ARTCURIAL Painting: Marcel Duchamp, “Nu sur nu” 1910-1911
PARIS Estimate 500 000-700 000 Euro
Monday, 6th June,
From Friday 3rd June 2016
To Sunday 5th June 2016
A NATIONAL TREASURE AT AUCTION FOR
N.G.O. MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES (M.S.F.)
Paris – On June 6th 2016, during the prestigious Impressionist and Modern art sale, Artcurial will put up a national treasure for auction: the famous oil painting on panel, Nu sur nu by Marcel Duchamp (estimate : 500 000 – 700 000 €/ 555 000 – 775 000 $). The work, offered by N.G.O. Médecins sans frontières in order to finance humanitarian aid, was previously left to the association by ancestors of the renowned art publisher Arnold Fawcus, a close friend of Marcel Duchamp. The painting is key to understanding Marcel Duchamp’s work and was recently shown at the Centre Pompidou at the monographic exhibition dedicated to the painter in 2014.
The last owner of this work was Arnold Fawcus. He was born in India to an English father and American mother. He studied at Trinity College and then Cambridge where he carried out a degree in art history. His passion for art pushed him to create a publishing company in France in 1946 with Pierre Bordas initially and then alone under the name, ‘Trianon Press’. The first publications include works by Marc Chagall accurately reproduced.
It was in France that Arnold Fawcus met Marcel Duchamp. They soon became friends and the art book editor suggested collaborating on several projects including the first monograph dedicated to the artist published in 1959. They continued to work together on several occasions. The painting Nu sur nu is the symbol of their friendship. It was acquired directly from the wife of collector, Henri-Pierre Roche’s by Arnold Fawcus who kept it until he passed away. Arnold Fawcus’ ancestors donated the painting to Médecins sans frontières.
Today, Médecins sans frontières is putting the painting up for auction in order to finance humanitarian aid. Under the charity’s governance it is stated that donated works must be sold in order to further develop resources and programmes. MSF chose an auction and Artcurial to obtain the best possible price for this important work.
In certain conditions, acquiring a national treasure by an individual or a company allows tax benefits.
ABOUT THE PAINTING
The Nu sur nu was constructed around two major ideas : appearance and nudity which are also present in the cubist “Nu descendant l’escalier” (1912).
“The piece Nu sur nu represents an important step in the evolution of Marcel Duchamp’s work. It was painted just months before the famous Nu descendant l’escalier (1912), a cubic work which was celebrated at the Armory Show in New York the following year. At this time, he moved away from fauvism and was influence by symbolism. Being classed as a national treasure is an additional mark of quality for this painting which is already quite remarkable due to its provenance.” explains Bruno Jaubert, Director of the Impressionist and Modern art department at Artcurial.
The public has been able to see the work on several occasions. It has been part of the most important retrospectives of the artist including : ‘The almost complete works of Marcel Duchamp’at the Tate Gallery in London in 1966, ‘Marcel Duchamp’ at the MoMA in New York and at the Art Institute in Chicago in 1973-1974, ‘L’œuvre de Marcel Duchamp’at the Musée national d’Art Moderne de Paris in 1977 and most recently ‘Marcel Duchamp : la peinture, même’at the Centre Pompidou in 2014-2015.
The painting was classed as a national treasure by the French state in 2016.
Catalogue available online at www.artcurial.com
Estimates in dollars provided as a guide
About Artcurial – Founded in 2002, Artcurial confirmed its position as the leading French auction house in 2014. It covers all the major specialist fields, from the Fine and Decorative Arts to Collectibles. With two sale venues (Paris and Monte- Carlo), the auction house achieved an overall sales total of 192 M€in 2014, representing an increase of 50% in 3 years. It has confirmed its position as market leader for Comic Strips in Europe, Collectors’Cars in continental Europe, jewellery and watches in France and Monaco and Old Master Paintings in Paris. With a strong international bias, Artcurial maintains its presence abroad with offices in Milan, Vienna and Brussels, representatives in Beijing and Tel Aviv, and twice-yearly exhibitions in New York. In October 2015, Artcurial held its first sale in Hong Kong and Morocco.