Christie's New York Announces Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts: The Collection EXCEPTIONAL AMERICAN PAINTINGS, IMPRESSIONIST AND MODERN ART, AND 20TH CENTURY DECORATIVE ARTS TO HIGHLIGHT CHRISTIE’S MAJOR SPRING SALES IN NEW YORK
20. Among the masterworks is a rare oil on canvas by Edward Steichen (1879-1973) entitled Moonlit Landscape, 1907 (pictured right; estimate: $300,000-500,000). The dream-like nocturnal landscape is believed to have been inspired by trips to Alfred Stieglitz’s summer home at Lake George, where Steichen also created some of his most celebrated photographs. This superb painting in tonalist style dates from the period before Steichen turned away from the medium in order to devote himself entirely to photography, and it remains one of the few examples of his exceptional painting talent that survive to the present day.
With its stylized white roses set against a vibrant red background, Marsden Hartley’s Roses for Seagulls that Lost their Way, 1935-36 (pictured right; estimate: $300,000-500,000), showcases the artist’s extraordinary skill as a colorist. Despite the painting’s bright color palette, its meaning is believed to be derived from a more somber incident. In 1936, while Hartley was staying with his friends, the Masons, in Nova Scotia, the family’s two sons and a cousin drowned during a fierce storm. The tragedy marked Hartley deeply, and the painting, with its delicate white ribbon in the abstracted form of a seagull, is believed to have been painted in elegy to the young victims.
Following the recent record price of $782,500 achieved for a work by Guy Pene du Bois’ (1884-1958) at Christie’s December 2009 sale of Important American Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture, Christie’s is pleased to offer a selection of five works by this talented figure painter. The lead highlight of the group, Place Massena, Nice, 1930 (estimate: $150,000-250,000), depicts the central square of the lavish seaside resort of Nice on uncharacteristically somber, rainy day. Du Bois sparsely populates the foreground of the scene with cosmopolitan figures clutching coats and umbrellas in a pleasing contrast to the verdant palm trees that recede into the foggy distance. The painting is one of only three du Bois created during the brief period he lived in Nice, and of the group, Place Massena presents the most complete view of the city’s striking scenery.
Considered the leader of the Regionalist artist movement, Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) is best known for his fluid, almost sculpted paintings of rural life in the Midwest, where his family had its roots. For nearly all his adult life, however, Benton summered on Martha’s Vineyard, a small island off the coast of Massachusetts. A delicate oil on tin, entitled Martha’s Vineyard (estimate: $100,000-150,000), beautifully captures the rich colors and textures of the island’s natural setting and foreshadows Benton’s transition to nature as his primary subject matter, one that would occupy him for the last two decades of his life. The upcoming sales mark the first time the painting will appear at auction.
Among the numerous sculptural treasures in Mr. Goldberg’s collection, a stand-out is Duck, a marble sculpture by Elie Nadelman (1882-1946) executed in 1932-36 (pictured right; estimate: $180,000-240,000). Purging the sculpture of nearly all surface detail, Nadelman reduced the duck’s body to a closed, sinuous form with