Paul Cezanne watercolour to star in Actual Size sale

A Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) watercolour will be the star of Sotheby’s ground breaking Actual Size auction in London on June 21.

The sale features a range of small-scale works from some of history’s greatest artists.

Cezanne Bathers watercolour

Cezanne was the link between impressionism and modernism

All of the lots are reproduced at their actual size in the catalogue (hence the title).  

Baigneuses, La Montagne Sainte-Victoire au fond (circa 1902-1906) measures just 8½ inches across.

Painted in the last few years of Cezanne's life, it’s a revisiting of his celebrated baigneuses (bathers) series.

Cezanne is often described as the link between impressionism and modernism, something that is clearly visible in his new approach to an old subject.  

Thomas Bompard, curator for the sale, explained: “At just five by eight inches, this show-stopping watercolour has all the power and grandeur of a great Renaissance fresco.

“All of Cezanne's genius is right here: like a magician, he conjures form from nothing more than light and colour; and in this rare moment he brings together the two subjects he held dearest.

“It's a major tour de force on a miniature scale. It's the father of modernism at his best. And for many reasons, the perfect cover lot for Actual Size”.

The lot is expected to make £4m-6m ($5m-6.3m), a staggering sum given its size.

In 2012, the kingdom of Qatar paid a record $259m for a version of Cezanne’s The Card Players (1892-1893) in a private sale.

It was the most valuable painting ever sold up until 2015, when Willem De Kooning’s Interchange (1955) took the top spot with a $300m sale.

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