Treasures in the Christie’s pipeline: the Samuel Josefowitz collection could take $80 million


The dispersion of Samuel Josefowitz’s collection is the highlight of Christie’s fall sales.

Christie’s will be hosting several sales this fall to disperse the collection of Samuel Josefowitz, an immense art enthusiast who died in 2015. The sales include rare works that have never been auctioned, a number of Nabis works and others from the Pont-Aven school. There will also be the most important private collection of prints by Rembrandt in the world.

Samuel Josefowitz bought his first work – a Picasso print – at the age of 16 without imagining the magnitude that his personal involvement with art would subsequently acquire. Co-founder of the Concert Hall Society, which became one of the largest record production and distribution companies, Josefowitz turned his attention, alongside his professional activities, to another equally demanding activity, that of a committed art collector. Over the following decades he amassed one of the largest art collections in the 20th century.

Josefowitz assembled a leading collection devoted to the Pont Aven school, a revolutionary Modern art movement which expressed itself in the 1880s and 1890s through painters determined to dare everything. Their primary inspiration was Gauguin’s simplification of forms and his daring genius with powerful and contrasting colors. The founding work of the Pont Aven school is The Talisman (1888) by Paul Sérusier (1863-1927) today hanging in the Musée d’Orsay, a small and concise painting whose color spots contrast with post-Impressionism in a shift towards a bolder and more radical modernity.

Kees van Dongen (1877-1968), La Quiétude, 1918. Oil on canvas. 115 x 146cm. Estimate: £3,000,000 – £5,000,000.


Josefowitz did not content himself with buying the works produced by these artists; he also carried out research work, investigating their tracks, traveling several times to Brittany in search of information, archives, meeting descendants of members of Pont-Aven. This field work notably enabled him to unearth a number of forgotten works (canvases rolled up and left abandoned in the attic). When he began his collection, he was one of the few people to recognise the movement for what it was… an important shift in 20th century creation.

In the radically modern spirit of the artists who contributed to the Pont-Aven school, Samuel Josefowitz collected the works of the Parisian group they influenced: Les Nabis (notably Félix Vallotton, Pierre Bonnard and Aristide Maillol) and a number of other key French artists like Gustave Caillebotte and Paul Signac. In addition, he collected an unrivaled set of hundreds of prints by Old Masters, including the finest collection of prints by REMBRANDT in private hands.

His collections and knowledge contributed to the success of many public exhibitions, notably at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the MoMA and the Royal Academy of Arts in London. He also played an important role in the opening of the Pont-Aven museum, donating a wealth of archival documents that he had collected on the school, and he funded a research center that bears his name.

Before the official launch of its sale catalog, Christie’s has already announced some of the masterpieces that will be offered in London on 13 October, including some real gems by Kees VAN DONGEN, Félix VALLOTTON and Paul GAUGUIN, all estimated between GBP 3 and 5 million.


Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Clovis Endormi, 1884. Oil on canvas. 46 x 55.3cm. Estimate: £3,000,000 – £5,000,000.


Sale of the Samuel Josefowitz Collection at Christie’s:

“A life of discovery and scholarship” in London on 13 October 2023; followed by a series of sales dedicated to his works from Pont-Aven and Les Nabis, in Paris on 20 and 21 October (and online, from October 12 to 25); and Old Master prints featured in the Old Masters Part I sale in London on 7 December.