Christie’s is honoured to announce that The Collection of Maurice and Vivienne Wohl will be offered at the London sales of Impressionist and Modern Art on 4 and 5 February 2008, as well as at the sales of 20th Century British Art and of 19th Century Art in June and July respectively. This impeccable collection of 35 works, by artists ranging from Camille Pissarro to Barbara Hepworth, includes superb paintings by Kees van Dongen and Alexej von Jawlensky and is being sold to raise funds for The Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Philanthropic Foundation.

Passionately assembled by philanthropists Maurice and Vivienne Wohl over 40 years, the collection is estimated to fetch in excess of £12 million.

“It is a great honour for Christie’s to have been entrusted with the sale of this significant collection to benefit the charitable endeavours of The Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Philanthropic Foundation. Maurice and Vivenne Wohl were dedicated collectors and assembled a very impressive collection, covering a range of categories but particularly focussed on works by Nabi, Fauve and Expressionist artists The market will doubtless rise to the occasion.” says Olivier Camu, Head of Impressionist & Modern Art at Christie’s London.

Maurice Wohl (1917-2007) was a highly successful property developer in post-war London, who became equally well-known for the deep generosity of his philanthropic activity in Britain and Israel. Under the banner of the United Real Property Trust, which was floated on the stock market in 1961, Maurice Wohl pioneered the concept of dynamic, ultra-modern office buildings in post-war London, with business interests quickly spreading overseas. His retirement in the mid-1970s allowed him to focus on the charitable endeavours that would eventually see him recognised with awards such as the Médaille de la Ville de Paris in 1988 and Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1992, various honorary doctorates, including a degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa from the Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan in 2001, and fellowships, including his election as Presentation Fellow of King’s College, London in 1992 and the title of Honorary Fellow of the City of Jerusalem in 1998, and elected positions including the Presidency of the Great Synagogue in Jerusalem from March 1987.

Art had always been of interest to Maurice Wohl, as demonstrated by his commissions of works by artists, such as Barbara Hepworth, for his building projects. However, it was really after his 1966 marriage to Vivienne Horowitz (1945-2005) that his own collection began to grow. Despite her young years, Vivienne had already developed an impressive eye, and along with her husband, began to acquire the high quality works of art that constitute the
collection being presented for sale at Christie’s.

The main focus of the collection is on artists using bold colours, such as Nabi, Fauve and Expressionist artists. The energy injected into these works is perhaps most vividly seen in two paintings by Kees van Dongen (1877-1968) painted five years apart. The vibrant Anita aux fleurs, 1905 (estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000) dates from the highpoint of Fauvism and shows a Parisian dancer who was the artist’s muse, model and perhaps his lover. The theme of women, Van Dongen’s favourite subject, is also celebrated through the use of rich and dense colours in L’Ouled Naïl, 1910 (estimate: £2,000,000-3,000,000), a depiction of a beautiful Ouled Nail dancer from Algeria.

Russian artist Alexej von Jawlensky’s (1864-1941) Hélène, 1911 (estimate: £1,700,000-2,500,000), a portrait of the woman who would later become his wife, dates from what he claimed was the greatest year of his career. The picture is filled with a strong combination of colours, perfectly demonstrating the vast advances that Jawlensky himself perceived in his own work in Spring 1911. These advances are also evident in his painting of a young girl with a red bow, Mädchen mit roter Schleife, from the same date (estimate: £1,800,000-2,500,000).

Further highlights include Chaïm Soutine’s (1893-1943) boldly executed La forêt, circa 1918 (estimate: £350,000-550,000), Emil Nolde’s (1867-1956) beautiful Clematis, 1944 (estimate: £600,000-800,000) and Camille Pissarro’s (1830-1903) La route de Louveciennes, 1872 (estimate: £350,000-550,000). Other artists represented in the sale of the collection include Pierre Bonnard, Eugène Boudin, Raoul Dufy, Edouard Vuillard, Ossip Zadkine, Barbara Hepworth and Norbert Goenuette amongst others.

It is fitting that this collection of pictures and sculptures so lovingly assembled by the couple is being sold to raise funds for the philanthropic foundation that bears their name and was o close to their hearts. The Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation, established in 1965, and The Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Philanthropic Foundation, established more recently, are channels through which a vast number of institutions and organisations have come to benefit, many of which were founded as well as funded by the Wohls, resulting in a whole range of rooms, buildings, gardens and other facilities, especially in London and Israel that bear their name. These include medical facilities at the Hammersmith Hospital and the King’s College School of Medicine and Dentistry; the Synagogue at Lady Sarah Cohen House, a nursing dementia care centre for the elderly run by Jewish Care in North London; the purchase of ambulances and equipment for Hatzola, the London based emergency medical aid charity; the Wohl Room at the National Gallery, London; and the central court at the Royal Academy. In Jerusalem there is the 19 acre Wohl Rose Park overlooking the Knesset, the Shaare Zedek Medical Centre and the Wohl Archaeological Museum in the Herodian Quarter, and in Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv the conference centre at Bar Ilan University designed by the celebrated architect Daniel Liebeskind.