Home Magazine The Gaston Lévy Collection...

As we all know Sotheby's London will start the year with an important David Hockney's masterpiece. But the contemporary art evening it's only an event among many important auctions that will constellate this 2020 at Sotheby's.

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On February 4th, 2020 at London headquarter, Sotheby's evening sale which is dedicated to Impressionists and Modern Art will include three works recently given back to Gaston Lévy's heirs. Highly successful businessman and real estate developer, Lévy lived in Paris with his family in a beautiful apartment on Avenue de Friedland, full of books, paintings and works of art, many of them purchased between the 1920s and 1930s by big merchants of his time, including Bernheim-Jeune, Paul Durand-Ruel and Ambroise Vollard.

“These exceptional works are truly a testament to two great artist’s persistent and ultimately triumphant attempts to break new boundaries in art – with every inch on their canvases a, there is a  highly-finished kaleidoscope of a perfectly chosen colour. Their history also paints a compelling picture of the realities of restitution, and we look forward to being part of the next step in their journey.” says Thomas Boyd-Bowman, Head of Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sales in London.


Lévy's art collection was dispersed under Nazi occupation and two of the works that will be offered in February were lost in October 1940 during the Einsatztab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (an organization dedicated to the reception of looted cultural property). After the war, the works were repatriated to France, and the French government after having kept for a long time these masterpieces at Musée d'Orsay in Paris has restored all to Lévy's heirs. 

Gelée Blanche, jeune paysanne aisant du feu by Camille Pissarro, will be the first painting at auction and is among the greatest examples of pointillism ever created: a work in which the effects of both heat and cold and the complexities of light and atmosphere are rendered with incredible precision. The masterpiece could reach £ 12 million.


Camille Pissaro, Gelée, Jeune Paysanne Faisant Du Feu, 1888, oil on canvas, 92.8 by 92.5CM. (EST. £8,000,000 – 12,000,000)  


Paul Signac, Quai de Clichy. Temps Gris, 1887, oil on canvas, 46 by 65.5cm. (EST. £600,000 – 800,000) 


This is followed by La Corne d’Or. Matin, painted by Paul Signac in 1907, when for the first time the artist travelled around Istanbul in the spring of the same year. In this ethereal work, the city skyline is easily recognizable in the background, with the famous minarets of the Hagia Sophia.

Then, the third work of Lévy collection to go up for auction is another Paul Signac titled "Quai de Clichy. Temps Gris" (1887). An elegant pointillist vision of the Quai de Clichy, a classic example of Signac's Opus images: paintings that he considered "complete compositions" which are now seen as his first and greatest contributions to neo-impressionism. The work could sell for 800 thousand pounds.

Read more on Sotheby's 

Cover image: Paul Signac, La Corne D'or. Martin, 1907, oil on canvas, 73 by 92 cm (EST. £5,000,000 – 7,000,000). 

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