The Creuzevaults Chose Ernst, Picasso and Richier

On 27 November 2020, by Anne Doridou-Heim

This avant-garde father and daughter shared a passion for contemporary art and made dazzlingly successful choices.

Max Ernst (1891-1976), Forêt, 1927, oil on canvas, 65 x 81 cm.
Result: €3,277,552

The second part of the sale of Colette Creuzevault’s collection, featured in issue 38 of the Gazette, totaled €3,277,552—200% more than the low estimate. If the €2,582,164 from the first session are added, the overall result is €5,859,716. This sale again confirms the wisdom of Henri Creuzevault’s avant-garde choices, which his daughter Colette shared with the same passion.
The moon casts its glow on Forêt (Forest) by Max Ernst (1891-1976), an oil-on-canvas (see photo) that is historic in more ways than one. First of all, it ranks among the earliest examples of the rubbing technique Ernst developed. Secondly, it belongs to the beginnings of Surrealism. Last but not least, it recalls Creuzevault’s connections and unwavering commitment to trailblazing modern artists by holding exhibitions (Ernst in 1958 for example) at his gallery and buying their works for his private collection. Creuzevault had a keen eye: the €1,346,200 fetched by this work, glimmering with a dark inner light, confirms his judgment. So do the €266,700 for a more classic drawing by Picasso; €381,000 for a Germaine Richier bronze; €196,850 for a bronze cast of César’s Thumb; and €92,000 for a Matta painting. Creuzevault said that the 20th century belonged to sculpture. Another of his qualities was daring to put that medium on an equal footing with painting in his gallery at a time when many people considered it a second-rate art form.
 

Dated "9.1.71", Tête de Pierrot (Pierrot’s Head, 31.9 x 22.4 cm/approx. 12.56 x 8.82 in) by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), in black and color
Dated "9.1.71", Tête de Pierrot (Pierrot’s Head, 31.9 x 22.4 cm/approx. 12.56 x 8.82 in) by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), in black and color felt-tip pen on grey cardboard highlighted with white chalk, fetched €266,700. The vibrant drawing illustrates an aspect of the 1970s art market: the connections and mutual respect between dealers, for it was exhibited at the Louise Leiris gallery, a must at the time.
© SUCCESSION PICASSO, 2020
The Creuzevaults’ relationship with sculptor Germaine Richier (1902-1959) is well known and has already been the focus of articles in thes

The Creuzevaults’ relationship with sculptor Germaine Richier (1902-1959) is well known and has already been the focus of articles in these pages, notably during the first sale on December 11, 2019, which featured several of her pieces. This time, a 1946 bronze proof with a brown patina numbered 4/6 fetched €381,000. La Vierge folle (The Foolish Virgin, h. 133 cm/approx. 52.37 in) is one of Richier’s few depictions of a human figure. It dates from the same period, when she broke with classical influences to go her own way.

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