Nahmad Sotheby’s Palm Beach:

Rothko to Picasso: European and American Masters in Dialogue

Over millennia, reverberations simulating what appeared before and even simultaneously have echoed down the long hallways of time, steadily spurring something in a new soul, inevitably revealing what was to come next. A baton handed off in silence, within the law of attraction. Ignition of a newfound feeling, causing an action, and the story of the World goes on. One should never take for granted the strength of impression. A point of view, a brushstroke, or lesson that has kept us captivated, transcending words, between creativity and progression, artist and the observer.

Joan Miró: Birds’ Joy at Day’s Birth, 21 March 1968) Photo courtesy of: Nahmad Contemporary and Sotheby’s

And with that progression came the capability to journey to faraway places in short periods. The ability to taste different spices’ and feel the energy of occurrences bequeathed into architecture, and behold the art affected by their narrative, dramatically changing the orientation and course with an amalgamation of differing worldviews and conceptions.

Left Painting: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled 1987 Center Front: Alexander Calder: Petit Mobile sur Pied 1953, Jean Dubuffet: Personnage (Buste) 1962 Photo Courtesy of: Nahmad Contemporary and Sotheby’s

For this story’s purpose, the late 1800’s – the early 1900s, was a very significant time, as it marked the beginning of life for many of the artists in the Nahmad show currently in Sotheby’s in Palm Beach, showcasing European and American artists’ dialogue, in the superbly laid out and thoughtfully hung Masterworks of Jean Dubuffet, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Joan Miro, Mark Rothko, Fernand Léger and Alexander Calder.

Mark Rothko: No 7 (Dark over Light) 1954 Right Alexander Calder: Fourteen Black Spots 1952 Photo courtesy of: Nahmad Contemporary and Sotheby’s


Even now, these works appear progressive for their time. Today, to experience an actual painting (Dark Milk 1986) that was created after Jean-Michel Basquiat saw Jean Dubuffet’s work, “Frequent Neighborhood, 1979”, hung across from each other in the same room, is extraordinary to witness, and the significance of which you may not have contemplated, until now.

Painting Left Wall: Jean Dubuffet: Frequented Neighborhood, Alexander Calder Mobile, Unititled 1948, Center Wall, Jean-Michel Basuiat: Dark Milk 1986 Photo Courtesy of: Nahmad Contemporary and Sotheby’s

Joe Nahmad told Portray’s Editor-in-Chief Donnalynn Patakos, “One of the most interesting relationships was Miro and Rothko. Miro in the ’30s and ’40s was hugely influential to American Abstract Expressionism, particularly Rothko. When Miro came to New York for the first time after World War II,  he saw the American artists and how they worked on such large scales with bold lines and strong colors. When he saw their works, it challenged him to go back to Europe and paint on a larger scale with bolder lines. So there’s that relationship of mentor becoming the student, and that’s quite fascinating. There are a lot of Relationships in the show. The Xerox Basquiat was very influenced by Dubuffet. We have a prime example of his  (Dubuffet’s), “Theatres of Memory Series”, which Basquiat actually saw the first time they were exhibited at the Pace Gallery in ’79. Calder and Miro had a life long relationship. Leger, Picasso, and Calder each showed at the New Worlds Fair in 1937 in protest of Fascism and the rise of Nazis. So there are many little stories in there. The Nahmad collection is a European aesthetic, and we wanted to show these relationships in Palm Beach, in America.”

Left Wall Painting: Fernand Léger: Compostion of three Profiles, 1937, Center Wall Left: Jean-Michel Basquiat: Untitled, 1987, Center Right Wall, Jean Dubuffet: Personnage (Buste) 1962 Right Wall: Joan Miró: Birds Joy at Days Birth, 21 March, 1968 Photo Courtesy of: Nahmad Contemporary and Sotheby’s

In this case, the story and its melodic nature transcend time, and as the story goes, one creative soul engages another, and the rest of us benefit from it long after they are gone and the paint has dried. Independently, the energy adhering to the works in the show are incredible; couple it with the original impetus, and it’s like alchemy.

Presented at Sotheby’s Palm Beach January 9 -31, 2021

150 Royal Poinciana Plaza, Palm Beach, FL 33480

Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm | Sunday 11am-5pm

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