Thursday, October 8, 2015


This autumn, The Frick Collection celebrates the Italian master with Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action, the first major U.S. monographic exhibition devoted to his art, centering on his creative process October 7, 2015, through January 10, 2016.

This exhibition was organized with the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, where it has run as a summer show.

Andrea d’Agnolo (1486–1530), called Andrea del Sarto after his father’s profession as a tailor (sarto), transformed sixteenth-century Florence through his art and influence. Through his large and prolific workshop, one of the most significant of the age, he enriched his native city with portraits, altarpieces, and fresco paintings. Drawings were at the core of his working process. Produced primarily in red and black chalks, his vibrant figure studies, energetic compositional drawings, and masterful head studies display the range of his talents as a draftsman and the complex roles that drawing played in developing his paintings. 

The exhibition will feature forty-five drawings and three paintings from international collections and will offer an unprecedented look inside the creative production of one of the most influential figures in Italian Renaissance art. 

Running almost concurrently with the Frick’s exhibition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present a three-painting focused exhibition, Andrea del Sarto’s Borgherini Holy Family, on view October 14, 2015, through January 10, 2016 (see below). 


Andrea spent the majority of his career in Florence, where he was born in 1486 and died of the plague forty-four years later. According to Giorgio Vasari, his former pupil and the author of the Lives of the Artists, he trained first under a goldsmith,then with artist Andrea di Salvi Barile before moving on to the studio of Piero di Cosimo, who was well known for his imaginative and eccentric style. 

By 1510, Andrea was practicing as an independent master, executing fresco paintings at major public sites. His workshop became the most highly esteemed in Florence, attracting talented young artists including Jacopo Pontormo, Rosso Fiorentino, and Vasari. 

The artist was a contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo, and a number of sixteenth-century texts name him among the defining artists of the Renaissance. In subsequent centuries, however, his status and the popularity of his art waned. This decline may be attributed in part to the somewhat derisive biography written by Vasari. While praising Andrea’s work as “senza errori (without errors),” Vasari also criticizes him as weak, lacking boldness in his person and art. He even suggests that Andrea would have surpassed Raphael in his accomplishments had it not been for Andrea’s excessive love for his wife, which, Vasari claims, led to missed opportunities and caused him to use her features repeatedly in his art (a practice Vasari frowned on). Although recent documentary investigation of Andrea and his family has proven Vasari’s characterization inaccurate, it persisted for centuries.  


Almost two hundred drawings by Andrea are known today. While it is notoriously difficult to reconstruct the inner workings of a Renaissance studio—the delegation of labor, specifics of training, and involvement of the master—it is certain that, in Andrea’s as in others, assistants relied on the master’s designs when executing painting projects. Drawings were therefore the heart of the workshop. The forty-five autograph drawings included in the Frick’s exhibition span the entirety of Andrea’s career. 

Compositional sheets, figural studies, and detailed drawings of heads, hands, and other body parts trace the creative process of the artist as he moved from paper to canvas or panel and back again. It was also not uncommon for him to reuse drawings for more than one project. Andrea’s drawings reveal his analytic and imaginative strengths and show his experimental approach to chalk as a medium, exploiting the effects of wetting the tip before applying it to paper, going over a broad area of chalk with a wet brush, stumping (rubbing with an instrument), and combining black and red chalks on the same sheet.

Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Study for the Head of Julius Caesar, ca. 1520 Red chalk 8 7/16 x 7 1/4 inches The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, partial and promised gift of Mr. and Mrs. David M. Tobey ©The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY

The exquisite Study for the Head of Julius Caesar is an example of his most refined application of chalk. Combining hatching and rubbing, possibly using the wetted tip of a sharpened piece of chalk, the artist marshals the medium to create nuances of light and shade and expressive contours, establishing the virility and strength of the figure through an elegant classical profile. 

The drawing prepares the head of Julius Caesar in Andrea’s monumental fresco  

Tribute to Caesar  

 at the Villa Medici in Poggio a Caiano, and its highly finished state attests to the enormous amount of preparation that Andrea invested in the painting, which includes more than two dozen figures. Several additional preparatory sheets for this project survive (two others are in the exhibition) and show the range of drawings, from rough to highly finished, which he employed to achieve his final production. 


In comparison to figural studies, relatively few of Andrea’s compositional sheets survive. These drawings, which map the placement of figures in space, document him thinking through the challenges of pictorial storytelling. 

The Composition Study for the Birth of Saint John the Baptist prepares a fresco in Florence’s Chiostro dello Scalzo, which takes its name from the ritualistic barefoot (“scalzo”) processions of the resident brotherhood of St.John the Baptist. Considered one of the major narrative fresco cycles of the Renaissance in Florence, the decorative program and twelve scenes for this commission illustrating the life of the saint engaged Andrea off and on for about fifteen years, probably between 1510 and 1526. This sheet, the only compositional study related to the cycle known to survive, depicts the episode described in Luke 1:59–64, in which the newborn’s father, Zacharias (shown at far right), who had been struck mute for his disbelief, names his son. Unable to speak, he writes on a tablet “His name is John,” the name decreed to him by the angel Gabriel, and immediately regains his voice. Exploring the possibilities of achieving narrative legibility through graceful and varied forms, Andrea altered many aspects of the drawn composition in the painting. Most obviously, in the fresco he has swathed the long, slender bodies in drapery, following the Renaissance convention of depicting figures nude (or partially nude) in preparatory sketches. The figures’ interactions have also been modified in minute but powerful ways: for example, while in the drawing Elizabeth (in bed) faces the nurse in order to receive her son, in the fresco she turns to address the miraculous event of his naming.  


The Birth of the Baptist compositional study was certainly accompanied by now-lost drawings studying individual figures, similar to that of the  

Study of a Kneeling Figure, which was produced in preparation for 

the altarpiece known as the Panciatichi Assumption (Palazzo Pitti, Florence). This vibrant sheet offers a view inside Andrea’s workshop, in which his studio assistants, called garzoni, often served as ready models.

 Like the figures in the Composition Study for the Birth of Saint John the Baptist, this figure (which becomes an apostle in the altarpiece) is drawn unclothed despite its being a study for a heavily draped figure. Careful articulation of musculature reveals Andrea’s power of observation and suggests that he sought to understand the anatomical mechanics of a pose even if the final figure was to be clothed. At the same time, he is selective in his focus: here, he concentrates on the back, buttocks, and right arm and leg, leaving the left hand, feet, and face unarticulated. By capturing live models in this way, he activates his paintings, infusing his sacred and secular dramas with a deeply human character. If the Study of a Kneeling Figure neglects hands and feet, other sheets make them their sole focus. 

With meticulous attention to the folds, bulges, and pull of skin over bone, Studies of Hands with its masterful play of highlight, shadow, and reflected light, evokes Vasari’s praise of Andrea as a pittore senza errori, a faultless painter. Here he depicts what are most likely the hands of a saint, with a book in one hand and an unidentifiable attribute in the other. Although its connection to a painting has not been firmly established (perhaps because the project it prepared was destroyed or abandoned before completion), the drawing must have been valued within the workshop as an exemplary study of human hands, as evidenced by the very fact of its survival. 

Andrea’s most arresting graphic expressions are his head studies, which seem to probe beyond the physical body to its emotional core. Much more than presenting likeness, Andrea’s head studies explore the expressiveness of the human face in sometimes breathtaking complexity. In the  

Study for the Head of Saint John the Baptist

for example, Andrea endows the face of his model with a combination of youthfulness and gravity. One wonders about the identity of this adolescent, whose disheveled hair the artist renders playfully and whose cleft chin was so carefully observed. The boy’s askance look and slightly furrowed brow seem to betray the self-consciousness of one instructed to pose for an artist who visually devours his features. 


The exhibition offers the rare opportunity to see related works together, some for the first time in centuries. One such instance is the reunion, in the Frick’s Oval Room, of the Study for the Head of Saint John the Baptist (above) with 

 Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Saint John the Baptist, ca. 1523 Oil on panel 37 x 26 3/4 inches Palazzo Pitti, Galleria Palatina, Florence By permission of the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

the finished work from the Palazzo Pitti. Surrounded by darkness evocative of the desert where he sought solitude, the saint is depicted with a camel skin tied over his shoulders and around his hips. A bright red cloak highlights his luminous flesh. His sensuous torso—which recalls Michelangelo’s David, perhaps Florence’s most famous torso—reminds us that carnal desire was central to the saint’s story and the cause of his martyrdom. King Herod’s wife, Herodias, scorned by the Baptist, schemed with her daughter Salomé to seduce the king and bring about John’s death. When viewing the painting together with its head study, which shares the same scale, the human aspect of the picture emerges; the drawing prompts us to remember that the idealized sacred figure in the painting was based on a body of flesh and blood. 

Andrea modified the face he studied on paper, lifting the saint’s gaze upward, as if John were addressing the divine over the earthly. As Denise Allen suggests in the catalogue to the exhibition, the artist presents the Baptist as he is described at the opening of the Gospel of John: as witness to the light of Christ. 

A suite of drawings that explore a figure looking over his shoulder prepares Andrea’s most famous portrait, the 

 Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Portrait of a Young Man, ca. 1517–18 Oil on canvas 28 1/2 x 22 1/2 inches National Gallery, London © The National Gallery, London

Portrait of a Young Man from the National Gallery in London. Long believed to be a self-portrait, it has evaded definite identification. The sitter holds what appears to be an open book, a common attribute that may refer to his intellect, humanist interests, or profession. In the Study of a Young Man—one of two related drawings in the exhibition—a small but forceful impression of red chalk representing the sitter’s left eye conveys the intensity of his gaze. Energetic strokes of chalk establish his confidence as he turns to confront the viewer’s eye. The kinetic pose echoes Andrea’s swift handling of chalk. In the painting, the sitter’s garments are a tour de force of painterly effects, the blue fabric of his sleeve rippling as he rests his elbow on the arm of a chair and his white camicia(undershirt)bunching up around the neckline of the vest, bringing to mind Andrea’s name, del Sarto,“of the tailor.” His monogram (two As, for Andrea d’Agnolo) appears in the field at left, eye level to the subject. If the sitter’s identity remains elusive, the artist makes his own name known. 


This lavishly illustrated book, by Getty Publications, reveals Andrea del Sarto’s dazzling inventiveness and creative process, presenting fifty core drawings on paper together with a handful of paintings. The first publication to focus on Andrea’s working practice through a close examination of his art from the world’s major collections, this volume analyzes new studies of his panel underdrawings as well. The depth and breadth of its research make this book an important contribution to the study of Andrea and Florentine Renaissance workshop practice. Authors are Julian Brooks, curator in the Department of Drawings at the J. Paul Getty Museum; Denise Allen, former curator of Renaissance paintings and sculpture at The Frick Collection, New York (now at The Metropolitan Museum of Art); and Xavier F. Salomon, the Frick’sPeter Jay Sharp Chief Curator. The book (ISBN 978-1-60606-438-2, hardcover, 9 1/2 x 11 3/4 inches, 264 pages, 123 color and 9 black and white illustrations.

Andrea del Sarto’s Borgherini Holy Family

Andrea del Sarto’s Borgherini Holy Family, a focused exhibition that will present new findings on the Metropolitan Museum’s 

Holy Family with the Young Saint John the Baptist

one of the Museum’s greatest works of the Italian Renaissance, will open on October 14. The Metropolitan’s painting will be shown alongside  

Charity (before 1530), 

a closely related panel that will be on loan from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Both paintings were probably generated from the same cartoon and the exhibition will allow visitors to follow the artist’s approach as he moved from drawings on paper to the preparatory underdrawing on the panel, and then to the final painting, emphasizing the crucial role of drawings and cartoons in his workshop. The exhibition will complement Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action, a more extensive survey of the artist’s work that will be on view at The Frick Collection at the same time.

Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530) was one of the most influential artist’s active in Florence in the first decades of the 16th century. He painted the grand Holy Family with the Young Saint John the Baptist around 1528 for Giovanni Borgherini, who was prominent during the city’s tumultuous, brief-lived Republic, before the Medici family re-established their rule. The imagery of Christ sharing the orb with his cousin Saint John the Baptist, Florence’s patron saint, was symbolic for the Republican government. Recent technical examination and conservation of the painting has revealed the masterful underdrawing of the figures and the brilliant, sumptuous color that led Sarto to be known as “the painter without defects.” The exhibition will examine Sarto’s decision to use this composition as the basis of a painting, probably meant as a gift to the French king, whose subject matter was later changed to Charity. 

More images from the Frick Exhibition:

   Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Drapery Study, ca. 1517 Red chalk 11 × 6 inches The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

·         Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Study of the Head of an Old Man in Profile, ca. 1520 Red chalk 9 7⁄16 × 10 7⁄8 inches Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin Photo credit: bpk, Berlin / Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany / Photo: Volker-H. Schneider / Art Resource, NY

·         Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Study of the Head of a Woman, ca. 1525 Black chalk 5 3⁄16 × 4 5⁄16 inches Musée du Louvre, Paris © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY. Photo: Stephane Marechalle

·         Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Head of Leonardo di Lorenzo Morelli, 1512 Black chalk 12 3/8 x 9 5/8 inches Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris

·         Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) The Madonna and Child with Saint John, ca. 1516–17 Red chalk 12 3/8 x 9 3/16 inches Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence By permission of the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

·         Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Study of a Woman, ca. 1517–25 Red chalk 9 1/2 x 7 15/16 inches Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence By permission of the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

·         Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Studies of Arms, Legs, Hands, and Drapery, ca. 1522 Red and black chalks 10 3/16 x 7 15/16 inches Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence By permission of the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

·         Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Studies of Children, and of a Left Hand, 1522–26 Red chalk 7 13/16 x 9 3/4 inches The British Museum, London © The Trustees of the British Museum

·         Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Study for the Head of Saint Joseph, ca. 1526–27 Red and black chalks 14 11/16 x 8 11/16 inches Private collection

·         Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Study of a Bearded Man in Profile, ca. 1526–27 Black chalk, possibly with gray wash 8 9/16 x 7 1/8 inches Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence By permission of the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

·         Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Studies of Figures Seated and Standing Behind a Table, ca. 1526–27 Red chalk 10 1/16 x 14 5/16 inches Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence By permission of the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

·         Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Studies of the Head of an Infant, ca. 1522 Red chalk 9 3/4 x 7 1/4 inches Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence By permission of the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

·         Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Head of a Man Looking Up, ca. 1527 Black chalk, with later red-chalk additions 9 3/4 × 6 15/16 inches Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford, Oxford © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

·         Andrea del Sarto (1486–1530) Study of the Head of an Old Woman, ca. 1529 Red chalk 9 13/16 × 7 5/16 inches Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford, Oxford © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Alfred Maurer: Art on the Edge

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has announced the opening of Alfred Maurer: Art on the Edge, on view October 10, 2015, through January 4, 2016.  The exhibition brings together 65 works by American artist Alfred Maurer, a prolific artist of the twentieth century and among the first Americans to embrace avant-garde styles such as Cubism, Fauvism, and abstraction. 
The exhibition features works by Maurer from the Crystal Bridges’ collection, including  

Jeanne, ca.1904 (oil on canvas) 

and Fauve Landscape with Red and Blue, ca. 1909 (oil on board).

Considered one of the first Americans to adopt French Fauvism and one of the most versatile American Modernists, Alfred H. Maurer (1868–1932) tirelessly pushed the boundaries of artistic expression throughout his career. Maurer spent nearly 17 years in Paris, where he was introduced to French avant-garde art through his friendships with major collectors, dealers, and artists. Throughout his long career he maintained a steady interest in formal experimentation with color, form, and abstraction. The exhibition surveys Maurer’s career from fin-de-siècle figure paintings, scenes of contemporary leisure, Fauvist works, landscapes and florals, heads and figures, and still lifes, to late Cubist abstractions. The diversity and virtuosity of the works illustrate the extent to which Maurer was a formidable creative force in expanding the potential for artistic expression in American art.

Alfred Maurer: Art on the Edge was organized by the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. 

For more information and images from the exhibition:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Gods and Goddesses: Annibale Carracci and the Renaissance Reborn


Claude Lefèbvre after Carracci. Aurora and Cephalus from the Farnese Gallery, 17th century. Engraving on paper. Promised gift to the IU Art Museum.

Indiana University Art Museum
Judi and Milt Stewart Hexagon Gallery, Special Exhibitions Gallery, first floor
September 25-December 20, 2015

Although not a household name like his Italian predecessors Michelangelo and Raphael, Annibale Carracci (Italian, 1560-1609) was far and away the most influential Italian artist of the seventeenth century. Along with his brother Agostino and cousin Ludovico, he established an academy in Bologna that trained a whole generation of internationally prominent artists. His legacy was the establishment of a classical manner of painting that dominated Europe for at least a century.

 IU Art Museum's fall special exhibition, Gods and Goddesses: Annibale Carracci and the Renaissance Reborn, brings renewed attention to this important artist and his masterpiece The Loves of the Gods in the Farnese Gallery.

Despite the importance of the frescoes, they have always been difficult to see, housed as they were in a private aristocratic residence. Even today, they are accessible only by appointment, since the Palazzo Farnese in Rome now serves as home to the French Embassy. In order to spread their imagery to artists and collectors far and wide, professional printmakers immediately began to replicate Annibale's designs through reproductive engravings (seen in reverse of the original paintings).

Claude Lefèbvre created reproductive prints of Annibale Carracci's Farnese Gallery paintings, including “Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne,” original blow:

This exhibition focuses on a series produced in France by the seventeenth-century engraver Claude Lefèbvre's prints—dedicated to Charles LeBrun, the artist largely responsible for the program of decoration at Louis XIV's palace of Versailles and one of the founders of the Académie Royale—promoted the ideal forms and the legacy of antiquity central to the Carracci school. This exhibition includes sixteen prints; fourteen after Annibale's designs that are promised gifts to the Indiana University Art Museum, as well as two comparative examples of Michelangelo and Raphael from the IU Art Museum's collection. 

Also see:

Carlo Cesio, Detail of the Farnese Gallery, after Annibale Carracci, 1657, etching

Monday, September 28, 2015


The Broad is a new contemporary art museum founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The museum, which is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, opened September 20, 2015 with free general admission. The museum will be home to the 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection, which is among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art worldwide. With its innovative “veil-and-vault” concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140-million building will feature two floors of gallery space to showcase The Broad’s comprehensive collection and will be the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library. For more information on The Broad and to sign up for updates, please visit
Exhibition Highlights 

The monographic galleries reflect the collection’s historic deep holdings in classic Pop art of the 1960s, notably 

Andy Warhol,  featuring his 1962 Small Torn Campbell’s Soup Can (Pepper Pot),

and Roy Lichtenstein’s 1965-66 I...I’m Sorry! and 

his 1968-69 five-canvas panel Rouen Cathedral, Set 3. 

The third-floor galleries will also feature works dating from the 1970s by Richard Artschwager and Chuck Close. Concentrated installations of art from New York’s East Village and Soho scenes of the 1980s reflect the Broads’ passionate immersion in that era as collectors. Highlights from the collection’s incomparable paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiatare prominently featured, as are strong representations by Cindy Sherman, drawn from The Broad’s largest collection in the world of her works; Sherrie Levine, including Fountain (Buddha), 1996, her appropriated version in cast bronze of the porcelain urinal that Marcel Duchamp famously and notoriously exhibited in 1917 as Fountain; Barbara Kruger’s iconic Untitled (Your body is a battleground) from 1989; as well as works by Jack Goldstei nand others. 

Artists whose work came to the fore in the 1990s include Glenn Ligon, Andreas Gurskyand Julie Mehretu,all of whom have significant representations in the inaugural exhibition. A recent work by Mehretu, Cairo, 2013, a vast, swirling, ink-and-acrylic representation of the architecture, atmosphere and social dynamism of the Egyptian capital during the political turbulence of the Arab Spring, isfeatured in the large entry gallery on the third floor. Works from the 1980s and 1990s highlight the Broads’ intensive and sustained engagement with artworks containing tough social and political content, found in the work of artists like David Wojnarowicz, Cady Noland, Kara Walker, Anselm Kiefer and Mike Kelley. The collection’s abiding interest in sometimes biting, confrontational imagery critical of some of the most traumatic passages and challenging issues in American and European modern history plays a major role in the installation.

Anselm Kiefer’s masterwork Deutschlands Geisteshelden, addressing the recovery of Germany from the ravages of World War II, is shown in relationship with German artist Joseph Beuys’ multiples, selected from the Broad’s 570-work Beuys multiples collection, the most comprehensive set of these key works in the Western U.S. 

Galleries on the 15,000-square-foot first floor focus almost exclusively on the collection’s most recent artworks, dating from 2000 to the present—many of which will have their debut showing in Los Angeles. Those works include Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room, 2013, a mirror-lined chamber housing a dazzling and seemingly endless LED light display;

Robert Longo’s 2014 charcoal drawing Untitled (Ferguson Police, August 13, 2014), of police protests in Ferguson, Mo.;

and The Visitors, 2012, by Ragnar Kjartansson, a 360-degree, nine-screen video projection that surrounds the viewer with images of the artist and his musician friends performing within different rooms of a derelict historic mansion, a highly poignant contemplation on collaboration and the creative process.

About the Broad Collection 

The Broad collection includes The Broad Art Foundation and The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection, which together hold 2,000 works of postwar and contemporary art. With a strong desire to advance public appreciation for contemporary art, the Broads established The Broad Art Foundation in 1984 as a way to keep these works in the public domain through an enterprising loan program that makes the art available for exhibition at accredited institutions throughout the world. The Broads continue to actively add to the collection through strategic acquisitions focused on expanding the representations of an artist’s work and broadening the scope of the collection. The result is a lending library of contemporary art and an expansive collection that is regularly cited as among the top in the world.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sotheby’s November 5 2015 Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art:Kazimir Malevich. Vincent van Gogh. Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, James Ensor

Sotheby’s November 5 2015 Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art will feature one of the finest works by Kazimir Malevich remaining in private hands: 

Mystic Suprematism (Black Cross on Red Oval). 

The painting is the last of a renowned group of five canvases restituted to the artist’s heirs in 2008 to be offered for sale, and as such represents the final opportunity to acquire a seminal masterpiece by Malevich from this celebrated collection. Mystic Suprematism epitomizes the 20th century European avant-garde at its most revolutionary, and comes to auction this November with an estimate of $35/45 million. 

Simon Shaw, Co-Head of Sotheby’s Worldwide Impressionist &
Modern Art Department, said: Mystic Suprematism captures a moment when Malevich was at his most radical, iconoclastic and powerful. As the last canvas to come to auction bearing the exceptional provenance of the artist and his family, its sale will mark a major market moment this fall. Sotheby’s first offered a work from this illustrious group in 2008, when Suprematism, 18th Construction achieved a record $60 million. With so few outstanding Suprematist paintings remaining in private hands, we are honored to have been entrusted by the artist’s family once again and look forward to presenting Mystic Suprematism to collectors worldwide this fall.” 
Mystic Suprematism offers a searing presentation of Malevich's art at its most iconoclastic and theoretically complex. Painted in 1920–22 in the immediate aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the image embodies the 'new world order' promoted by the Suprematist movement – Malevich's radical artistic philosophy that had transformed Russian avant-garde art in the early-20th century. 

Five years following the publication of his Suprematist Manifesto in 1915, Malevich had fine-tuned his philosophies and perfected the artistic expression of his ideas, eliminating many of the colors, shapes and more painterly elements that dominated his earlier Suprematist compositions. His paintings at this stage were absolute in their dismissal of cultural, political or religious precedent. Mystic Suprematism epitomizes this shift in its most extreme form, with its irreverent black cruciform and oval of red paint set against an abyss of white. 

In 1927, Malevich accompanied the present painting along with more than 70 other works to the seminal exhibition Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung in Berlin. This was the first time the artist’s work was exhibited outside of Russia, and the show was pivotal in establishing his reputation as one of the most influential international artists of the 20th century. 

Following the exhibition, Malevich was obliged to return to the Soviet Union and arranged for the painting to be stored in Berlin, but he was unable to return to Germany as he was prevented from leaving the Soviet Union, where he died in 1935. Mystic Suprematism was later entrusted to the German architect Hugo Häring, who purportedly sold it to the Stedelijk Museum, where it was featured for over 50 years. Following a 17-year struggle, it was finally returned to the artist's heirs in 2008 after a historic settlement was reached with the City of Amsterdam.

Of the four other works that were restituted to Malevich’s family, two were sold by Sotheby's, one was sold privately to the Art Institute of Chicago, and one was sold to an anonymous collector. In the last 25 years, only four major works by Malevich have been sold at auction. 

Sotheby’s New York Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art on 5 November 2015 will also feature an exquisite group of late- 19th and early-20th century masterworks assembled in the 1940s and ‘50s by Belgian collectors Louis and Evelyn Franck. 

The works are led by Vincent van Gogh’s Paysage sous un ciel mouvementé, a sweeping landscape view from Arles that is estimated to sell for $50/70 million. The collection also offers Pablo Picasso’s Nu au jambes croisées,  a large-scale, fully- worked pastel from his famed Blue Period  (estimate $8/12 million); superb examples by Paul Cézanne, Kees van Dongen and Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec; and the finest work by Belgian painter James Ensor ever to appear at auction. 

Born in 1907 in Belgium, Louis Franck was a passionate sailor, international banker and discriminating art collector, whose father was an important patron to Belgian artists including James Ensor. After marrying Evelyn Aeby, the couple moved to London in 1935, and it was during this time that they began to build their remarkable art collection. Louis and Evelyn went on to found the Old Broad Street Charity Trust and became major benefactors of the World Wildlife Fund, of which Louis served as Vice-President and Treasurer from 1976 to 1985. The Francks’ superb collection has been on public view at the Fondation Gianadda in Martigny, Switzerland since 1997. 

Painted in April of 1889 at the height of the artist’s famed Arles period, Vincent van Gogh’s Paysage sous un ciel mouvementé is a testament to the most successful period of his career (estimate $50/70 million). Painted just one year before Van Gogh’s death, the dramatic landscape depicts the fields outside Arles in the south of France, where he lived from early 1888 through mid-1889. Its palette evokes the colors found in this new Southern climate, yet the turbulent skies foretell Van Gogh’s mental decline in the months following the work’s execution. 

Since 2014, only three works from Van Gogh’s mature period (1888–1890) have appeared at auction – all at Sotheby’s.  

Nature morte, Vase aux marguerites et coquelicots from 1890 sold in November 2014 for $61.8 million (estimate $30/50 million) to an Asian private collector. 

In February of 2014, an impressive 11 bidders spanning North America, South America, Europe and Asia competed for L'homme est en mer from 1889 at Sotheby’s London, driving the final price to $27.5 million (estimate $9.8/13 million).  

L'Allée des Alyscamps from 1888 sold in May 2014 to an Asian private collector for $66.3 million, marking the highest auction price for Van Gogh since 1998 and an auction record for any landscape by the artist. 

Pablo Picasso’s pastel Nu au jambes croisées was created in 1903, at the apotheosis of the artist’s Blue period (estimate $8/12 million). The work represents this fragile aspect in the young artist’s life, when sex, melancholy and vulnerability took root and would ultimately shape every successive period of his art for nearly a century. Large-scale, fully-worked pastels from Picasso’s Blue period rarely appear at auction, and the Franck work embodies this critical moment in the artist’s oeuvre.

A unique feature of this collection is the group of three superb works by the great Belgian symbolist painter James Ensor. Louis Franck’s father, François, was a patron of Ensor’s and an important collector of the artist’s works. Louis inherited several of these great paintings, notably

Ensor’s masterwork Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem,

which Louis subsequently sold to the Getty Museum in 1981. Works by Ensor are tremendously rare at auction, and the three paintings on offer in the Evening Sale are truly exceptional examples from the artist’s finest period.

Les Toits d’Ostende (estimate $1.5/2 million),

 Le Jardin d’Amour (estimate $2/3 million),

 and particularly  Les Poissardes mélancoliques (estimate $3/5 million)

each demonstrate the artist’s irreverent disregard for convention and his unique vision

The collection offers two important paintings by Paul Cézanne. Fleurs dans un pot d'olives (estimate $5/7 million), painted in 1880-82, displays the artist’s ability to imbue a still-life with all of the subtlety and emotional potency of portraiture. Still-lifes from the artist’s mature period, such as the present work, are considered the harbingers of 20th-century Modernism, providing inspiration for the Cubists. 

Portrait de Victor Chocquet (estimate $2.5/3.5 million) belongs to a rare group of works depicting the artist’s most important patron: Victor Chocquet. Painted circa 1880-85, the present portrait is presumed to have been modeled after a photograph found in Cézanne's archives by his son, in which the sitter is wearing the same jacket and tie illustrated in the work.