In one of those rare and expected times when an appraiser goes to a location to see what are usually copies, the opposite has happened.
Looking under an old sheet of paper, Clarke Auction art specialist Nelia Moore and owner Ronan Clarke then discovered what would turn out to be a magnificent long-lost oil on canvas by German surrealist artist Richard Oelze. . The large and complex painting entitled Archaic Fragment was executed in 1935 while the artist was in Paris.
The work was included in the great surrealist exhibition of 1942, First Papers of Surrealism, in New York City, alongside pieces by Marcel Duchamp, Joan Miro, Max Ernst, and Chirico, to name a few. His most famous work, Expectations, completed one year after Archaic Fragment, is in the permanent collection of the Museum Of Modern Art.
Only a small number of Oelze pieces have been offered for auction, but when they are, they sell for significant prices. Archaic Fragment is perhaps the artist’s most significant work to ever come to market and is due for sale to Clarke with an estimate of $ 60,000- $ 80,000 on June 3, 2013.
Clarke Auction is not new to finding important lost works and bringing them to market. Finding an Oelze Under a Sheet comes just four weeks after Ivan Aivazovsky’s small Russian oil on canvas sold for $ 75,000 against a presale estimate of $ 6,000 to $ 9,000. Almost two years earlier, two Jasper Cropsey oils sold for nearly a million dollars at Clarke’s after being found in the basement of a shipper.
Moore was delighted to have found such an important piece that recalls past discoveries. “Just two years later, we came across another painting historically as important to the international market as the Cropseys were to the US market,” said Moore. “As a fine art specialist here at the Clarke Suburban Auction, I am fascinated every day by the treasures we discover, but I have never been so excited about a work of art as I am about the painting. Archaic Fragment by Richard Oelze from 1935. “
This painting and other important works will be sold on Monday June 3 at 5 p.m. Internal previews are June 1 and 2 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and June 3 (day of the sale) from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (start of sale). The complete catalog can be viewed 24/7 at www.CLARKENY.com. Contact Nelia Moore, Fine Art Specialist at Clarke Auction, at 914 833 8336 with any questions.