May 17, 2015


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Lot 148: Emile Grau-Sala

Lot 148: Emile Grau-Sala

Le Paddock

Oil on canvas
Signed lower right; signed, titled, and dated "Grau Sala/Paris 69/Paddok [sic]" verso
Canvas: 22.5" x 30"; Frame: 32" x 39"
Provenance: Edgardo Acosta Gallery, Ltd., Beverly Hills, California;
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the above, May 6, 1970);
Thence by descent
Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000
Price Realized: $25,000
Inventory Id: 19148

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Emile Grau-Sala (1911–1975), born Emilio Grau-Sala in Spain, attended the Escuela de Bella Artes, Barcelona, and later studied under Antoni Clavé. He and his wife, painter Ángeles Santos, relocated to Paris at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. He was influenced by both his contemporaries in Paris, and painters of older generations, such as Raoul Dufy, and great impressionists, particularly Manet and Renoir. In Paris he found professional success and exhibited both in galleries and the Salons, and also in the galleries of his native Barcelona. Internationally, his paintings were shown in London, Buenos Aires, and Los Angeles. He was associated with the Jeune Peinture (Young Painting), artists of the School of Paris, the postwar generation of painters working in a modern (less traditional and figurative), style in the 1950s.

Known as a figurative painter who used thick, built-up slabs of intense color in oil, Grau-Sala often depicted graceful landscapes and scenes of genteel French society. Exteriors included the racetrack or the circus, seascapes, and elegant parties. Stylish domiciles, portraits, and nude studies were the subjects of interior scenes. The artist lived in France some twenty-five years before returning to Spain, having first acquired a vacation home in northwestern France–an extremely picturesque setting with a glamorous, international social set. Grau-Sala favored painting the local markets, beaches, and racing scenes–featuring horses and paddocks.

A famed illustrator as well, he also painted in watercolor and used pastels. His work illustrated notable editions of books by Maupassant, Colette, and Baudelaire. In 1937 Emile Grau-Sala was awarded third-honorable mention at the Carnegie International exhibition of paintings in Pittsburgh. Distinguished banker, philanthropist, and art collector Robert Lehman bought two Grau-Sala paintings (one with a paddock theme), from Paris dealers in 1964; both are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Brettell, Richard R. Paul Hayes Tucker, and Natalie Henderson Lee. “Emilio Grau-Sala. ” Nineteenth-and Twentieth-century Paintings: Paintings in the Robert Lehman Collection. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; Princeton: in Association with Princeton UP, 2009. 374–377. Print.