About 60 prints, paintings, drawings, books, autographs and objets d'art together with traditional African and Asian art from the collection of Lucie Scheler and her father Lucien are coming up for auction.
Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), Portrait de Nusch Éluard, ink wash, 1937, 44.5 x 28.7 cm/17.52 x 11.30 in.
© SUCCESSION PICASSO, PARIS, ADAGP, 2023
Only part of Lucien Scheler’s collection was sold at auction on December 18 and 19, 2000 (Piasa, Hôtel Drouot). Scheler (1902–1999) was an erudite bookseller with a shop on rue de Tournon in Paris, a poet close to Paul Éluard, and an eminent specialist on the Paris Commune and Jules Vallès. The rest of the collection, offered here, was kept by his daughter. The sale’s most hotly contested item will undoubtedly be Pablo Picasso’s legendary Portrait de Nusch Éluard (see photo). Dated August 3, 1937, it recalls the close ties between the Spanish artist, Dora Maar, Lee Miller, Roland Penrose, Nusch Éluard (born Maria Benz in Mulhouse in 1906), Man Ray and Adrienne Fidelin, known as Ady, Man Ray's model and Guadeloupean muse, who spent their summers together in the South of France. A photographic portrait of Nusch by Man Ray also attests to their friendship (€5,000/6,000). Salvador Dalí drew a profile of Sigmund Freud (black pencil with ink highlights) at almost the same time that he visited the psychiatrist, to whom Stefan Zweig introduced him in London in 1938 (€20,000/30,000). A black pencil self-portrait of Antonin Artaud, probably annotated by his friend Éluard (€40,000/60,000), is from around 1925.
A copy of Les Chants de Maldoror (The Songs of Maldoror) by comte de Lautréamont is one of the most beautiful works illustrated by Dalí (42 etchings, Paris, 1934, €20,000/30,000). A first edition of Stéphane Mallarmé’s translation of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems features a drawing and a dedication from the Symbolist poet to his muse Méry Laurent (Brussels, 1888, €8,000/12,000).