The Artist’s Sketchbook: Where Inspiration Finds Form

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34-35 New Bond Street, W1A 2AA, London West End, UK
Open: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm


The Artist’s Sketchbook: Where Inspiration Finds Form


The Artist’s Sketchbook: Where Inspiration Finds Form
Auction: Fri 22 May - Thu 4 Jun 2020
Exhibition: to Thu 4 Jun 2020
Mon-Fri 10am-5pm


Sale L20011

22 May – 4 June 2020 | London | full auction details

“Drawing is the artist’s most direct and spontaneous expression, a species of writing: it reveals, better than does painting, his true personality.” – Edgar Degas

Sotheby’s is delighted to present The Artist’s Sketchbook, an online sale of works on paper from the collection of Albin Schram (1926–2005). The impressive array of artists represented includes Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, James Ensor, Emil Nolde and Alfred Kubin.


Born in Czechoslovakia in 1926, Schram began collecting relatively late in life. His interest was ignited in the 1970s, when his mother, Erika Schicht, gave him a letter written by Napoleon Bonaparte to his wife-to-be Josephine de Beauharnais. Attempting to defuse a furious quarrel, Napoleon writes: “I send you three kisses – one on your heart, one on your mouth and one on your eyes”. The revelation of this intimate side of one of the most important players of modern history enraptured Schram and inspired him to seek out further letters and drawings by prominent figures of history.


Over the course of 30 years, Schram fuelled his curious and empathetic mind and amassed a treasure trove of items that filled every corner of the home he shared with his increasingly bemused wife. His family recalls how he would repeatedly head off to auctions and return with newly-purchased sketches filling the pockets of his overcoat. Schram was guided by a keen sense of the artist’s unique hand and character, seeking works that offered an insight into an intimate moment of thought and creation. Schram’s clever, discerning and playful taste is unmistakable in The Artist’s Sketchbook. From small ink musings to studies for major works of art, this wonderful array of sketches reveals a deeply personal relationship between a collector and some of the greatest artists of the 20th century. 

For assistance with bidding and registration, please contact:

+44 207 293 5000

For all enquiries please contact:

Holly Braine



Head of Day Sales

+44 20 7293 6119



Lisa Stevenson

Deputy Director


Deputy Head of Day Sales

+44 20 7293 5396



Nick Hemming-Brown


+44 20 7293 6619



Lara Pleydell-Bouverie

Junior Cataloguer

+44 20 7293 6095



Helena Poole

Junior Cataloguer

+44 20 7293 5792


all images © the gallery and the artist(s)

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