28 May 2015 Archived
At Strauss & Co's auction of Important South African and International Art on Monday 1 June, artworks to the value of over R40 million are set to go under the hammer. Amongst the highlights is an arresting portrait by renowned Dutch artist, Kees Van Dongen, of his beloved daughter Dolly.
Van Dongen was a contemporary of Picasso, Matisse, and others who exhibited at the Salon d'Automne and were hailed as Les Fauves or the "wild beasts" for their use of bright colours and expressive painterly brushmarks.
Painted in Paris in 1909, Dolly au collier d’argent, (Dolly with silver necklace) confirms Van Dongen's stature as one of the leading avant-garde artists of the 20th century. At the heart of the composition is the quiet intensity of the child’s bright blue eyes set against her fine complexion so lovingly rendered by her adoring father, while sparkling jewels at her neck and wrist draw attention to the focal points of face and hands. Van Dongen painted many portraits of the beau monde in Paris, earning a reputation as chronicler of the period. In their diversity, his portraits managed to give a characteristic, in some cases deliberately stereotyped, depiction of his contemporaries that lent them also a documentary value. With a playful cynicism he remarked of his popularity as a portraitist with high society women, "the essential thing is to elongate the women and especially to make them slim. After that it just remains to enlarge their jewels. They are ravished." This remark is reminiscent of another of his sayings: "Painting is the most beautiful of lies".
Van Dongen is represented in many international museums including the National Gallery of Art, Washington and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Strauss & Co have estimated this museum quality work to fetch R3 500 000 – R4 500 000.
Strauss & Co's sale showcases many exciting works of art by South African and international artists of stature. These include Alexander Calder, Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso, Irma Stern, JH Pierneef, William Kentridge, Jane Alexander, Robert Hodgins, Penny Siopis, Deborah Bell, Walter Oltman and Athi-Patra Ruga.
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Important South African and International Art
Kees van DONGEN
Dolly au collier d’argent
signed; signed on the stretcher oil on canvas 62,5 by 45 cm
R3 500 000 – R4 500 000