Christie’s is honored to have been entrusted with The Collection of Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass, which will be offered throughout Christie’s 20th Century Week.
Christie’s is honored to have been entrusted with The Collection of Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass, which will be offered throughout Christie’s 20th Century Week. The most substantial grouping will lead the specially retitled Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale Including The Collection of Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass. Highlights will also be included in the Evening Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art. Comprising 36 works in total, the collection is expected to realize in excess of $120 million.
Aided and advised by Eugene V. Thaw, Klaus Perls and William Acquavella, the Basses were drawn to Impressionism, Fauvism, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism—above all, to strong and expressive color. “A collection born with enthusiasm,” recalled Sid Bass, “became a lifetime of pleasure and joy.” In addition to her longstanding connection to the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Mrs. Bass was also involved with the Collector’s Committee of the National Gallery of Art. In Washington, the Basses endowed an eponymous fund that has enabled works by Post-War and Contemporary artists to enter the National Gallery’s permanent collection. For Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass, sharing art in the public sphere was an extension of their lifelong dedication to improving communities.
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), Laboureur dans un champ, St Remy 1889. Estimate on Request.
Leading the collection is Vincent Van Gogh’s Laboureur dans un champ (estimate on request) – pictured above. On mornings between 9 May 1889 and 16 May 1890, Van Gogh rose from bed and gazed through his window; the world outside appeared to him much like it does in this painting. Each morning the spectacle of the ascending sun would exhilarate and inspire him. The artist began this painting of a ploughman tilling the plot of land through his window in late August 1889 and completed it on 2 September. This was a significant development for Van Gogh, who had not handled his brushes since being removed from his studio by the doctors at the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole following a devastating psychological episode.
An attack of this magnitude had last occurred in Arles on 23 December 1888, following a violent argument with Paul Gauguin in the small “Yellow House” they had shared for the previous two months. The argument led him to sever the larger part of his upper left ear.
The artist referred to Laboureur dans un champ in his letter to his brother Theo dated on or around 2 September: “Yesterday I started working again a little—a thing I see from my window—a field of yellow stubble which is being ploughed, the opposition of the purplish ploughed earth with the strips of yellow stubble, background of hills. Work distracts me infinitely better than anything else, and if I could once again really throw myself into it with all my energy that might possibly be the best remedy.” The image of the horse and ploughman is repeated in only one other Saint-Rémy painting, a related version but with variant motifs, which Vincent painted later in September.
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), Laboureur dans un champ, oil on canvas, 1889. Estimate on Request
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