

In 1964, the painting’s extraordinary story formed the plot of the Hollywood movie The Train, starring Burt Lancaster and Jeanne Moreau. The canvas was later owned by the US steel tycoon G. David Thompson before it was acquired by the present owners, a major European collection.



Left: Burt Lancaster and Jeanne Moreau starred in The Train (1864). Photo: Internet Movie Database.

The picture itself reflects Picasso’s relationship with his muse, whom he portrayed in curvaceous forms. Maar is posing in a blue dress that emphasizes her femininity and sensuality.
Read the story of Dora Maar, a tragic figure who left an indelible mark on the art of the 20th century and the work of its supreme god Pablo Picasso in Arthive’s publication Gods, Muses and their Shadows
A painting entitled 'Femme assise, robe bleue' by Pablo Picasso was sold for almost $30 million at Christie’s auction in 2011.
Photo: CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images.
Despite its lofty presale estimate of $35 million to $50 million, the Christie’s auctioneers are confident that the canvas will find its buyer because the demand for Picasso’s portraits of Dora Maar is at an all-time high. The bidding will be held in May.

A landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why is the Hudson River so important? Read more
by Monet

At the same time, Christie’s will sell The Collection of Hunt Henderson. It is one of the world-class assemblages of avant-garde art, from Impressionism through early modernism, privately held in the Southern region of the United States. The sugar magnate from New Orleans bought artworks during the early years of the twentieth century, and a large portion of the collection has remained in hands of his descendants since 1913. Artworks by Paul Cézanne, Honoré Daumier, Edgar Degas, Raoul Dufy, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renior, and James McNeil Whistler expected to realize in excess of $23 million.
The most expensive picture is Claude Monet’s, La route de Vétheuil, effet de neige, painted in 1879 (estimate: $10 million-$15 million). The artist painted this exquisitely subtle and delicate canvas during his first year of living in a village about sixty kilometers northwest of Paris. First of the three, this picture is painted from approximately the same vantage point to explore the changes in the winter landscape
The development of the genre from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting contribute to the development of the genre in Europe, and why is the Hudson River so important? Read more
over a period of days.
The Collection of Hunt Henderson will be sold in two auctions. First sales will be on May 15−16 in New York, the following are due a week later.

Sisi's portrait

Late in April 2017 the auction house Dorotheum will sell the portrait of the Empress Elisabeth of Austria that also has an interesting history. The painting hung in the Emperor’s bedroom at the Hoftburg until Franz Joseph’s death, and it has been owned by the Habsburg dynasty for 150 years.
The painting was a Christmas gift from the family of the Duchess Elisabeth (Sisi) to the Emperor on the eve of their engagement in 1853. The canvas depicts the Princess of Austria at the age of 15, seated on horseback in front of Possenhofen Castle, her parents' summer residence at Lake Starnberg. Father of Sisi, Duke Maximilian of Bavaria, commissioned two artists, Carl Theodor von Piloty, famous for his realistic historical painting, and Franz Adam, who was the best in painting horses of his age.
Estimate of the lot equals €300,000 — 350,000.
  • Johann Ranzi, Emperor Franz Joseph in a white uniform tunic with the order and sash of the Order of Maria Theresa, 1851, oil. Portrait at the age of 21, 2 years before the wedding.
  • Emperor Franz Joseph's bedroom in the Hofburg, with Sisi's portrait above his bed. Photograph, c.1900. Photo: habsburger.net
According to biographers of Sisi, 23-year-old Franz-Joseph also made a present for Sisi: a painting showing him on horseback as a sign of their common passion for horses. When Elisabeth of Austria turned 30, she was the best horsewoman in Europe. She even took part in dangerous hunts in Great Britain and Ireland and became known as the "queen behind the pack".
The portrait that has been hanging on the wall of the Emperor’s bedroom in the Hofburg palace in Vienna for 60 years will be auctioned on 27 April 2017.
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Written by Vlad Maslow on material of news.artnet.com and artdaily.com.
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