Pick of the week
The ‘Modern’ in the collection was represented by several small sculptures of heads, including a bronze of Dalí by Arno Breker (£21,250) and several by Pablo Gargallo (1881–1934).
One of the bestknown photographs by Man Ray is Le Violon d’ingres, a woman’s back suggesting one of Ingres’s bathers, but marked with the f-holes of a violin. The model whose curvaceous back it was was Kiki, the Queen of Montparnasse, who had been born illegitimate and in poverty as Alice Prin in 1901 and became the spirit of hedonistic Paris in the 1920s. A nightclub singer, actress, writer and painter, she was model and muse to dozens of Montparnasse artists, including Soutine, Picabia, Cocteau, Breker, Gargallo, Calder and Kisling as well as Man Ray.
Her philosophy was simple: ‘All I need is an onion, a bit of bread, and a bottle of red; and I will always find somebody to offer me that.’
Perhaps more famous than her back was her bob, which enthused sculptors at the time and might well have inspired Mary Quant and Vidal Sassoon in the 1960s and, along with her black stockings and garters, Liza Minnelli in Cabaret.
In 1953, she succumbed to drink and drugs. Her funeral, in Montparnasse, naturally, was as much an artistic and social event as her life and she is fittingly commemorated in the daylily Kiki de Montparnasse.
Gargallo’s 103 ∕8in-high bronze with gold-patina head is flattened and simplified, as with a portrait drawing by Matisse or a Fougasse cartoon. Essentially, it is one eye, half a nose and mouth—and the bob. The example in the collection was cast before 1930 (above). It sold for £341,000 against a £120,000 estimate. Another example is in the Louvre. course, a cardoon, is dated 1625 and shows his mastery of composition, light, shade and texture.
Antiquity in the collection was best represented by a late-4thcentury-bc Apulian red-figure volute krater (Fig 3) and a pair of 3rd-century-bc Etruscan figures also probably from southern Italy. The 28in-high krater, attributed to a decorator known as the Ganymede Painter, showed figures bearing offerings, in one case, a goose. It made £25,000, well over estimate.
Fig 3: Late-4th century-bc 28in red-figure volute krater by the Ganymede Painter. £25,000
Fig 5: A 10th-century Umayyad marble capital from Madinataz-zahra. £47,500