'Shimmering' Cezanne to heat up art auction, Christie's says

A "shimmering" Paul Cezanne painting of the Mediterranean with a castle in the background is expected to attract the big-money buyers at a February auction that includes works by Modigliani, Giacometti and Picasso, Christie's says.

The Cezanne work, "Vue sur L'Estaque et Le Chateau d'If", which was painted by the artist in 1883-85 from an apartment overlooking Marseille harbor, will be auctioned on Feb. 4.

"This is a spectacular image, it's got the heat of the south of France, it's got the shimmering quality of Cezanne," Jay Vincze, head of Impressionist and Modern art at Christie's London, said.

The work of art comes from the collection of the late British industrialist Samuel Courtauld and is estimated at 8-12 million pounds ($12.6-$18.9 million), Christie's said, adding that the work is on display at its London showroom through Dec. 23.

With Cezanne's "The Card Players" generally ranked as the most expensive painting ever sold at auction, with an unconfirmed but widely reported price of $250 million, the landscape is certain to spark huge interest, Vincze said.

Much of the demand seen in auction rooms has been from Asian buyers, eager to snap up works by masters such as Cezanne, Van Gogh or Monet.

The Cezanne should have strong appeal because it is rare for one of the works that he painted in his Estaque apartment to come to market.

Christie's had announced previously that its February sale would consist in part of the collection of an unnamed "European collector" that includes works by Modigliani, Miro, Magritte, Delvaux, Picasso, Moore, Fontana and others.

A Francis Bacon "Seated Figure (Red Cardinal)" from the same collection was sold in New York in November for $45 million, Christie's said.

 

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