Elizabeth Taylor's collection of Van Gogh, Pissarro and Degas masterpieces set to smash 9m estimate as they go under the hammer tonight
Elizabeth Taylor was an avid art collector, inspired by her art dealer father
Three masterpieces from the late Elizabeth Taylor's personal art collection are to be sold at auction this evening.
Among the haul to go under the hammer at Christie's London are a 7m Van Gogh, a 1.2m Pissarro and a Degas worth up to half a million that once hung on the walls of the star's Hollywood mansion.
The oil paintings, to be offered as part of Christie's Impressionists and Modern Art sale, are some of the most valuable among the late star's extensive collection, of which Van Gogh's Vue de L'Asile de la Chapelle de Saint-Rmy, painted in 1889 in
Saint-Rmy, is the jewel in the crown.
Camille Pissarro's Pommiers ragny,
signed and dated C.Pissarro.94, will also feature tonight, with an estimate of
900k to 1.2m.
The third is to be Degas's Autoportrait, painted in
1857-1858, and with an estimate of 350,000 to 450,000.
Given the provenance of the paintings, the estimates by Christie's look to be on the conservative side.
Past auctions of Taylor's possessions have seen prices skyrocket beyond their given estimates, driven by
global interest in the Hollywood icon.
A sale in December last year of the star's jewellery, clothing and decorative art far exceeded the estimated value, fetching 103m at Christie's New York.
Vincent Van Gogh's The Vue de l’Asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Rmy has an estimate of 5m to 7m, and is one of the top lots from Elizabeth Taylor's personal art collection
Camille Pissarro's Pommiers ragny, signed and dated 'C.Pissarro.94', has an estimate of 900k to 1.2m
Left, Autoportrait by Edgar Degas (1834-1917). Stamped with signature 'Degas'. Oil on canvas.
Painted in 1857-1858. Estimate: 350,000 to 450,000. Right, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), Buste de femme en costume oriental. Signed 'Renoir'. Oil on canvas. Painted circa 1895. Estimate 180,000 to 250,000
A further 35 works of art are to be auctioned off at sales held at Christie's London tomorrow (8 February), divided between two sales, Impressionists and Modern Works
on Paper Sale, and Impressionists and Modern Day Sale.
Among their number are paintings by such
masters as Mir, Renoir and Magritte – and many by celebrated British artist Augustus John,
including Poppet in Black Hat, which is a painting John did of his daughter.
Taylor's enduring passion for art is
thanks in part to her father Francis Taylor, an esteemed art dealer
who had an art gallery on London's Old Bond St.
John's Portrait of Poppet in Black Hat is one of a clutch of John
paintings in Taylor's collection, offered in the Impressionist and
Modern Art Day Sale tomorrow, 8 February. Estimate 40,000 to 60,000
Two works by Bla Kdr (1877-1956). Left, Seated Nude, estimated value 2,500 to 3,500. Right, femme assise dans un fauteuil. Gouache on paper. Executed in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Estimate 2,500 to 3,500
Paul Delvaux (1897-1994) Le nu et le mannequin (Le nu au mannequin), signed and dated 'P.Delvaux 12-47'. Oil on canvas. Painted in December 1947. Estimate 2m – 3m
From an early age, he instilled a deep appreciation of the arts into his daughter, who went on to freely indulge in her passion, particularly for impressionist and modern art, when she was financially independent.
Mr Taylor was in fact close friends with Augustus John, and bought the Taylor's family home in Hampstead (where Elizabeth Taylor was born in 1932) from the Welsh artist.
When they moved in, many of John's works still hung on the walls. Elizabeth went on to inherit these works from her father.
At the start of the Second World
World War, Mr Taylor transferred his family and business to California,
setting up shop in the Beverly Hills Hotel where celebrities such as
Greta Garbo, Vincent Price and Hedda Hopper invested in works for their
Mr Taylor continued to stay in touch with Augustus John after
moving to the U.S., acting as his American agent, and corresponded with him frequently, in one letter referring to Elizabeth Taylor's shining Hollywood debt.
Painting Poem by Joan Mir (1893-1983) – 'le corps de ma brune puisque je l'aime comme ma chatte habille en vert salade comme de la grle c'est pareil'. Signed and dated Mir.1925. Oil on canvas. Painted in 1925. Estimate 6m to 9m
Bla Kdr's Figures with horses, painted in the late 1930s or early 1940s. Estimate 2,500 to 3,500
In a missive marked 25 June 1943,
Francis Taylor wrote to Augustus John: 'We have settled down to living
in California and our young daughter is
by way of being a movie star, if you see a picture of Lassie Come Home
which will be released in September, she is in that.
'Also she may get
the lead part in National Velvet. Even if you are not a movie fan see
the Lassie picture it is in colour and is beautiful'
Giovanna Bertazzoni, International
Specialist Head of Impressionist and Modern Art, at Christie's, said:
'Elizabeth Taylor was as passionate about buying art as she was jewels.
'Advised by her father, Francis
Taylor, who was a very successful art dealer, she bought extensively in
the 1960s, concentrating on the names of the zeitgeist: Van Gogh, Degas,
Renoir, Utrillo, Rouault.
'She was careful to purchase pieces
that were as eye-catching as the marvellous Van Gogh, as well as more
demanding and academic works such as the Degas self-portrait.
'Having grown up surrounded by fine
art and surrounded by her own canvases until the end of her life, this
collection of paintings was very important to Miss Taylor and provides
collectors with not only a very interesting insight into the icon
herself, but also an exciting opportunity to acquire important works by
leading Impressionist and Modern artists.'
Elizabeth Taylor, left, with her art dealer father Francis Taylor and mother Sara
Marc Porter, the Chairman and
President of Christie's Americas, extended the invitation of The
Elizabeth Taylor Trust – to Miss Taylor’s many admirers in Europe – to
visit the complete group of pictures to be sold from her collection,
allowing many to view the works for the first time over the past week. The viewing ends today.
The auction of the art will bring to an end the sale of items from the Elizabeth Taylor estate.
The majority of the Taylor Collection
went under the hammer at Christie's New York in December last year,
when the sale of a dazzling array of Taylor's possessions fetched a
staggering 103m, far exceeding Christie's pre-sale expectations.
Bidders across the world bought up every one of the 1,778 lots of jewellery, clothing, decorative arts and film memorabilia.
For more information, please visit christies.com for more information.