26 September 2017PRESS RELEASE
Phillips to Offer Works by Picasso and Matisse from The Collection of Anne Marie Aberbach and Rock & Roll Publisher Julian J. Aberbach
Four Master Drawings to be Sold on 16 November in the Evening Sale of 20th Century & Contemporary Art in New York
NEW YORK - 26 SEPTEMBER 2017 – Phillips is proud to announce the sale of works from the collection of Anne Marie Aberbach and music publisher Julian J. Aberbach this season. Best known as the founder of Hill and Range, the music publishing business that helped propel many stars such as Elvis Presley to international fame, Julian J. Aberbach and his wife Anne Marie formed a remarkable collection of impressionist and modern art. With notable provenance, the four master drawings by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse will be offered at auction in Phillips’ 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York on 16 November 2017.
Hugues Joffre, Senior Advisor to the CEO, said, “Phillips is honored to have been trusted with the sale of these exquisite exhibition drawings from the estate of Anne Marie Aberbach. Her husband Julian J. Aberbach helped to define 20th century culture through his work in bringing some of the most iconic musicians to the fore. The Aberbachs acquired works of art with equally discerning taste and these four important drawings are a testament to their informed eye for the best of modern art.”
About the Works of Art
An engaging image of lyrical calm and beauty, Henri Matisse’s Jeune fille dormant à la blouse roumaine dates from 20 December 1939. This picture shows a sleeping Lydia Delektorskaya, Matisse’s studio assistant, secretary and Muse, who wears a Romanian blouse with embroidered sleeves, which appeared in a number of Matisse’s works. Jeune fille dormant à la blouse roumaine relates to Matisse’s 1940 masterpiece Le rêve, a work which he revered so much that, when he was about to undergo an operation, he considered bequeathing it to Paris; it remained for a long time in his own collection. That painting was completed towards the end of 1940, the culmination of a long artistic journey in which the present drawing was one of the first steps. It was formerly in the collection of Fernand Graindorge, a prominent collector and philanthropist, and was exhibited at the Kunsthalle in Basel in 1954, shortly before Matisse’s death.
Henri Matisse’s Jeune fille accoudée, executed in 1938, shows one of the motifs that preoccupied the artist repeatedly during his career and in particular in the late 1930s: that of the seated woman. The present work likely depicts Russian émigré Princess Hélène Galitzine. It relates to a group of drawings that Matisse made as he explored the subject matter that he would use in the upper portion of Le chant, the fireplace decoration he created for Nelson A. Rockefeller’s apartment in New York. Le chant was commissioned by Rockefeller to decorate his triplex apartment in New York. Matisse had a full-scale model of the fireplace made up, around which he could work in the new apartment at the former Hôtel Régina, in Cimiez. He turned his rooms in the Régina into a make-believe realm. Plants, carpets, art and furniture combined to create a space that echoed salons, harems and artists’ studios all at once. It was within its generous spaces that Matisse conjured the bucolic, elegant world glimpsed in Jeune fille accoudée. This drawing was also formerly owned by Fernand Graindorge.
Portrait de femme endormie. III is an intimate portrait by Pablo Picasso of his partner Françoise Gilot sleeping. This picture has been dated twice by the artist – with one inscription pointing to the last day of October and the other to the first of November 1946. The work was created while Picasso and Gilot were staying in Antibes, a particularly fruitful period when he was able to create in the large spaces at Château Grimaldi. Filled with a passion for the Mediterranean, for Françoise and for these exciting new pastures, he filled the château with pictures, plunging into a lyrical world of mythological creatures. Looking at Picasso’s work during this time, his enthusiasm is quite apparent. This was a period of immense relief and celebration in the wake of WWII. At the same time, Picasso was living publicly with Françoise. There is a close parallel between Portrait de femme endormie. III and Picasso’s images from a decade and a half earlier, showing his then lover Marie-Thérèse Walter sleeping. However, in Portrait de femme endormie. III the intimacy is that of a stolen moment, with Picasso watching on admiringly while his tired partner sleeps.
Executed nearly 30 years prior, in 1920, Picasso’s Deux nus depicts two nude figures standing together, statuesque and poised. This picture dates from the height of Picasso’s involvement with the ballet, and the women stand with the assurance of the dancers who so intrigued him. This drawing also reveals the increasing interest in classical culture that had been whetted by Picasso’s trip to Italy three years earlier. It is a tribute to the quality and importance of Deux nus that it was formerly in the collection of Dr. Gottlieb Friedrich Reber, one of the greatest patrons of Cubism, who owned a dazzling array of Picasso’s works – he would lend almost twenty paintings to the artist’s first museum exhibition at the Kunsthaus Zürich in 1932. Before Reber acquired Deux nus, it passed through the hands of the legendary art dealer Paul Rosenberg. It was only a couple of years before the picture was created that Picasso and Rosenberg had come to a formal agreement, with the dealer given first choice of the artist’s works, a mark of distinction for Deux nus.
About the Collectors Julian J. Aberbach, born in 1909, and his brother Joachim, or Jean, were the sons of a successful Jewish jeweller in Vienna. By the 1930s, the brothers had relocated to Paris and entered the music business, forming their own company. After selling their company, the brothers made their way to the United States. Julian served as an officer in the US military during the Second World War, helping command the Free French forces. During his time in the army, he had spent time in the South; developing an ear for country music, he intended to enter that world from a business perspective. He went on to Los Angeles and founded his legendary company, Hill and Range. He and his brother worked with stars ranging from Johnny Cash to Elvis Presley to Edith Piaf and helped create or publish hits as varied as Frosty the Snowman, I Walk the Line, and Love me Tender.
While in Paris, chance brought Julian and his wife Anne Marie together, when he asked her for help choosing lottery numbers, eventually attempting to ask her out for a meal. This was the beginning of a swift romance and a successful half-century-long marriage. Both remained very attached to France, and Julian was even awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour.
As early as the 1950s, Julian had begun to collect pictures by various artists, not least on his regular trips to Europe. In this, he was often assisted by Anne Marie, their collection an equal reflection of both their tastes. Julian and Anne Marie, along with Jean, went on to acquire significant and acclaimed works. Many works by artists ranging from Francis Bacon to Fernando Botero, from Ellsworth Kelly to Willem de Kooning, and from Henri Rousseau to Georges Rouault were donated by the families to a wide-ranging number of institutions, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Berkeley Art Museum, the Hood Museum, and the Rose Art Museum.
Auction: Thursday, 16 November 2017, 5pm EST
Public Exhibition: 27 September -6 October in London | 3 - 14 November in New York
Auction Location: 450 Park Avenue, New York
Phillips is a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st century art and design. With dedicated expertise in the areas of 20th Century and Contemporary Art, Design, Photographs, Editions, Watches, and Jewelry, Phillips offers professional services and advice on all aspects of collecting. Auctions and exhibitions are held at salerooms in New York, London, Geneva, and Hong Kong, while clients are further served through representative offices based throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Phillips also offers an online auction platform accessible anywhere in the world. In addition to providing selling and buying opportunities through auction, Phillips brokers private sales and offers assistance with appraisals, valuations, and other financial services. Visit www.phillips.com for further information.
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.
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