Highlights in upcoming Fine Art auction Modern & Contemporary

Trendy pine furniture, spatial textile art, and one fine print collection to rule them all – the upcoming edition of Modern & Contemporary at Stockholms Auktionsverk offers some of the finest objects on the market. The Fine Art auction will be held on November 13-14th at Nybrogatan 32 in Stockholm and will also be available for online bidding. The viewing runs from November 7-12th, and the catalog is now published online. But now, Victoria Svederberg, Head of Art Department, and Ulrika Ruding, Head of Works of Art Department, can present some of their selected highlights.

An influential Swedish furniture architect who has been on the receiving end of some lively bidding in recent years is Axel Einar Hjorth, who is also represented in the catalogue. With, among other things, a truly magnificent cabinet that has special provenance from a clear breaking point in Hjorth’s career – he was employed as the Nordic Company’s chief architect between the years 1927-and 1938 and then left his position to start his own shop. The creation of the bar cabinet in question can be dated to that particular time period.

“If you look closely at the back of the cabinet, you can see the branding AH Hjorth, but you also notice small screw holes where the NK signature tray was once mounted. The original plate was probably removed, and the surface stamped with Hjorth’s personal mark, to emphasize that the cabinet and its masterful craftsmanship was performed under his own company”, says Ulrika Ruding.

In Finland, a completely different chapter in Scandinavian design history was taking place at the same time – for the Paris International World’s Fair 1937, Alvar Aalto designed his “900 tea trolley” for the Finnish furniture manufacturer Artek. Whose well-balanced bentwood construction with its softly sweeping lines became an instant classic, the serving trolley that will be auctioned off in Modern & Contemporary is an early version made in the 1940s and covered in a very unusual kind of tile.

The woven wallpaper “Pappillon de Nuit” lands somewhere between craft and art; with its two meters in width, the textile sculpture leaves no viewer untouched. Magdalena Abakanowicz was one of the brightest stars of the contemporary art scene, whose works have a large number of loyal collectors. An innovative textile pioneer on the international art scene in the 1960s, she became known for her use of unconventional materials such as hemp and sisal, as well as her sculptural, spatial and monumental works of art. Today, she has had more than 40 solo exhibitions around the world, most recently at the Tate Modern in London.

Another rare object that will now go under the hammer is Poul Kjaerholm’s “PK III” room divider. The stylized screens were designed back in 1956 and the first versions were made for the designer’s private home.

“This piece is very unique for its design, and this is an early example that is rarely seen at auction. The screen is made in 12 separate sections of Oregon pine and can be divided according to taste; with its organic shape, it can light up any room and become a sculpture in the space”, says Ulrika Ruding.

Pablo Picasso is represented in both departments, with the dish “Poisson chiné” in Works of Art but also with several signatures in the art collection that has been given its own theme within the auction; A Private Collection – Fine prints. A graphic collection of international excellence, with works ranging from the late 15th century to the 1970s, including Pablo Picasso’s lithograph “Tête de Jeune Fille” and the spectacular etching “Eva Mudocci-Masque” by Henri Matisse. The latter is a rare portrait from 1915 that is only described in two known copies, of which this is probably a third hitherto unknown. The artist himself has dedicated the etching to Eva Mudocci. And these are just two of the highlights of this remarkable collection. Discover the collection in its entirety in its separate catalog.

While in the world of graphic art, the auction also includes two works of Andy Warhol’s famously pop-cultural silkscreen prints in color – “Mao” and “Tomato-Beef Noodle O’s”. Both signed with a ballpoint pen, custom to the iconic artist and his avant-garde methods.

“For the fall edition of Modern & Contemporary, the art department can see a high quality and wide variety. Especially among the international signatures that represent some very exciting works, including a newly discovered work by modernist Francis Newton Souza that has never been on the market before”, says Victoria Svederberg.

The work “Landscape with Crows” by Indian artist Francis Newton Souza was born in the Portuguese colony of Goa and became one of India’s most influential modern artists. As a young man, he left his homeland for London, hoping to find a more liberal audience, and after a few years in the British capital, he managed to establish himself as one of the most interesting artists on the art scene with his first solo exhibition. He experimented with a variety of styles and expressions during his long career, but it is for his strongly figurative paintings, with bold black lines in London in the 1950s and 60s that he is best known, and ‘Landscape with Crows’ is a typical example.

“Another interesting work is “270 Water street (Warehouse)” by Barbro Östlihn. It was done right at the major turning point of her artistic career, where she went from painting the facades of houses with representational elements to painting completely abstract and graphic. This work also has family provenance and was part of the recently completed traveling exhibition ‘New York Imprint’”, says Victoria Svederberg.

One of the most memorable highlights of the Eclectic & Decorative auction in October was a painting by Estonian artist Endel Köks, who now has two new works in Modern & Contemporary – “Loving Couple” and another untitled work. Another interesting portrait comes in the form of French artist Marie Vassilieff’s painting “Portrait d’une Parisienne”, which was bought directly from the artist in the 1930s and then passed down within the same family. And while we are among the French titles, we should not miss the sculpture “Les deux soeurs” signed by Gudmar Olovson, one of the greatest sculptors of our time. Despite his anonymity in his native country Sweden, Olovson won the highest esteem and countless awards in France, where he went on a study trip after graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts and stayed until his death in 2017.

Belgian artist Pierre Alechinsky also worked in France for most of his artistic career, where his work is associated with tachism, abstract expressionism and lyrical abstraction. The work “Jour de sortie/The Day of Destiny”, which will go under the hammer at Stockholm Auktionsverk, will be registered as number 634 in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné.

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