The Cox Collection: Impressive Impressionism at Auction

In addition to masterpieces by Cézanne and van Gogh, one of the most important and emblematic paintings by Gustave Caillebotte will also be called up in the sale at Christie’s.

Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894), ‘Jeune homme à sa fenêtre’, 1876, oil on canvas, 116 x 81 cm (detail). Photo © Christie's
Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894), ‘Jeune homme à sa fenêtre’, 1876, oil on canvas, 116 x 81 cm (detail). Photo © Christie's

‘The Cox Collection: The Story of Impressionism’ is the name of an auction that won’t take place until November 2021 at Christie's in New York, but, due to its importance, has been announced already. This is because the collection of the Texan businessman and philanthropist Edwin Lochridge Cox (1921-2020) is unrivalled, and reflects the history of Impressionism using artworks of world renown.

Art consultant Stephane Connery said: “Ed Cox, the most refined of southern gentlemen, was a passionate collector only guided by the very best. His quest for masterpieces of Impressionism started half a century ago and led to the finest collection of its kind left in private hands. It is a joy to know that so many will finally get to discover such a legendary group of works many of which were last seen publicly before World War II."

A total of 25 works from the collection will be up for auction at Christie's in November, followed by a sale dedicated to decorative art and furniture in December. The total expected amount, some of which will be used for educational purposes, is estimated at more than $200 million.

This sum is to be achieved with works by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists such as Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Odile Redon and Édouard Vuillard. And as promising as that sounds, these aren't even the highlights of the auction.

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The offer is led by one of Gustave Caillebotte’s most important and emblematic paintings: Jeune homme à sa fenêtre from 1876, which was exhibited at the second group exhibition of the Impressionists in the gallery of Paul Durand-Ruel, one of the most important supporters of the art movement.

Caillebotte grew up in affluent circumstances in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, where his family lived in an elegant apartment. In 1876, he painted his brother René at an open window of this apartment, who looks out onto a street lined with multi-story houses. The painting, which established Caillebotte's reputation as "an insightful chronicler of contemporary life", will be offered at an estimated price over $50 million.

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), ‘Cabanes de bois parmi les oliviers et cyprès’, Saint-Rémy, October 1889, oil on canvas, 45.5 x 60.3 cm. Photo © Christie's
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), ‘Cabanes de bois parmi les oliviers et cyprès’, Saint-Rémy, October 1889, oil on canvas, 45.5 x 60.3 cm. Photo © Christie's

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Vincent van Gogh's Cabanes de bois parmi les oliviers et cyprès will hardly be cheaper, estimate at around $40 million. Van Gogh painted the work during his year-long stay in the Saint-Rémy mental hospital, which was preceded by his collapse and the severing of his left ear. The impasto application of paint and the strongly Expressionistic style of the paintings were typical of this creative phase of van Gogh, who considered the diligent continuation of his work to be his best remedy.

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), ‘L'Estaque aux toits rouges’, c. 1883-85, oil on canvas, 65.5 x 81.4 cm. Photo © Christie's
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), ‘L'Estaque aux toits rouges’, c. 1883-85, oil on canvas, 65.5 x 81.4 cm. Photo © Christie's

And finally, Paul Cézanne's L'Estaque aux toits rouges, created around 1884, is sure to attract attention. The extraordinary view of the fishing village L'Estaque, which is now part of Marseille, with its bright colors and Cubist-looking houses makes it clear why Cézanne's work had such a great influence on modern artists. L'Estaque aux toits rouges will hit the podium with an estimate of $35-55 million.

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“Perhaps one of the finest collections of Impressionist art to ever come to auction, the Cox collection will be remembered as a milestone in the art market. Most of the pictures will be seen as a once in a lifetime opportunity for any collector or museum,” said Adrien Meyer, Global Head-Private Sales & Co-Chairman-Impressionist & Modern Art at Christie's.

The highlights of the auction will be shown on a tour of Taipei, Tokyo, Hong Kong and London before the exhibition opens at Rockefeller Center in New York.

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