Three first-rate works dazzled at this auction, starting with a watercolor by the American Impressionist.
Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Françoise Sewing (n°2), 1908, signed watercolor, 49 x 34.5 cm (19.29 x 13.50 in).
This intimate scene is well known from its definitive version on canvas, numbered 538 in Adelyn Dohme Breeskin’s 1970 catalogue raisonné. Dated 1908, this preparatory watercolor, Françoise Sewing (n°2) fetched €37,080, nearly doubling its high estimate. Cassatt typically featured quiet, domestic scenes, women and young children. Here, she painted one of her favorite models, a little girl named Françoise sewing. At the other end of the spectrum, Femme nue de dos (Nude Woman from Behind) depicts the sultry Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980). It was painted on canvas in around 1921 (51 x 25.5 cm, 20.07 x 10.03 in), glued to a panel and signed "T. De Lempitzki" on the lower right. The work comes with a certificate of authenticity by Alain Blondel dated June 11, 2010. The stylized composition fetched €27,192. The third-highest price, €8,300, was for Allégorie de la richesse (Allegory of Wealth), a painting on copper (69 x 85.6 cm, 27.16 x 33.7 in) attributed to an anonymous artist of the Antwerp school. It skillfully stages symbols of this fragile life and earthly goods—overturned silverware and a soap bubble—in a beautiful openwork, gilded, carved wood period frame.