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    Andre Derain – Madame Matisse au kimono courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd., 2013. (Click on image to enlarge).

    A portrait by André Derain of Madame Matisse will highlight Christie’s sale of Impressionist and Modern Art in New York on May 8.  Madame Matisse au kimono, a high fauve masterpiece, is estimated at $15-20 million. It is the most important portrait by Derain ever to appear at auction.  The painting is from the summer of 1905 when Derain and Matisse embarked on a frenzy of painting in Collioure that would change the course of modern art.  Derain painted Amélie Matisse in August 1905 prior to the  Salon d’Automne exhibition, when fauvism exploded.  The work has been in a private European collection for the past 40 years.

    Derain depicts Amélie in the elegant, patterned Japanese kimono which she often wore and in which she was painted by her husband, as well as several of his other fauve colleagues. The abstracted background of greens and reds serves to heighten the imposing presence of the sitter, and calls to mind the same colors that Matisse used in in the background of his famous portrait of Mme Matisse, La Raie Verte, painted in September 1905, and now in the Copenhagen Staatens Museum for Kunst.

    UPDATE:  The work failed to attract a single bid and was unsold in an auction which generated $158.5 million.  The top lot was  Le Petit Patisier by  Chaim Soutine which made just over $18 milion.  A total of 44 out of 47 lots on offer found buyers.

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