Property from the Blitz Collection Headlines Sotheby's Prints & Multiples | NY Auction 23 & 24 October
Sotheby’s Prints & Multiples Auction to Feature Property from the Collection of Catherine Woodard and Nelson Blitz, Jr.
NEW YORK, 10 October 2017 – Sotheby’s seasonal auction of Important Prints & Multiples will be led by Property from the Collection of Catherine Woodard and Nelson Blitz Jr. this October. Distinctive for its superlative works by master printmakers Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns and Ludwig Kirchner, the 22 lots on offer from the Blitz Collection are a remarkable opportunity for private collectors, institutions and print enthusiasts to view and acquire works of the highest quality. Prints & Multiples will be on public view in New York from 20 October, with the auction of the Blitz Collection taking place at 7pm on 23 October 2017.
Mary Bartow, Head of Sotheby’s Prints & Multiples Department in New York, commented: “Over the course of four decades, Catherine Woodard and Nelson Blitz have assembled an unparalleled collection of prints from the late-19th and early-20th centuries. We are honored to share a selection of works from their collection this season, and look forward to thrilling collectors with rare prints and exciting those on the hunt for trophy works.”
Passionate about the arts from a young age, Nelson Blitz began collecting prints in the early 1960s. Originally in pursuit of prints by French artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Odilon Redon, Mr. Blitz’s collection changed course when he happened upon a work by Edvard Munch at a Sotheby’s print auction in 1972. Drawn in by an image of an embracing couple facing a forest, as well as Munch’s quintessential themes of morality, loneliness and anxiety, Mr. Blitz began studying the work of German Expressionists, going as far as to obtain a master’s degree at Columbia University, where he met his wife Catherine Woodard in an art history course.
Since that meeting in 1982, Catherine Woodard and Nelson Blitz have built together one of the greatest collections of prints in private hands. Leading the group is an iconic image by Edvard Munch, Young Woman on the Beach. The Lonely One (SCH. 42; W. 49) (estimate $3/4 million). One of 12 impressions recognized by Woll – many of which are held in public collection – the extremely fine quality and condition of this version underlines the enigma of the young woman engulfed by the vast landscape. Extensively exhibited in the United States at the National Academy of Design in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, the present lot has also traveled abroad to the Albertina in Vienna and the Foundation Beyeler in Basel.
The Blitz Collection includes three other works by Edvard Munch: Moonlight I (SCH. 81; W. 90), Evening (estimate $150/250,000). Melancholy I (SCH. 82; W. 91) (estimate $850/1,000,000) and Melancholy III (SCH. 144; W. 203) ($300/500,000). All three are fantastic examples of prints by the artist, and illustrate Edvard Munch’s preoccupation with and talent for depicting human nature. Moonlight I in particular highlights feelings of loneliness, yearning and angst while Melancholy I and Melancholy III emphasize a more pensive and sorrowful sentiment. Works by Pablo Picasso, an artist strongly influenced by Edvard Munch and the German Expressionist movement, are also centerpieces of the Blitz Collection. Portrait d’Olga au Col de Fourrure (BA. 109), a drypoint of his first wife, the Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova, is a particularly personal work of art (estimate $800,000/1.2 million). One of ten impressions ever made, and one of four by Lacourière, this work was exhibited at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts for its 2017 exhibition Picasso: Encounters. Previously in the collection of Marina Picasso, as indicated by her stamp on the verso, La Femme a la Fenetre is a very fine impression from 1952. Carrying an estimate of $300/500,000, the work is indicative of Picasso’s mature period, which featured a mix of the styles that he had mastered over the course of his long and prolific career.
Ms. Woodward and Mr. Blitz are also passionate collectors of German Expressionist Ludwig Kirchner. A founding member of the artists group Die Brücke, Kirchner spent a great deal of time and energy re-invigorating the art of printmaking in the late-19th and early 20th centuries. Two major highlights on offer this October, which showcase the artist’s expertise in the medium and are notable for their rarity are Strasseszene (D. H235/B; SCH. H218; G. 643/2) (estimate $500/700,000) and Junkerboden (D. H388/A/2/II and H388/B/1/II; SCH. H412; G. 1085/II/1) (estimate $100/125,000). The former is one of five known impressions, and the only one to include color; the striking royal purple ink was printed in a monotype fashion. The latter is a single sheet containing two working proofs; one of five examples of this rare woodcut, there exists only one other example printed in colors.
Ms. Woodward and Mr. Blitz began acquiring the works of American master Jasper Johns following a studio visit as a member of the Museum of Modern Art’s prints acquisition committee. The Johns works on offer this October represent a selection of the artist’s major symbols. Early images of cans and targets are illustrated by Ale Cans (ULAE 20) and Target (ULAE 1), the first of which was previously in the collection of Michael Crichton (estimate $150/200,000 and $50/70,000 respectively). Later symbols of maps and flags are also represented by a number of works including Two Maps II (ULAE 26) and Two Flags (ULAE 121) (estimate $100/150,000 and $20/30,000 respectively).
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