'Shimmering' Cezanne to heat up art auction, Christie's says

Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:53pm EST
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By Michael Roddy

LONDON (Reuters) - A "shimmering" Paul Cezanne painting of the Mediterranean with a castle in the background is expected to attract the big-money buyers at a February auction that includes works by Modigliani, Giacometti and Picasso, Christie's said on Wednesday.

The Cezanne work, "Vue sur L'Estaque et Le Chateau d'If", which he painted in 1883-85 from an apartment overlooking Marseille harbour, will be auctioned on Feb. 4.

"This is a spectacular image, it's got the heat of the south of France, it's got the shimmering quality of Cezanne," Jay Vincze, head of Impressionist and Modern art at Christie's London, said.

The canvas comes from the collection of the late British industrialist Samuel Courtauld and is estimated at 8-12 million pounds ($12.6-$18.9 million), Christie's said, adding that the work is on display at its London showroom through Dec. 23.

With Cezanne's "The Card Players" generally ranked as the most expensive painting ever sold, with an unconfirmed but widely reported price of $250 million, the landscape is certain to spark huge interest, Vincze said.

"There's a lot of demand out there for the best of the best," he said, noting that the market had greatly expanded beyond the traditional buyers in Europe and the United States.

Much of the demand seen in auction rooms has been from Asian buyers, eager to snap up works by masters such as Cezanne, Van Gogh or Monet.

The Cezanne should have strong appeal because it is rare for one of the works that he painted in his Estaque apartment to come to market.   Continued...

A Christie's staff member poses for a photograph next to "Vue sur L'Estaque et Le Chateau d'If" by Paul Cezanne in London December 17, 2014.  REUTERS/Paul Hackett