Art Market: Cezanne collection expected to fetch pounds 12m

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The Independent Online
SEVEN paintings by Cezanne - arguably the most important group of his works to come on to the market in half a century - are expected to fetch pounds 12m when they come before bidders at Christie's in November.

The collection includes works that relate to two of the artist's most famous images - Five Bathers (estimated to fetch between pounds 2.5m and pounds 3.5m), and Man with a Pipe, pounds 1.5m to pounds 2.5m, the only surviving study for the pipe-smoking onlooker in the Card Players. Also in the group is his 1866 self-portrait, regarded as a masterpiece of his early palette- knife style ( pounds 1m to pounds 1.5m). One dealer said 'the estimates were realistic in today's market'.

Although a number of the pictures have been lent to exhibitions around the world, this is their first appearance on the open market since the artist's death in 1906. They were acquired by Auguste Pellerin (1852-1929), a Parisian industrialist with an insatiable appetite for collecting Cezanne, beginning when the artist was barely known. At one time, Pellerin's house in Neuilly, Paris, boasted more than 100 pictures by him. As James Roundell of Christie's said: 'Pellerin was a single-minded and passionate collector. He also had 50 or 60 Manets, 30 or 40 Corots . . . When he found an artist he liked, he really went for him. He got rid of the other works to get Cezannes.'

Christie's said that the works had been consigned to them by a European foundation which 'wants to buy other pictures'. The auction-house has been asked not to disclose details.

Sotheby's also announced yesterday the highlights of its Impressionist and modern art sale in November. It has major works by Matisse - L'Asie, a vividly- coloured large-scale image of a female model estimated to fetch around pounds 4.7m - and Picasso's Femme dans un Fauteuil, expected to make between pounds 2m and pounds 2.6m.

(Photograph omitted)