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Fourth Sale of the Kahn Collection: Old Masters, 19th-Century Books and Surrealism

On 03 December 2021, by Claire Papon

Before it closes in the first half of 2022, the Kahn library will be providing a fourth chapter full of discoveries, with Old Masters and books, manuscripts, photographs, drawings, paintings and collages from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Fourth Sale of the Kahn Collection: Old Masters, 19th-Century Books and Surrealism

Marcel Jean (1900-1993), Le Spectre du gardénia, 1936, bust, flocking on plaster, zipper, roll of film and suede, artist's copy 1/1 of the 1971 edition, h. 35 cm/13.8 in.
Estimate: €15,000/20,000

"A Thousand Nights of Dreams," the title given to this collection after Paul Éluard's poem "Balance," follow one another with varying degrees of similarity. Begun on November 7, 2019, the sale focused on Dadaist and Surrealist works. This new session was generous in this sphere, of course, but also left room for some Old Master paintings and 19th-century authors. A rarity in bibliophily, a paperback copy of the first edition (25 copies) of Alvare (Paris, 1818)—the only novel by Aimée de Coigny, Duchesse de Fleury and the model for La Jeune Captive immortalized by André Chénier—is expected to fetch €6,000/8,000, while the autograph manuscript of L'Écornifleur (The Scrounger, c. 1892) by Jules Renard, which was used for the print run and includes passages that were later deleted, should fetch €4,000/6,000. €8,000/12,000 are expected for a copy of the first edition of Le Lys dans la vallée (The Lily of the Valley, Paris, 1836) given by Balzac to Alfred Nettement, one of his very few supporters during the court case he brought against the Revue de Paris.

An album of twelve cyanotypes by John Banting (1931-1932) follows in the wake of Max Ernst and Man Ray (€6,000/8,000), while cadavres exquis, decals in butterfly form and first editions of André Breton rub shoulders with a letter from Salvador Dalí of 1933-1934, submitting to a "dear friend" (probably Breton) the scenario of a Surrealist show of which he sketched three scenes, one inspired by Millet's The Angelus (€20,000/25,000). A painting by Esteban Francés, Brote (Epidemic), from 1938, evokes the rot at the heart of Franco's Spain and the disasters of the war (€3,000/4,000). Marcel Jean's Le Spectre du gardénia (The Specter of the Gardenia: see photo), created for the 1936 exhibition at the Charles Ratton Gallery, evokes the role of the Surrealists' fellow traveler. This copy from the 1971 edition belonged to the artist, from whom Jean-Paul Kahn bought it.
 

In the 1880s, Le Douanier Rousseau painted this Paysage romain ou vue fantaisiste (Roman Landscape or Imaginary View) (32.5 x 40.5 cm/12.6

In the 1880s, Le Douanier Rousseau painted this Paysage romain ou vue fantaisiste (Roman Landscape or Imaginary View) (32.5 x 40.5 cm/12.6 x 15.7 in, €15,000/20,000), combining a medieval castle and an antique temple. It features precise draftsmanship, somewhat stiffly laid-out buildings and play on the curved arches of the bridges and dungeons. As to where the artist set up his easel, that is anyone's guess: perhaps in his native town (Laval) or in front of a Roman view by a master in the Louvre, where he worked as a platemaker. He was nicknamed "the amazing Rousseau" by André Breton, as the Surrealists saw him as a precursor.

€10,000/15,000 are expected for this first illustrated edition of Transparents (Alès, 1967, quarto in sheets) by René Char, from an editio

€10,000/15,000 are expected for this first illustrated edition of Transparents (Alès, 1967, quarto in sheets) by René Char, from an edition of 60 copies on Rives vellum signed by the publisher and the artist Pablo Picasso, who produced four full-page cartalegraphies for the book. Developed by the publisher Pierre-André Benoit in 1959, this technique involved printed cardboard cutouts—here telluric masks. This single copy comes with 54 cartalegraphy proofs (including La Tête de cheval, reserved for deluxe edition copies), three signed by Picasso.


Diego Rivera (1886-1957) created this linocut printed in red on buff paper (66.5 x 91 cm/26 x 35.8 in). The Communicating Vases was produc

Diego Rivera (1886-1957) created this linocut printed in red on buff paper (66.5 x 91 cm/26 x 35.8 in). The Communicating Vases was produced in Mexico City in 1938 and published in an edition of 50 based on a gouache from the same year, which belonged to André Breton for a long time and is now in the Centre Pompidou. The print was made by Rivera for reproduction on a poster advertising a talk given by Nadja's author in Mexico. This copy, expected to fetch €12,000/15,000, belonged to Benjamin Péret.

This painting, by the circle of Cornelis Van Dalem (c. 1530-1573), depicts The Legend of the Baker of Eecklo (49 x 66 cm/19.3 x 26 in), wh

This painting, by the circle of Cornelis Van Dalem (c. 1530-1573), depicts The Legend of the Baker of Eecklo (49 x 66 cm/19.3 x 26 in), which was popular in the Netherlands in the 16th century. According to this tale, those who were dissatisfied with their appearance or wanted to reverse the effects of time could go to the baker in this Flemish city to have a new head made. The panel here (€20,000/25,000) depicts the operations performed by the assistants. They had to cut off their customers' heads, rub them with a magic oil, place them on a tray and put them in the oven—while green cabbages, symbolizing fecundity, replaced the decapitated heads, waiting for the originals fresh out of the oven to be sewn back onto the bodies!

MILLE NUITS DE REVE - Collection Geneviève & Jean-Paul Kahn IV
Friday 10 December 2021 - 14:00 (CET) - Live
Salle 5 - Hôtel Drouot - 75009
Pierre Bergé & Associés
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