Freeman’s May 4 auction of Modern & Contemporary Art featured diverse offerings from important 20th century artists. With many works coming from private collections, strong prices were realized throughout the sale.
“We are pleased to achieve a sale total of more than $1.5 million, with 87% of lots sold,” said Department Head Anne Henry.
A particular highlight of the auction was “Pareja Con Bueyes (Bueyes)” by Mariano Rodríguez, one of the most significant artists of the 20th century Cuban avant-garde. The painting’s whereabouts had been unknown for some time; the only documentation of its existence was a grainy photograph in the artist’s catalogue raisonné. Competitive phone and online bidding for this important image of a couple and a pair of oxen pushed final price of the painting to $146,500—soaring past the initial estimate of $25,000-$40,000.
Another highpoint was “Odalisque Étendue” by Henri Matisse, which fetched $140,500. The ink on paper drawing, executed in 1928, features one of Matisse’s classic subjects, Odalisques. Although lacking the lush, bright colors of his oils and pastels, typical of his work in the 1920s and early 1930s, “Odalisque Étendue” is no less expressive. In fact, the monochromatic medium allows his facility with pen and ink to shine. Various marks, textures, and shading suggest patterns found in exotic Moroccan furnishings; while the figure itself, with its sensual relaxed curves, is rendered with only a few dynamic lines.
“Bouquet au Vase Chinois I,” a quintessential still-life by the French expressionist painter Bernard Buffet, brought the highest price of the day at $158,500; while Alexander Calder’s gouache “Descending Discs” and Richard Pousette-Dart’s untitled graphite and acrylic on paper achieved $110,500 and $68,500, respectively.