A private collection – Fine prints

Stockholms Auktionsverk proudly presents an important collection of very fine prints, that spans almost 500 years, from the late 15th century to the 1970s, but with an emphasis on 20th century prints.

Some of the prints were already purchased during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Through preserved notes and records, we learn that the majority of purchases were made from established galleries in Stockholm, such as; Galerie PierreGalerie BlancheSvensk-Franska Konstgalleriet and Agnes Widlund’s Konstsalongen Samlaren. Among some of the international provenances we find Galerie Berggruen and Galerie Simon in Paris, as well as Craddock & Barnard in London.

The collector himself also had a small gallery business for some time, which certainly contributed to a large network and plenty of opportunities to acquire today highly sought after prints.

For a collector, the most spectacular print is perhaps the etching Eva Mudocci-Masque, by Henri Matisse (Duthuit 65). This rare portrait from 1915 is only described in two known copies, of which this is probably a third hitherto unknown copy. The artist himself has written a dedication to, for her time, famous and celebrated violinist Eva Mudocci, also once the mistress of Edvard Munch.

The earliest contribution, from the gifted hand of Pablo Picasso to the collection, is a female portrait, Tête de Femme, de profil (Bloch 6) from the famous La Suite des Saltimbanques, dating to 1905. The large and important lithograph Tête de Jeune Fille (Bloch 423) depicts a young Françoise Gilot, and is a fine example of the lithographs that were produced at the famous printing shop of Fernand Mourlot in Paris. Picasso had the first lithographs printed there in 1945, and in the following years he produced some of the most beautiful lithographic portraits of Françoise.

A majority of the prints in the collection are printed in black and white, but with a few exceptions, such as Fumeur à la Cigarette Blanche (Bloch 1169), a colourful aquatint that Picasso executed in 1964. This particular copy has exceptionally well-preserved colors, since it been stored for a long time, and so not exposed to day-light.

We are also given a rare opportunity to follow Marc Chagall’s work with the illustrations for La Bible, through several etchings where the same motif is represented with trial proofs, from many different states along the working process. Here we can see how the image develops, and it is truly a fine opportunity to study his work in detail. On a proof from an early state of Anne invoque l’Éternel (Sorlier 256), Chagall etched a self-portrait at the the lower part of the plate, a portrait which then disappears in later states, when the plate is cut down.

The major part of the collection consist of prints from the 20th century. There are several works by Miró, including his first lithograph – Lithographie I, from 1930 (Mourlot 1), Chagall, Picasso and Matisse, but also works by Rouault, Léger, Giacometti, Soulage, Laurens, Delaunay, Heckel, Grosz, Kollwitz among others.

Old master prints are not so well represented in the collection, but still you find the names of some of the most well-known artists in history – Cranach, Dürer, Rembrandt, Delacroix, Manet and Corot.

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