Christie’s announce the forthcoming sale of Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints, which will be held on Wednesday, 19 March 2014, and is set to attract buyers and collectors from around the world. The sale offers a vibrant and varied range of works from the late 15th century to the present day by many of the most important printmakers of the Western canon, including: old masters Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt; expressionists Edvard Munch, Otto Dix and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner; modern greats Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Joan Miró as well as post-war giants Francis Bacon and Andy Warhol, amongst many others. Offering 228 works, the sale is expected to realise in the region of £4 million. In addition, Christie’s auction of James Ensor Prints: The Mira Jacob Collection will take place on the morning of 19 March 2014, offering one of the most comprehensive groups of the artist’s graphic oeuvre in private hands (please click here for separate James Ensor Prints: The Mira Jacob Collection release).

The sale is led by an important lithograph The Sick Child I, 1896, by Norwegian master Edvard Munch (1863-1944) (estimate: £200,000 – 300,000, illustrated above). Offered from a private collection, this extraordinary work is a moving testament to Munch’s traumatic childhood experience of the death of his mother in 1868, followed by that of his elder sister in 1877.

Also included in this private collection are two rare impressions of Munch’s woodcut masterpieces Moonlight I, 1896 (estimate: £180,000 – 250,000, illustrated right) and Woman’s Head against the Shore, 1899 (estimate: £120,000 – 180,000). Evocative of Munch’s great themes of existential loneliness and melancholy, both pieces are also outstanding examples of his inventiveness as a printmaker and his expressive use of the woodcut technique. In addition to works by Munch, the sale also includes a fine selection of German Expressionist prints by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Otto Mueller, Franz Marc and Otto Dix.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) is well represented in the Modern section of the sale which is led by his monumental Torse de Femme (L’Egyptienne), 1953 (estimate: £80,000 – 120,000, illustrated left). This elegant and highly stylized portrait of François Gilot, Picasso’s wife at the time, is one of Picasso’s largest and most ambitious etchings. The title L’Egyptienne was coined at the time by Picasso’s printers in the Lacouriére workshop because of Gilot’s hairstyle which resembles an Egyptian headdress. A large variety of plates from the artist’s most famous series La Suite Vollard are also featured, including a proof on vellum of Le Repos du Sculpteur devant un centaure et une femme, 1933 (estimate: £20,000 – 30,000), and the beautiful Faune devoilant une Femme, 1936 (estimate: £50,000 – 70,000). The Picasso section concludes with a fine selection of linocuts, including Tête de Femme (Jacqueline au Chapeau noir), 1962 (estimate: £40,000 – 60,000); a portrait of Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s last wife and muse.

The Old Master section of the sale is exemplified by a stunning collection of five etchings by Rembrandt (1606-1669) from the Estate of the Late Lillian Honor Lewis, which includes some of his most famous etchings, most notably The Three Trees, 1643 (estimate: £150,000-250,000, illustrated right) and Landscape with a Cottage and a Hay Barn, 1641 (estimate: £50,000- 70,000), as well as a superb, first state impression of Jan Lutma, Goldsmith, 1656, on China paper (estimate: £100,000 – 150,000).

Highlights by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) include The Prodigal Son, circa 1496 (estimate £30,000 – 50,000), an early and much loved subject; and a fine impression of Nemesis, circa 1501 (estimate £50,000 – 70,000) amongst other important subjects such as Melencolia I, 1514 (estimate £40,000 – 60,000) and Adam and Eve, 1504 (estimate £60,000 – 80,000).