Norwegian dealer's estate to benefit charity

Médecins Sans Frontières will get millions from the sale


The collection of the late Norwegian collector and dealer Haaken Christensen is to be auctioned in London this month, with most of the proceeds going to the medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières.

Christensen ran Oslo’s Gallery Haaken from 1961 until his death in April and was one of Norway’s most prominent dealers. The items that have been consigned to Sotheby’s include 46 works by Picasso, as well as pieces by Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, and others. The total consignment of 63 works is estimated at between £8m and £10m ($15.5m-$19.4m).

The five most valuable works will be sold during Sotheby’s evening sale in London on 25 June and will include Picasso’s oil painting Tête de Femme, 1962 (est £3m-£5m; $5.8m-$9.7m), depicting his mistress Dora Maar. Other works include L’Homme au Maillot Rayé, 1955 (est £1.2m-£1.8m; $2.3m-$3.5m), Femme au Chapeau Assis, 1962 (est £750,000-£1m; $1.5m-$1.9m) and Nature Morte au Poron, 1948 (est £600,000-£800,000; $1.2m-$1.6m).

Léger’s L’Araignée Verte, 1938 (est £400,000-£600,000; $770,000-$1.2m) will also be offered in the same sale. A further eight works by Picasso, estimated between £70,000 and £200,000, ($136,800-$388,900), will be auctioned the following day.

Some of the other Picassos will be sold at Sotheby’s print sales in London and New York in October, as will two works by Chagall and a Henry Moore lithograph.

Christensen’s collection also includes more than 100 works by Norwegian artists such as Kenneth Blom, Johannes Rian, Knut Rose and Ludvig Eikaas. “Those will be sold through a Norwegian auction house later on, but so far we have not decided which one,” says Lars Christensen (no relation), who used to be Christensen’s lawyer.

In 2003 an annex named after Haaken Christensen was opened at the Henie-Onstad Art Centre outside Oslo. As the building had been financed by the collector many had expected that he would donate his collection to the museum after his death. But that had never been his intention, Karin Hellandsjø, the museum’s director, told The Art Newspaper.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 192 June 2008