The sketches and art works, including a notable sculpture, come from the collection of a lifelong friend of John Duncan Fergusson and his wife, the dancer Margaret Morris.
The entire collection is being put on display and up for sale at the fine art brokers, Alexander Meddowes, Edinburgh, from December 2 to January 10 next year.
Mr Meddowes hopes a public body will make a bid for the notebooks and especially a striking sculpture by the artist, entitled Plenitude d'Olivier.
The sale, he says, could raise about £200,000 in total for the vendors, who wish to remain anonymous.
At the same time as the sale a major retrospective of Fergusson's work will be held at the National Galleries of Scotland.
Fergusson died in 1961, the longest-lived of the Scottish Colourists, the group that also includes painters and artists FCB Cadell, Samuel Peploe and GL Hunter.
Born in 1874 in Leith, Fergusson was mostly self-taught. He moved to Paris in 1907 with his friend and fellow Colourist Peploe in 1907.
After spells living in London and Paris, Fergusson moved to Glasgow in 1940, where he settled with Morris.
Mr Meddowes said the sculpture for sale "deserves a place in a public collection".
There are more than 100 sketches dating from 1890 to 1919, through which one can trace the development of Fergusson's skills as a painter.
Among the collection are sketches of Parisian life depicting ladies in fashionable hats and waiters and gentlemen.
There are more intimate studies of two of the women in the artist's life, Anne Estelle Rice and his wife, along with some previously unseen paintings.
Mr Meddowes said: "This collection is unique offering an insight into Fergusson's life and work.
"Fergusson carried his sketch book with him everywhere, often sketching the fashionable people he saw in Parisian cafes and parks providing him with the inspiration for many of his greatest paintings.
"There are many more informal sketches of Anne Estelle Rice and his wife and her dancers.
"This offers the chance to buy a very intimate view of the artist."
He added: "You can see here the three great preoccupations of his life - drawing, painting, and women.
"I think these will provide a lot of new information into his work and I think the olive wood sculpture really deserves to be in an institution."
Writer and art critic Iain Gale, writing an introduction to the show's catalogue, says: "Overall, this is a quite extraordinary private collection, the like of which appears only very rarely.
"Here is a chance for an intimate encounter with the man himself."
Also in the collection is a Portsmouth sketchbook of 1918, in which Fergusson has made a series of drawings of the fleet, made at the close of the First World War, as well as a group of watercolours from the 1950s.