Long-Lost Art Works For Sotheby's

The Wall Street Journal reports that a treasure trove of art masterpieces by Cézanne, Picasso and other major artists of the 19th and 20th centuries are going on sale in June, after disappearing during World War II and later being discovered in a Société Générale vault. The art collection, valued at about £17 million is set be sold by Sotheby's at auctions in London and Paris. According to Sotheby's, the art collection had been hastily deposited at Société Générale in 1940 by Erich Slomovic, a Yugoslavian, before he fled Paris to escape the Nazis. Slomovic, who was Jewish, was killed by the Nazis in 1942, leaving the collection at the bank. Sotheby's said the works were in Mr. Slomovic's hands on consignment from Ambroise Vollard, the prominent Parisian dealer who gave Picasso his first exhibition in 1901. The trove had remained forgotten and untouched for 40 years until 1979 when Société Générale realized it was owed decades of unpaid storage fees. Under French law, it was permitted to open the vault and sell any contents to recoup the debt. Inside, the bank found paintings, prints, books and drawings by some of art history's foremost artists. Since the collection's discovery, it has remained hidden from public view due to legal challenges by the distant heirs of both Slomovic and Vollard. Following the resolution of the legal dispute in 2006, the proceeds of the sale will go to the heirs of Vollard. Helena Newman, vice chairman of Impressionist & Modern Art Worldwide at Sotheby's, described it as an "extraordinary collection" giving a glimpse into the world of a legendary dealer. The trove includes more than 140 paintings, prints, books and drawings by key artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection will be displayed at Sotheby's in London (June 16-22) and in Paris (June 24-29). Among the jewels are André Derain's Arbres à Collioure, which is estimated to break the artist's record and sell for £14 million. Painted in 1905, in the coastal town of Collioure in the South of France where Derain and Matisse spent the summer working together, it is the Fauve artist's most important work ever to come to auction and reflects the influence of the intensely bright Mediterranean light. Other important works include Paul Cézanne's Portrait d'Émile Zola, an oil on canvas, estimated at £725,000. For full source and full article click the Headline. Irish Art