Christie’s will present the Collection Jacqueline Matisse Monnier on April 13, an exceptional and historic collection of works that retraces the extraordinary life of one of the greatest French artists, Henri Matisse.
Composed of 78 lots, with a total value estimated at more than €23 million, the sale will offer works coming directly from the artists and unpublished on the market. These rare pieces, created in large part by friends of the Matisse family, will be publicly displayed for the first time in Christie’s Parisian galleries.
The collection includes works by some of the greatest names of the 20th century, including Henri Matisse, Jean Dubuffetthe Giacometti brothers, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Claudius and Francois Xavier Lalanne.
Born in 1931, Jacqueline Matisse Monnier, called Jackie by her friends, had art in her blood. Granddaughter of Henri Matisse, great master of modern art, she has been drawing since childhood and has always favored her artistic practice as a means of expression. Daughter of Pierre Matisseone of the greatest gallerists of the 20th century, she surrounded herself with some of the most eminent artists of their time.
His mother, Alexina Teeny Matisse – which later became Little Duchamp when she got married Marcel Duchamp in 1954 – cultivated throughout her life a flourishing artistic network around her and her family.
Living between Paris and New York, Jacqueline gradually develops its own language and artistic universe through its kite art. In these poetic and floating paintings, she uses the sky as a canvas and explores the organic movements of the wind.
Jacqueline was very sensitive to the artistic production of her circle of friendship and maintained sincere friendships with her contemporaries, including John Cage, Jean Tinguelyand Robert Rauschenberg. The collection Jacqueline Matisse Monnier depicts a fascinating family history and embodies intergenerational friendships Matisse had with artists.
“This extraordinary collection pays a vibrant tribute to Jacqueline Matisse Monnier and her family history. It is a great privilege for Christie’s to organize the sale of this extraordinary collection, never seen on the market. We are very honored by the trust placed in us by the family.
Cecile VerdierPresident, Christie’s France
“It is an extraordinary privilege to enter the world in which Jackie Matisse Monnier was immersed, surrounded by works created by members of his family or donated by artist friends. This sale invites our customers to discover these works which are at the heart of French artistic production of the 20th century.
Jonathan Rendelvice-president, Christie’s Americas
“We are delighted that Christie’s is with us at this very important moment in our family history. It is with great emotion that we pay tribute to our mother and present these works that have accompanied us since we were children and have been part of our family for three generations.
Robert Monnier, Jacqueline Matisse Monnier son
The collection Jacqueline Matisse Monnier will offer an exceptional set of works that have remained in the family to this day. It includes often unique pieces, coming directly from some of the greatest artists of the 20th century, illustrating their intimate relationships with the family.
The top lot of the sale, Small bust of a man by Alberto Giacometti (estimate €3,000,000-5,000,000), is part of a set of eight works by Giacometti brothers who have remained in the family homes until now. This very rare patinated bronze enhanced with paint, originating from by Pierre Matisse collection, was executed in 1950.
The Hippopotamus I blue bathtub by Francois Xavier Lalannewhose Jacqueline Matisse Monnier was very close, is the first resin version of this iconic model (€800,000 – 1,200,000) and was also acquired directly from the artist.
by Marcel Duchamp personal copy of the book Marcel Duchamp. Words and memories of 1964, of which the famous LHOOQ ready-made that he dedicated to himself (€600,000-800,000), is another highlight. A catalog of Pierre Matisse Exhibition of the gallery in 1961, MIRÓ 1959-1960. (70,000-100,000 €), is also presented.
This is a unique copy offered by Miro for Jacquelineher goddaughter and her husband Bernard Monnier. It is illustrated with an original signed watercolor and reflects the strong link between Miro and the family.
Other highlights include Finish What I Started, an early surrealist composition by Yves Tanguy from 1927, exhibited at the Guggenheim in 1982-83 (€1,200,000-1,800,000), The Man and the Bird by Joan Miró, an exceptionally vivid gouache dated 1935 (€1,000,000-1,500,000), and by Yves Klein monochrome blue IKB 183 (€1,000,000-1,500,000) dated 1959.
Unquestionably one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Henri Matisse is honored in this sale with more than 30 works on offer, including three portraits of Jackie and a painting from 1935: Nymphe et Faune Rouge (€1,800,000-2,200,000) accompanied by his preparatory sketch (lot 31, €250,000-350,000).
The collection also includes two important serigraphs on linen, by Henri Matisse, very dear to the artist: Oceania, the Sea and Oceania, the Sky (€1,200,000-1,800,000 each). These works from 1946, one of which is dedicated “to Pierre”, commemorate his stay in Tahiti, more than fifteen years after the event.
Created by a textile designer Zika Ascher, this work met with great success even before being completed. Produced only a few years before his monumental cut-outs of 1950, these two series play a key role in the development of his technique of cut-out paper.
The two sister compositions slightly precede the book Jazz, by Henri Matisse artistic manifesto (estimate €250,000 – 350,000) published by Teriadthis translates by Matisse chromatic improvisations with 20 original stencils in bright colors based on his collages. This family copy includes a text lithographed by Draeger.
Throughout his career, Pierre Matisse played an important role in promoting modern French and European art in the United States. With more than 300 exhibitions organized in his New York gallery, he was a fervent supporter of the avant-garde and helped shape the greatest American private and institutional collections. Pierre Matisse represented Henri Matisse, Jean Dubuffet, Yves Tanguythe Giacometti brothers, and Joan Miró.
Some works offered for sale come from Pierre Matisse and testify to this fascinating dialogue between different artistic styles and generations.
An important oil on canvas from 1968, Study of Simon Hantai,(600,000 – 800,000 €), recalling by Henri Matisse cut-outs, is one of these works that was exhibited at the Pierre Matisse gallery.
Likewise, Jean Dubuffet Mummy-style Michaux charcoal (opposite, €60,000-80,000) and Le Maestro sculpture (€600,000-800,000); and Woman, Snake, Stars by Joan Miró (opposite, €250,000-350,000) come from by Pierre Matisse personal collection.
Jacqueline Matisse Monnier
Jacqueline Matisse Monnier has been continuously exposed to art since childhood. However, like her parents, she consciously chose to live with art on a daily basis.
His first artistic collaboration was with his stepfather, Marcel Duchamp, for whom she set up the boxes-in-suitcases in a small room on rue du Bac, for ten years. Two exceptionally well-preserved editions are part of the collection, including a red Series F (opposite, €120,000-180,000) signed by Duchamp.
Rifiuti di tegna, a collage on panel from 1970 by their friend Daniel Spoerri (€10,000-15,000) was acquired directly from the artist by Jacqueline Matisse Monnier.
For many years, Jackie also advised Niki de Saint Phalle, whom she met at school in the United States. Niki de Saint Phalle and John Tinguely, both close friends of Jackie, often visited her at her home near Paris. A sculpture of John Tinguely of the sale (opposite, €60,000-80,000) was offered to Jackie as a gift to thank her for having contributed to the realization of her monumental collective work, The Cyclop.
Three other works by Niki de Saint Phalle in this sale also illustrate this link, including Upside Down Lady Vase (€10,000-15,000).