Sotheby’s to Auction Property from the Collection of Dodie Rosekrans

Sotheby’s has announced that it will offer Property from the Collection of Dodie Rosekrans in a series of auctions in New York through January 2012. Mrs. Rosekrans was an influential figure in San Francisco, Paris and Venice, known for her considerable charitable work, trendsetting style and patronage of both the fine and decorative arts.

Her Collection is highlighted by a group of works from Pablo Picasso’s most prolific periods–led by Couple à la guitare from 1970 (est. $10/15 million*)–as well as two iconic Round Jackie paintings by Andy Warhol from 1964 (ests. $3/4 million each), which will be offered in Sotheby’s May 2011 Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale and Contemporary Art Evening Auction respectively. In total, works from the Collection are estimated at more than $30 million.

Dodie Rosekrans
A celebrated philanthropist, style icon and collector, Dodie Rosekrans was known internationally both for her sense of adventure and unfailingly generous spirit. A trailblazer and trendsetter in fashion, the arts and society, she made a name for herself in each of the cities in which she lived with her late husband John Rosekrans: San Francisco–where she was born to Michael Naify, founder of the movie chain that became United Artists Communications–Paris and Venice. Mr. and Mrs. Rosekrans’s charitable contributions were numerous, highlighted by their efforts to support the museums of San Francisco and Paris, the latter of which earned Mrs. Rosekrans France’s Légion d’Honneur.

“Dodie was simply blessed with a great eye,” commented Charles Moffett, Sotheby’s Vice Chairman. “Her eclectic tastes and interests were not bounded by strictures, regulations, or other people’s values. She could always discern what was special, lively, and lovely, often in the most idiosyncratic ways. Whether collecting couture, Old Master, Modern or Contemporary paintings, decorative arts, or jewelry, the common threads were freshness, character, and, above all, quality.”

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale – 3 May 2011
Crowning the Collection is a spectacular group of paintings by Pablo Picasso from three distinct periods. Couple à la guitare from 1970 is a monumental and poignant depiction of lovers, a dominant subject during the artist’s final years (pictured above, est. $10/15 million). Painted when Picasso was 88, the male figure serenades his lover as his limbs intertwine with hers, underscoring the physical melding of the two bodies into one unified form. As is often the case in Picasso’s late work, the female figure is a reference to his wife Jacqueline, and the male figure to the artist himself.

Picasso’s Femme from 1930 is among the most powerful images from a small series known as the “Bone” pictures, inspired by 16th century anatomical drawings (est. $3/5 million). The painting is one of the most loaded compositions of Picasso’s Surrealist production: a terrifyingly fantastic evocation of his wife, Olga. By sharp contrast, Fillette aux nattes et au chapeau vert from 1956 is an intimate and tender portrait of Picasso’s daughter, Paloma, executed when she was seven years old and the artist was 74 (est. $3.5/5 million). Unlike his depictions of his son Paolo from the 1920s or daughter Maya from the 1930s, Picasso’s many paintings and drawings of Paloma and her older brother, Claude, from the 1950s reveal the easy familiarity he shared with his two youngest children.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction – 10 May 2011
The Contemporary art on offer in May is highlighted by two Round Jackie paintings by Andy Warhol; tour de force renditions of one of the artist’s most poignant meditations on public and private persona (ests. $3/4 million each). Along with Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy was one of Warhol’s most important muses, whose glamorous images and tragic lives perfectly suited two of his most enduring themes: the vagaries of celebrity and the inevitability of death and disaster. The present two works are among the finest screens from a series of eight tondo portraits of Mrs. Kennedy, which are considered to be the artist’s first paintings of the First Lady on the day of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The Rosekrans Collection offers both variations from this series: Jackie’s cheerful face as she and JFK arrive at Love Field airport, and a smiling Jackie in the motorcade just prior to the tragic shots.

In addition to the Round Jackie paintings, the contemporary art in the Collection is highlighted by a significant group of works by Jean Dubuffet created from 1945-54, a critical period in the artist’s oeuvre. Dubuffet began painting in earnest at the end of World War II, and his Mirabolus Blanc from 1945/46 is an excellent example of the figurative works that dominated his early career (est. $500/700,000). The artist here created his own medium, applying oil, tar, stones and other found materials to the canvas and carving the central figure from this new surface. Fellow members of the literary and artist circles of Paris were often the subject of these early works, as is the case in Portrait de Édith Boissonnas from 1947 (est. $600/800,000). Le Boiseux from 1954 illustrates the evolution of Dubuffet’s figures towards a more anonymous and abstracted style, a key theme of his subsequent works in the 1960s and 70s (est. $400/600,000).

Property from the Collection of Dodie Rosekrans – 8 December 2011
Fine and decorative arts from the Collection will comprise a single-owner lifestyle sale in December 2011. The furniture and decorations on offer come from Mrs. Rosekrans’s San Francisco town house–designed by Michael Taylor–as well as her ‘Indian Jewel Box’ apartment in Paris and palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice–both designed by Tony Duquette. The works cover a wide range of geographies and styles, from Asian, American Indian and Pre-Columbian art to Italian, French and English furniture, reflecting Mrs. Rosekrans’s ever-evolving curiosity about the world. Having only filled her homes with objects she truly loved, she assembled a Collection very much encompassing the tastes, trends and interests for which she was well known.

Additional Sales
Property from the Collection of Dodie Rosekrans will be offered in a number of additional auctions at Sotheby’s New York in 2011 and 2012. The cover lot of the 8 December auction of Antiquities will be A Marble Head of Zeus Ammon, Roman Imperial, circa 120-160 A.D., one of the most striking and sensitively-carved known representations of the tutelary deity of Alexander the Great (est. $800,000/1.2 million). Also on offer in December will be a selection of jewelry from the Rosekrans Collection, as part of the Magnificent Jewels auction. In January 2012, works from the Collection will highlight the sales of Important Old Master Paintings & Sculpture and Important Old Master Drawings, led by an incredibly rare and important 15th century panel painting by Fra Bartolomeo. Works by this pivotal figure of the Florentine High Renaissance are very scarce on the market and Saint Jerome in the Wilderness is one of only a handful to ever appear on the auction market.

Image: Pablo Picasso, Couple à la guitare, 1970. Est. $10/15 million. Photo: Sotheby’s

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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