An auction lit up by the talents of Marc Chagall, Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann and Tamara de Lempicka
Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Les Amoureux au soleil orange (Lovers with Orange Sun), 1980, Indian ink wash, pastel and watercolor, 76 x 56 cm/29.9 x 22.04 in).
Throughout his long life, Marc Chagall (1887-1985) drew on reminiscences of a youth spent in Belarus, particularly Vitebsk, conjuring up images and memories in his works. For instance, we see the recurring motifs of the rooster, the donkey and the farm in this Indian ink wash, watercolor and pastel from 1980, which fetched €327,076. The couple was also an essential element in his work and, with Les Amoureux au soleil orange (Lovers with Orange Sun), he limned a fresh ode to love: a theme that guided him from the moment he met Bella Rosenfeld, his wife, muse, inspiration, partner—and passion. The young writer, whom he met in 1909 and married in 1915, inhabited his paintings throughout their life together and long after her death in 1944. Bella had a pale complexion and extraordinarily "large, round, black eyes", he wrote in 1922, recalling the first time he met her, adding "they are my eyes, my soul". An eternal icon, she takes wing in the skies of his dream-like compositions and imbues them with beauty. Today, she fascinates collectors.
Likewise, their desire for pieces by Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann (1879-1933) is as intense as ever. A table lamp from 1922-1923 in silvered bronze (h. 60 cm/23.6 in, dia. 37 cm/14.5 in) by the designer shone out with a bid of €113,100. Its bead curtain lampshade with a spherical body and bead molding evokes the skirts of the Ballets Russes dancers—but while these dancers twirled to the sound of the balalaika, here the model undulates to the vibrations of the light.
The afternoon was devoted to 20th-century art. Here, an aquatint print of Femme à la mandoline (Woman with Mandolin) (63 x 41 cm/24.8 x 16.1 in) by Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980) garnered €36,400, while €40,300 went to a graphite drawing by Pierre Klossowski (1905-2001) titled Milady et le bourreau de Lille (Milady and the Executioner of Lille) (137 x 74 cm/53.9 x 29.1 in), dating from 1957. Women, whether artist or subject, were certainly much in evidence at this sale.