Final curtain for the Petiet prints
No bids online or by telephone. You will have to travel to Paris in person if you hope to acquire any of the (very) fine prints from the collection of Henri Marie Petiet (1894-1980) by leading names in modern art, including Toulouse-Lautrec (see photo), Matisse, Gauguin and Marie Laurencin. It has taken 49 sales so far, since 1991, to disperse the illustrious contents collected by the Paris dealer, famous in both France and the US – where he advised several key curators and collectors, like Lessing Julius Rosenwald. Staged by Ader with a tremendous fanfare (in the literal sense, because the auction will be accompanied by musical interludes), this 50th, and very last sale, is notably proposing a set of 100 plates from the "Suite Vollard", engraved and signed by Picasso and estimated at €1.2 million. Henri Petiet acquired several series after the accidental death of Ambroise Vollard in 1939. But the "Suite" was not published, and thus not signed. And that's when Petiet came up with a masterstroke: he offered Picasso hard cash to add his signature to them. This was a partial success, as Picasso ended this "contract" in 1969, after Petiet refused to offer Picasso’s wife with a set of her own. This mythological ensemble in neoclassical style, where the Minotaur makes his first appearance and meets the painter's young mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter, in the studio, will have to seek its fellows in various museums. London's British Museum acquired a complete set in 2011, thus joining Washington's National Gallery, New York's Museum of Modern Art and Paris's Musée Picasso in a small and highly exclusive club.