Kees Van Dongen Revived and Revalued – artmarketblog.com

 Kees Van Dongen Revived and Revalued   artmarketblog.com

KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968) Le narrateur et Albert Bloch à la maison close avec le cachet de l'atelier 'Van Dongen' (en bas à droite) aquarelle, gouache et traces de mine de plomb sur papier 24.5 x 21.2 cm. (9 5/8 x 8 3/8 in.) Exécuté vers 1946-47

The first major retrospective held in North America of work by Dutch born French artist Kees Van Dongen (1877-1968) was held at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from the January 22 to April 19. This event is sure to have played a part in the exceptional results achieved by Christie’s for a collection of works by Van Dongen sold on the 20th of May as part of the Art Impressionniste Et Modern sale held in Paris. A total of ten watercolour paintings by Van Dongen were included in the sale the most interesting of which were eight works originally from the Proust collection which depict various different street and scenes of high society. Each of these scenes were painted by Van Dongen as illustrations for a famous book by French author Marcel Proust titled ‘A la recherche du Temps perdu’ (In Search of Lost Time). A total of 77 watercolours were painted by Van Dongen for the book which is a memoir/autobiographical novel that consists of seven volumes and a total of around 3200 pages. Making these paintings even more desirable is the fact that, according to Christie’s, they will be all included in the forthcoming Kees Van Dongen catalogue raisonne being prepared by Jacques Chalom Des Cordes under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute. It is noted in the catalogue that an attestion of inclusion will be given to the buyer of each work.

Each of the eight illustrations by Van Dongen for the book by Proust had estimates of either €25,000 – 35,000 or €20,000-30,000. The least successful of the paintings still managed to exceed the estimate of €25,000 – €35,000 selling for €49,000 and the most successful of the paintings sold for more than five times the €30,000 high estimate reaching an amazing €163,000. According to Christie’s the main buyers were American and European collectors. The results for all eight works were as follows:

Lot 41, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)Le narrateur et Albert Bloch à la maison close
estimate: €25,000 – €35,000
price realized €121,000 ($165,029)

Lot 42, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)Gilberte Swann et des amies au Bois de Boulogne
estimate: €25,000 – €35,000
price realized: €139,000 ($189,579)

Lot 43, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)Les Permissionnaires
estimate: €20,000 – €30,000
price realized: €163,000 ($222,312)

Lot 44, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)La nouvelle Gilberte
estimate: €25,000 – €35,000
price realized: €151,000 ($205,945)

Lot 45, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)Le Mariage de Robert de Saint-Loup et de Gilberte Swann
estimate: €25,000 – €35,000
price realized: €49,000 ($66,830)

Lot 46, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)Le Baron Charlus à la gare de Doncières
estimate: €20,000 – €30,000
price realized: €109,000 ($148,663)

Lot 47, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)Le narrateur avec deux servantes
estimate: €20,000 – €30,000
price realized €61,000 ($83,196)

Lot 48, Sale 5563, Paris
KEES VAN DONGEN (1877-1968)Robert de Saint-Loup et le Prince de Borodino chez le barbier de Doncières
estimate: €20,000 – €30,000
price realized: €85,000 ($115,930)

The major retrospective just held in Canada and the catalogue raisonne of his work that is in the process of being completed are all major milestones for the Van Dongen and his work. As one would expect, the market has reacted positively to these major milestones as well as the highly desirable provenance and also the connection with author Marcel Proust and his book ‘A la recherche du Temps perdu’. Kees Van Dongen was a highly regarded artist during his career but has been somewhat overlooked since his death. Consequently, Van Dongen is an underrated and undervalued artist whose work is only just starting to receive the recognition that it deserves.

 Kees Van Dongen Revived and Revalued   artmarketblog.com**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.comt Kees Van Dongen Revived and Revalued   artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

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