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  • Provenance

    Maurice Loncle, Paris, inkstamp (Lugt 3489)
    '57' inkstamp in red
    Sotheby & Co., London, Important 19th Century and Modern Prints, November 20, 1973, lot 261 (original invoice)

  • Literature

    Wolfgang Wittrock 167
    Loys Deteil 178
    Götz Adriani 187
    Jean Adhémar 212

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Karshan Collection encapsulates an exceptional odyssey of collecting, one that spans over 50 years and two continents. Living between London and New York, Howard Karshan together with his wife Linda, the distinguished artist, assembled one of the most significant collections of modern and post-war works on paper. A true ode to the intimacy and unique sensibility of drawing, the works within this collection perfectly encapsulate the transatlantic life led by Howard and his wife Linda, comprising examples by some of the greatest European and American masters known today; from Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock and Sam Francis, to Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke, Walter de Maria and Brice Marden.

    Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1933, Howard Karshan studied philosophy and law at New York University before embarking upon a successful career as a film rights negotiator at CBS, Viacom, MGM and Turner. It was in the early 1960s that he discovered his true passion, catching the “bug for collecting”, as he described it, when he was assigned to work for CBS in Paris in 1962. Guided by a close friend with a background in art, Howard spent much of his time in Paris going to museums, meeting dealers and learning more about art history. He met his wife Linda for the first time travelling from England to New York on the transatlantic ocean liner SS France; Linda coincidentally catching his attention because she was reading a Henri Matisse catalogue.

    A fine art and art history student at the time, Linda was crucial in guiding Howard in his journey of studying and collecting art. From his initial love of the great modern French masters his tastes grew to encompass a range of periods and styles. Following first acquisitions of a work by Alberto Giacometti and a Cycladic idol sculpture, Howard built with great care, passion and study one of the most renowned collections of modern and post-war works on paper that was not only of art historical importance, but also one that shaped the family’s life.

    In many ways, the Karshan Collection is a tale of two cities. Living between New York City and London, Howard became intimately acquainted with the art scene on both sides of the Atlantic. A true connoisseur with a curatorial sensibility, Howard pursued an in-depth approach to collecting that focused on acquiring work by select artists from their best periods. On the one hand, he built a superb collection of post-war European art, specifically German, which includes works by Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Georg Baselitz, Blinky Palermo, as well as Lucio Fontana and Jean Dubuffet. On the other hand, he acquired representative works by some of the most significant American artists of the time, such as Agnes Martin, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre, Robert Smithson, Raymond Pettibon, and Wayne Thiebaud.

    A labor of love, the Karshan Collection was not just one to be lived with, but also one to be shared to a wider public by way of exhibition loans and generous gifts to institutions such as the British Museum, London, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, among others. A true philanthropist, Howard also pursued his commitment and passion for art on an institutional level; he notably held the position of the Head of Patrons of New Art at the Tate, London, in which function he crucially initiated the Acquisitions Committee and was also selected to be on the Jury for the Turner Prize in 1992.

    Phillips Editions is honored to be offering lots 1, 38-41 in the Evening sale and 285-289 in the Day session from the Karshan Collection. Additional works will be sold in November - 20th Century Art Day sale in New York, December - New Now sale in London and March 2019 - New Now sale in New York.

    As a collector or a curator it is always good to hear positive comments about a new acquisition, but if that praise comes from someone whose taste and judgement one rates then it is really special. For me and my colleague, Stephen Coppel, in the British Museum’s Prints and Drawings Department, one such person was Howard Karshan. Hugo Chapman, The Simon Sainsbury Keeper of Prints & Drawings, The British Museum



    Of the three impressions on silk, Wittrock records one in the collection of the Boston Public Library, one sold Christie's, London, December 2, 1982, lot 278, and this impression based on a receipt in the Karshan records.

    Debauchery was used as the cover image for publisher A. Arnould’s June 1896 sale of posters created by both French and international artists, which was a comprehensive look at the market during the height of the French poster craze.

    Below, Lautrec is photographed on the left alongside the painter-printmaker Maxime Dethomas, the male figure in Débauche. A friend of the artist, Dethomas was known by Lautrec as Grosnabre (the big tree) and was considered a gentle giant, polite and discreet, despite his accompanying Lautrec to various Parisian brothels. In Débauche, Lautrec invoked a humorous dichotomy and depicted a contrast of dispositions between his friend: the keenly interested client, and his paramour: the bored, anonymous prostitute.

A Tale of Two Cities: Property from The Estate of Howard Karshan

1

Débauche (deuxième planche)

1896
Crayon, brush and spatter lithograph in three colors, on silk (backed to fabric), the second (final) state.
I. 9 1/2 x 12 5/8 in. (24 x 32 cm)
S. 16 1/8 x 20 1/2 in. (41 x 52 cm)

Signed in sanguine crayon, one of only four known proofs, three of which were on silk (before the numbered edition of 50, there was also a second edition of 100 with text, published by Arnould, Paris), framed.

Estimate
$25,000 - 35,000 

Contact Specialist
Kelly Troester
Worldwide Co-Head of Editions, Modern
+1 212 940 1221
[email protected]

Cary Leibowitz
Worldwide Co-Head of Editions, Contemporary
+1 212 940 1222
[email protected]

Kip Eischen
Specialist
+1 212 940 1332
[email protected]

General Inquiries
+1 212 940 1220

Evening & Day Editions

New York Auction 17 October 2018