Picasso painting of Notre-Dame could show the way to $1.56m at Bonhams auction

Picasso is often used as a byword for artistic genius, and collectors will get another chance to own a fine work by the great man when Bonhams' next art sale rolls around next month.

The auctioneer's Impressionist & Modern Art auction on 7th February 2012 in London includes an exciting selection of works by artists including Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, Raoul Dufy, Marc Chagall, Candido Portinari and Carlos Nadal.

A stunning painting of Notre Dame de Paris by Pablo Picasso is a highlight.  Here Picasso has taken a subject he knows well, via his walks to, and the view from, his studio, but he chooses to challenge the truth in order to explore artistic aims other than realism. 

Pablo Picasso Notre-Dame de Paris
Pablo Picasso's joyful artwork showing Notre-Dame de Paris

He toys with the artistic conventions of perspective and scale to leave the viewer separated from reality and immersed instead into Picasso's own pictorial truth.  Dated 1954, it is one of his later landscapes, but it shows the influence of his earlier experiments with Cubism. 

By October 1954, when it was completed, the artist was falling in love with a woman who would later become his wife - Jacqueline Roque. At the time of painting Notre Dame de Paris, they were in the springtime of their passion, and Picasso's happiness at the time of working on this painting is evident.

The vibrancy and impasto on the surface of the paint suggests Picasso's joy and positivity. It is a painting depicting one day - marked '25.10.54' in the lower right of the painting - and as such, is a moment captured.

It is as if it is a summer's day rather than a day in late October, and Picasso's new found love of Jacqueline and rediscovered love of Paris communicates beyond the picture plane.  It is estimated to sell for £700,000-1,000,000.

That is relatively modest for a Picasso painting (the current world record price for an artwork was set in 2010 by his Nude, Green Leaves and Bust at $106.5m). Nevertheless it is priced beyond the reach of many art lovers, as is La Musique au Village (£60,000-80,000) by Marc Chagall (1887-1995).

Of course, you don't need to have five figure sums available to own a piece of a great artist. For example, a print of a work by Marc Chagall, signed by the artist, is in our stock and available right now.

Amedeo Modigliani Jeune Fille aux Cheveux Noirs
Amedeo Modigliani's striking Jeune Fille aux Cheveux Noirs

Also featured in Bonhams' sale is Jeune Fille aux Cheveux Noirs by the Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani.  This offering follows on from Bonhams' successful sale of another Modigliani portrait - Portrait de Femme, which fetched £1,812,000 on 21st June 2011. 

Modigliani is renowned for his enigmatic portraits of women with their elongated features and deep gazes.  They have been described as 'the works by which the artist has earned his place in the history of art' and this fine example, estimated at £700,000-1,000,000, is no exception.  It comes to the market from the Laurence S. Rockefeller Fund.

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