Three paintings by the pointillists Camille Pissarro and Paul Signac will hit the auction block with a combined low estimate of over $17 million at Sotheby’s in London next month in the Impressionist, modern, and surrealist art evening sale. The works—Pissarro’s Gelée blanche, jeune paysanne faisant du feu (1888) and Signac’s La Corne d’Or. Matin (1907) and Quai de Clichy. Temps Gris (1887)—were recently restituted to the family of Gaston Lévy, a prominent Parisian patron and art collector who lived in Paris before World War II.
Nazis had looted the works during their occupation of France, and Quai de Clichy. Temps Gris ended up in the collection of the German art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, whose illegal holdings were found in a raid by customs officials in 2012. Quai de Clichy. Temps Gris was returned to Lévy’s heirs last year, and the other two works, which were repatriated to France after the war, were restituted to Lévy’s heirs by the Musée d’Orsay in Paris in 2018.
According to a report by the Guardian, the upcoming sale at Sotheby’s marks the first time the three works have come to auction. Gelée blanche, jeune paysanne faisant du feu is estimated between £8 million and £12 million (about $10.4 million to $15.6 million), while La Corne d’Or. Matin is estimated from £5 million to £7 million (about $6.5 million to $9.1 million) and Quai de Clichy. Temps Gris from £600,000 to £800,000 (about $780,000 to $1 million).
Thomas Boyd-Bowman, a director in Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern department, told the Guardian that the work by Pissarro, which is considered the masterpiece of the group, is a “tour de force of light and color” that stands “among the greatest examples of pointillism ever created.”