Mirror mirror on the wallOn maart 23, 2019 by Gwen
Le Collier Rose III, Théo Van Rysselberghe, 1908 Oil on canvas, 73,5 x 60 cm Estimated €180.000 – 240.000 Hammer price €280.000 (€341.600 Buyer’s premium included)
Identification and research
I saw this painting at the viewing days of auction house De Vuyst for their sale of Contemporary, Modern and Old Masters on 2nd March.
Van Rysselberghe as neo-impressionist was a pioneer for pointillisme in Belgium, inspired by Seurat. Pointillisme responded to his need for order and structure. Nevertheless he knew how to combine this technical aspect with his curiosity in human nature, that came to expression in his preference for portraits. In Le Collier Rose III his technique is more relax as we can notice in the elongated brush strokes. This work is situated in a period of great production in which he took up the challenge with the subject of a (semi)-nude woman looking in the mirror. Between 1907 and 1908 he made at least five works of this same model in almost the same position. Van Rysselberghe also made drawings and prints but he is best known for his oil paintings. Le Collier Rose III (Siska) is oil on canvas and therefore more valuable. However, at auctions the highest prices are not for his portraits but for his pure pointillistic paintings of harbors. L’Escaut en amont d’Anvers was sold for £8.4mio at Sotheby’s in 2017
The work is dated (19)08 in the right corner. Next to the date we find his monogram VR, confirmed as his signature in the first monograph of 1993 for the exhibition in Museum voor Schone Kunsten at Ghent.
Le Collier Rose III also appears on the cover of the catalogue raisonné of Ronald Feltkamp of 2003. This work will be included in the catalogue raisonné in preparation by Olivier Bertrand, member of the Syndicat National Français des Experts Professionnels en Oeuvres d’Art. Mister Bertrand delivered a photo-certificate for this work.
The work has been exhibited worldwide and the stamps of these exhibitions are at the back. After being part of a collection in the Netherlands, the painting moved to different collections in the United States among which W.J. Holliday’s neo-impressionistic collection in Indianapolis. Van Rysselberghe pointillized works were popular in the United States, just like the paintings of other Pointillists.
At first sight I couldn’t detect any flaws. I’ve asked the auction house for a condition report but haven’t received it until now.
The combination of these favorable factors drove the auction price above the estimated.
Search for comparables
It wasn’t easy to find a good comparable. Searching through Artnet & Invaluable I couldn’t find much public information. In the catalogue raisonné (via google books) I detected that Le Collier Rose II from 1907 was last sold at De Vuyst in 1995, no price mentioned.
Apparently Van Rysselberghe destroyed some of his paintings and maybe that is one of the reasons I couldn’t find more information on the other works. I’ve requested Olivier Bertrand for more information but didn’t receive any reaction yet.
More recently, in 2016, Le Ruban écarlate from 1906 was sold for $1.452.500 at Sotheby’s. In the catalogue raisonné by Feltkamp this work is recognized as the most beautiful in the serie of nude in mirror, which explains the higher result in comparison with Le Collier Rose III.
A better comparable is Femme au Miroir from 1906, estimated for auction at Sotheby’s in 2014 between £180.000 – 250.000 (€208.000 – 289.000).
It has the same size: 73 x 60 cm Executed in the same periode: 1906 Same material: oil on canvas Same subject of that period: semi-nude looking in the mirror Same quality by using elongated brushstrokes.
I presume the painting wasn’t sold at auction because the hammer price wasn’t mentioned but it gives a comparable for determining value. My conclusion is that the estimated price for Le Collier Rose III was logical and confirmed by the hammer price.
Sources 1. Catalogue Raisonné by Ronald Feltkamp 2. Olivier Bertrand 3. Femme au miroir 4. Monograph Théo Van Rysselberghe, 1993 by Robert Hoozee and Helke Lauwaert (Pandora) 5. Le Ruban écarlate 6. De Vuyst auction house
Comment by Emily Thompson, instructor for Sotheby’s Institute of Art She has over 18 years of experience appraising fine art, with specializations including Post-War and Contemporary; Impressionist and Modern Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture. 19th Century European Paintings, American Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture and Vintage Posters. Ms. Thompson has valued thousands of artworks for purposes including charitable contribution, estate tax, collateral loan valuation and equitable distribution as a senior fine art appraiser at international appraisal firms including Gurr Johns, Int. and as Fine Art Specialist at Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance and its subsidiary art advisory firm, Fine Art Asset Management, LLC. At Fine Art Asset Management, Ms. Thompson routinely works with collectors and their fiduciaries to generate USPAP compliant appraisal documents for submission to the IRS.
Hi Gwendolina, terrific write up, I’m thrilled with how you first did some hard research on the subject work, literature, exhibition and catalogue raisonne references – this is very important with older works and any time that authenticity may be difficult to confirm. The catalogue raisonne can be such a useful tool, but also so important to establishing value. Excellent job as well analyzing the different comparable sales, particularly the quality and complexity and how the each compare (both Le Ruban ecarlate, which realied $1.4MM – a better picture – and Femme au Miroir, which bought in at EURO 208-289K – an inferior composition) A further option would be to search for gallery or retail prices, another arm of valuation research. Great jobEmily Thompson, 18 mrt op 19:2
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