1860 the artist of the lander expedition
2015 sold for $ 800k including premium
The Wild West appeals to him. In 1859, he participates in the Lander expedition which was an official mission to improve the transcontinental trails in application of the Pacific Wagon Road Act issued by the Congress in 1857. Experienced and bold, Frederick W. Lander explores the area that will later become Wyoming, perhaps to pass round the Utah.
Bierstadt was dazzled by the beauty of the mountain range of the Winds, in the west of the territory. Like all the painters of his time, he established sketches during the journey and painted his compositions after coming back to his studio.
On September 19 in Jackson Hole, Jackson Hole Art Auction sells Wind River Country, oil on canvas 72 x 100 cm, lot 184 estimated $ 1M, here linked to the bidding platform LiveAuctioneers. Here is the link to the press release issued by the auction house.
This scenery is in the immediate following of the travel with Lander and was painted by Bierstadt circa 1860. The sunset in the pure sky over a grand landscape is influenced by the romantic paradises by the Hudson River school.
Bierstadt is a pioneer, anticipating Thomas Moran who will use the railroad to join the Hayden expedition in 1871. The extreme colors of Wyoming by Moran will be inspired by the style of Turner.
1860 GUERNSEY'S POET
2010 SOLD 81 K€ INCLUDING PREMIUM
The sea is the symbol of freedom for the Romantic poets. Victor Hugo contemplates it, from the island of Guernsey which he has chosen for his political exile.
The poet is dreaming: it is his job. And he draws. Hugo was one of the most original drawing artists, known mainly for his fantastic castles. The precise outline of a medieval tower stands over the twilight in a wash of sepia, a color in fashion in his time.
Artcurial sells on March 24 in Paris a marine drawing by Victor Hugo, 10 x 27 cm, executed by the same technique around 1860. A three-masted ship enhanced by white gouache sails out of the fog.
Of course, the overwhelming reputation of Victor Hugo in literature is masking his work as a figurative artist on paper, between Turner and Seurat. The estimate, 30 K €, may be too low.
POST SALE COMMENT
Yes, the estimate was too low. This drawing takes its suitable place in the barometer of art at auction with a very good result, 81 K € including premium.
1861 A Luminist in the Regiment
Sanford Robinson Gifford is an artist belonging to the second generation of the Hudson River School and a leading proponent of Luminism, paying particular attention to the effects of light on the American landscape.
Contemporary of the Barbizon school that already advocated outdoor painting on the other side of the Atlantic, he works according to conventional method of performing sketches on the ground before composing his oil paintings in the studio.
When Civil War broke out in 1861, Gifford engages the Union troops, joining the Seventh Regiment commissioned by Lincoln to defend the capital. Although the evidence confirms that he took seriously his role as a soldier, he did not omit to carry his notebooks for making sketches.
On the same year, during his time off, he executes a series of four paintings depicting military life at various times of the day.
The oil on canvas showing the troops on a Sunday morning in a pleasant meadow, 41 x 76 cm, had the honor of being exhibited in the Oval Office of the White House for a few years starting with the second centenary of Independence. It is estimated $ 3M, for sale by Christie's in New York on December 5 .
In this interesting ancient view of Washington DC, Soldier Gifford offers a message of peace by his positioning of the strengths of this landscape : in the foreground with a preacher whose podium is coated with the American flag, and farther with the Washington Monument then under construction to dominate the valley of the Potomac.
1862 Souvenir from Maine
2013 sold 1.38 M$ including premium
Born in Gloucester and son of a sailmaker, FH Lane became fascinated with the landscapes of the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to Maine. He worked from sketches made during rowing or sailing trips.
Paralyzed in his legs since childhood, his career took place outside the artistic circles but he was not isolated. He became the best painter of marine scenery in New England and influenced William Bradford. His realistic topographicstyle with great care to detail was forgotten during the decades of Impressionism.
On 19 November 2004, Skinner sold for $ 5.5 million including premium a panoramic view of the Manchester harbor.This oil on canvas 61 x 91 cm painted in 1853 has some qualities of a Vernet with its animated foreground and its wide dynamic sky.
On September 20 in Boston, Skinner sells a view of Camden Mounts, estimated $ 1.2 M. Here is the link to the catalog.
This oil on canvas 33 x 56 cm was made in 1862, seven years after his tour in this region of Maine. The warm colors of twilight painted from memory and the landscape simplified for increasing the dramatic effect indicate a new trend in the style of the artist, enabling a comparison with his contemporary who was working at the other end of the world, Ivan Aivazovsky.
POST SALE COMMENT
The result, $ 1.2M before fees, exactly matches the lower estimate.
1863-1871 ALBERT BIERSTADT ATTRACTED BY THE WEST
2009 SOLD 1.76 M$ INCLUDING PREMIUM
In the mid-nineteenth century, the North American continent was still largely to be explored. The government sent military missions to the West to discover the territory and ensure the safety of roads.
One of these expeditions, in 1859, was led by Frederick W. Lander. He was accompanied by a photographer aged 29 years, Albert Bierstadt. Having become a painter, Albert Bierstadt often worked from photographs, while his brother Charles became a leading photographer of Niagara Falls.
The Lander road is part of the Oregon trail, a complex set of carriage tracks that enabled immigrants to reach the Pacific coast. Bierstadt treated on this subject in a realistic style for the picture, and heroic style for the topic.
Christie's offers for sale on May 20 in New York a night scene on the Oregon Trail. The scenery with big trees is illuminated by the campfire, while pioneers are doing their evening activities. As true as the original, their large wagon is lighted by the moon.
This unusual oil on canvas, 76 x 112 cm, will appeal to fans of the Far West. It is estimated $ 2 million. It is undated, but works similarly inspired were executed between 1863 and 1871.
POST SALE COMMENT
Times are hard, even for those typically American scenes: Oregon Trail has been sold, but far below the estimate: result is $ 1.76 million including costs.
This sale will be reminded, however, with the excellent result recorded on the painting by Milton Avery that was chosen for the cover of the catalog: $ 2.2 million including expenses, on an estimate of 600 K $. It shows two artists drawing on seaside.
1864 the sleep of the white girl
Yet Symphony in White, also named The White Girl, shows a young woman very well dressed, without any nudity. In contrast to the long white gown, the fact that she is standing on a wolf hide whose mouth is wide open is an aggressive symbol of lost innocence.
The white girl is Jo, Whistler's mistress. Aged about 20 years, she has a strong personality that does not fear scandals. This beautiful young Irish woman with abundant Venetian red hair is admired by all the friends of the artist.
In 1864 Courbet uses a thick impasto which highlights the flesh and will excite Lucian Freud. The logical outcome of his art would be to show the heterosexual act but he does not dare. Continuing after his Baigneuses on the theme of the couples of women, he prepares a scene with two life size female nudes titled Vénus et Psyché which is of course rejected by the Salon.
In this painting 145 x 195 cm destroyed in Germany during the Second World War, the red haired woman who sleeps while her companion is approaching is Jo, whose figure was painted by Courbet perhaps from photography or memory.
On October 31 in New York, Christie's sells a 57 x 70 cm oil on canvas which is a preliminary study for the red haired woman of Vénus et Psyché. It is estimated $ 3.5M, lot 8. Please watch the very short video prepared by the auction house.
In 1866 during an absence of his lover, Jo comes to pose in the Parisian studio of Courbet. She appears as one of the nude entwined women in Le Sommeil, the masterpiece of Lesbian art. Whistler does not accept this new role of a cuckold and they separate. She is perhaps also the young woman of L'Origine du Monde, painted in the same year for the same customer.
1868 Three English Sisters
2013 SOLD 2.3 M£ including premium
His contribution to the exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts is an oil on canvas 108 x 108 cm showing his three daughters Effie, Mary and Carrie, then 10, 8 and 5 years old, standing in front of a background of foliage.
This empathetic and slightly symbolic painting evokes the great English portraits of the eighteenth century. However, the refined use of color anticipates modern art. Millais wanted to reintroduce the art for art and supported Whistler. He is no longer a Pre-Raphaelite, but a contemporary of the French Impressionists.
This beautiful painting of children is estimated £ 2M for sale by Christie's in London on July 11.
POST SALE COMMENT
The quality of this image in classic style has been rewarded by £ 2.3 million including premium, in line with the estimate.
1869 Orientalism on the Nile
A painting by Gérôme, unsold on December 11, 2012, comes again in the same auction house. Here is my text of last year changed to include the information of the next sale:
Contemporary of Bouguereau and Ziem, Jean-Léon Gérôme devoted much of his work to orientalism. Photographywas not sufficient to excite the dream of the public, and the painter's art was to create idealized scenes improved bywarm colors.
Gérôme visited Egypt several times. He observed the monuments and the incomparable luxury of their interiors. The rare river scene for sale by Artcurial in Paris on December 10, entitled Promenade du Harem, is exceptional in several features.
A boat propelled by ten rowers glides on the misty Nile like a gondola on the lagoon. It supports a luxurious cabin in which the hidden women suggested by the title spend a pleasant moment.
This oil on canvas made circa 1869 is very large for Gérôme's art, 86 x 150 cm. It had been kept by the family of theartist.
It is estimated € 450K.
1869 Quiet Time in Fiesole
William Holman Hunt wanted a mystical approach to art, in which truth must supersede style. He will remain faithful all along his life to the pre-Raphaelite conceptions of which he was the founder and the theorist.
To find his inspiration, he traveled to Holy Land and Italy. His wife died in childbirth in Florence in December 1866, and he came back two years later in the Tuscan capital to prepare her monument. He then spent several months in Fiesole.
Tuscany deserves its reputation for harmony, by its landscapes and its quality of life. The feeling of peace is certainly unusual to Hunt. The portrait of the gardener's daughter, oil on canvas 54 x 44 cm painted in 1869, is a pre-Raphaelite masterpiece, twenty years after the genesis of the movement.
The peasant child looks straight towards the viewer, with a collared dove confidently perched on her shoulder. This artwork is a hymn to Tuscany: the girl is plaiting straw, a flourishing specialty craft of this region at that time, and the soft hills figure in background like in a medieval painting. Many years later, Hunt stated that Perugino had loved similar themes of pictures.
This charming portrait does not reveal that its achievement was an ordeal for Hunt. The catalog tells the difficulty to keep quiet a young child and a bird. The result is a masterpiece without real equivalent in the art of Hunt. Note also that the religious dimension is not absent : the gentle bird symbolizes Christ protecting young children.
This painting in its frame designed by the artist is estimated £ 3M, for sale by Sotheby's in London on December 4.Here is the link to the catalog.
1870 Gérôme in the Desert
2019 SOLD for £ 3.14M including premium
Gérôme is also a tourist passionate about Greece, Turkey and Egypt. In 1868 with a small group of artists, he makes a long excursion in the desert, crossing the Sinai to the Gulf of Aqaba. His brother-in-law Albert Goupil is the photographer of this small expedition. In 1869 Gérôme is part of a delegation that attends the inauguration of the Suez Canal.
Gérôme's paintings interpret the arid sands and the overwhelming heat, an achievement that the black and white photography of the period could not do. As with the historical themes, the characters are stereotyped or picturesque.
On October 22 in London, Sotheby's sells a scene of riders crossing the desert, oil on panel 41 x 56 cm painted in 1870, lot 14 estimated £ 3M. This image was edited in photogravure by Goupil in 1878.
The foreground features three horsemen moving away from the dunes. The bearded old man is certainly the leader. The realistic image is also highlighting the famous beauty of the Arabian horses.
The scene is completed in the background by characters on foot or camel de-focused by the sand dust. All go in the same direction, bringing the dynamic impression of a coordinated movement. They are quiet but some wear a sword. The darker blue almost indistinguishable in the distance is probably Aqaba.
Gérôme cannot restrain himself from adding the tragedy. With a horse dying of overheat in a scenery similar to the example above, a rider in the desert, oil on canvas 60 x 101 painted in 1872, was sold for £ 1.15M including premium by Sotheby's on April 30, 2019.
سوذبيز @Sothebys تعرض 40 عملاً فنياً، في 22 اكتوبر، من لوحات المستشرقين لتاريخ العالم الإسلامي مُجسدةً كل جانب من جوانب الحياة في المنطقة بتفاصيل تقنية متميزة.— يوسف الحربي (@yousifalharbi) September 6, 2019
*لوحة راكبي الخيل في مصر قدرت بـ6 مليون دولار للفنان الفرنسي جان ليون جيروم pic.twitter.com/KS1O1ItMDl
1871 The Mythological Casket of Rossetti
From 1865, Rossetti met again one of his earlier muses, Jane, who was the wife of his friend William Morris since 1859. He painted realistic portraits of Jane before emboldening to display her as the femme fatale of mythology, haughty up to looking haggard.
An exacerbated portrait of Jane as Pandora, oil on canvas 131 x 79 cm painted in 1871, is estimated £ 5M for sale bySotheby's in London on May 22. This is a masterpiece of pre-Raphaelite sensitivity.
Pandora is the Eve of Greek mythology, the author of the original disobedience. Rossetti shows the woman opening the box that gave off the fumes of all the evils of humanity.
The mythological muse of Rossetti is also in some way reopening Lizzie's coffin. One of the extravagances of Rossetti had been to bury his unpublished poems in the grave of his wife. After eight years of doubt and remorse, he unearthed and published them in 1870. Their erotic content made a scandal.
1872 Just before Impressionism
2013 SOLD 6.2 M£ including premium
A Marine painted in Le Havre, oil on canvas 48 x 63 cm, will become the emblem of modern art. The artist captures the subtle and ephemeral colors of a sunrise. The drawing is minimized in favor of the symphony of colors. Two years later, he will title this painting Impression (soleil levant).
On June 19 in London, Sotheby's sells 'le pont de bois', oil on canvas 54 x 73 cm painted on the same year.
The view shows the bridge at Argenteuil under reconstruction after being destroyed during the Franco-Prussian War. The temporary wooden structure already enables the crossing and is animated with walkers and a horse-drawn carriage.
The composition is very subtle with a double symmetry that may have been inspired by Japanese prints: a vertical symmetry with the reflections in the Seine river and a horizontal symmetry accentuated by the scaffoldings.
The evening colors are subtle and varied, and draw the attention to the flickering reflections due to the lapping of the river. The perspective is not useful: the distance to the background is expressed by a halo of mist.
The wooden bridge is one of the earliest masterpieces by Monet. The purchase of this painting by Edouard Manet as early as 1872 was a great encouragement for the young artist. Now coming from the Rau collection, it is sold in aid of UNICEF. The announced estimate at £ 4M is too low. Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
Good price for this early Monet: £ 6.2 million including premium, a little below its higher estimate.
Shared on Wikimedia :
1872 Ten Years in Cairo
This will be his last trip. He has enough sketches to continue his career as a painter in England. He remembers the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Cairo from his youth, before Ismail Pasha's modernization of the great Ottoman city. Lewis's interest in real oriental life anticipates Bauernfeind.
The bazaar is a place to trade, of course, but also to meet. Lewis remembers the bezestein, a wording for the public markets where the most valuable goods are sold, including silk clothing and embroidered fabrics. The great bezestein of Cairo is the Ghuriyyah, a Mamluk extension of the Bazaar of El Khan Khalil.
On November 18 in London, Christie's sells a view of this bazaar, oil on canvas 116 x 88 cm painted by Lewis in 1872, lot 12 estimated £ 3M.
The narrow corridor is a copy of a drawing made by the artist during his stay. The very high glass ceiling gives an impression of opulence. The men play music, sing, laugh. The Egyptian musical instruments and the fabrics come from the collection brought to England by the artist.
For his business Lewis used to create his subjects simultaneously in oil and watercolor. The watercolor of this view of the bazaar is in the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery in Bedford, England.
The Midday meal in Cairo, oil on canvas 88 x 114 cm painted in 1875, is another example of intense animation with many characters. It was sold for £ 2.47M including premium by Christie's on June 15, 2005
1874 Snow on Louveciennes
2017 SOLD for £ 7.4M including premium
During the winter 1874 the creativity of the young artists is exacerbated by the new ideas of outdoor landscape painting. Their first collective exhibition will take place in the spring of the same year.
The snow fell on Louveciennes. Alfred Sisley observes the clear hues that dot the thick white layer in pink, yellow or blue under the light and purple in the shadows. His compositions are structured geometrically with segments of diagonals or of circles.
On February 3, 2015, Sotheby's sold for £ 2,16M including premium Route à Louveciennes, oil on canvas 65 x 54 cm in portrait format where Sisley shows the curve of the snow covered street in front of his house.
On March 1 in London, Sotheby's sells Effet de neige à Louveciennes, oil on canvas of the same dimension in landscape format, lot 18 estimated £ 6M. The clear sky and its reflection on the snow in the bright light of a start or end of day bring to this picture a blue dominance. In this example Sisley's skill as a landscape painter is comparable to Monet's.
1874 Le Pêcheur à la Ligne by Renoir
2019 SOLd for $ 8.8M by Christie's
1874 The Society of the Impressionnistes
2012 SOLD 8.8 M$ including premium
During the Second Empire and the beginning of the Third Republic, the dedication for a French artist was to make his work accepted in the Salons organized by the Académie des Beaux-Arts.
However the modern trend was shifting too much from the classic taste, and the best of them failed to win the honor. In 1874, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro, Degas and Berthe Morisot helped each other by creating the Société anonyme coopérative des artistes peintres, sculpteurs et graveurs. At their first show in the same year, a bitter critic designates them under the name of Impressionnistes.
The oil on canvas by Monet, 54 x 73 cm, for sale by Aguttes in Paris on June 27, was made precisely in that year. It is illustrated on the catalog page shared by LiveAuctioneers.
This is a typical Impressionist artwork. This view taken near Argenteuil bridge has for main subject the grasses on the slope, so present in their mixed colors that they do not need to be supported by a drawing. The bridge itself, which quietly closes the horizon, and the Seine river have mostly the role of locating the scene.
The painting, estimated € 6M, has the best possible source for a work of this movement: in 1876 it was bought to Monet by Gustave Caillebotte.
In 1876, a young woman is lying in a similar meadow, although with more flowers. This masterpiece of early Impressionism, oil on canvas 60 x 82 cm, was sold £ 11.2 million including premium by Christie's on February 4, 2009.
Unsold in 2011, this lot was sold $ for 8.8 million including premium by FAAM (Fine Art Auctions Miami) in Miami Beach on December 6, 2012.
1874 HAPPY TIME WITH CARPEAUX
All Parisians know la Danse (the Dance), the sculpture that adorns the front of the Opera since 1869 (replaced by a fresh copy after suffering the wear of weather).
This work is typical of the art of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, a sculptor native of Valenciennes who managed to get thefavor of Napoléon III. The characters in his busts and nudes are on the move and enjoy smiling. Away from the trendsof his time, his allegorical themes are never religious.
Carpeaux is not much visible in international auctions. This injustice will be repaired in Paris on October 26 and 27 in the sale of the Fabius Frères collection organized by Sotheby's in association with PIASA.
The top lot of this set is a marble on the theme of Daphnis and Chloe. Standing, the sweet naked teenagers are exchanging romantic confidences. The sculpture 1.40 m high is mounted on a small painted wooden base.
This work was executed in 1874 on a commission by Lord Ashburton who wanted a pendant to the Cupid and Psyche by Canova. It is estimated € 1M.
POST SALE COMMENT
There is no doubt that Daphnis et Chloé is a masterpiece of Carpeaux, but this artist, popular in France,is not a tenor in the international market, and the estimate was too high. Unsold.
Yet in the same sale, a pair of pendants in marble was sold € 936K including premium. It shows two classic topics in the work of Carpeaux: the Girl with a shell and the Fisherman with a shell.
1875 Melting Snow along the Seine River
2015 SOLD for $ 6.4M including premium
Now living in Argenteuil, he observes the life on and around the Seine with its sails, bridges and embankments. After a few years, which are the key period of the definition of the Impressionniste style, Monet becomes a landscape artist looking for a communion with earth and light. Humans still appear in the scenery, but their role is reduced to identify the scale.
The artist walks along the river and places his easel on the banks. A view of Argenteuil painted in 1875, 60 x 80 cm, with a beautiful contrast of light and shadow under a dappled sky was sold for £ 8.5 million including premium by Sotheby's on June 23, 2014.
Monet used to say that he was a Parisian but in his youth the influence of Eugène Boudin had attracted him to the countryside. He considered the snow as an atmosphere and not as a disturbance and it became one of his favorite themes.
On May 5 in New York, Sotheby's sells an oil on canvas 61 x 100 cm painted in 1875 showing the melting snow on the banks at Epinay, upstream of Argenteuil. The light is filtered through a cloudy sky. The common landscape has provided the opportunity for a masterpiece. This painting is estimated $ 6M, lot 49.
1875 Oriental Pomegranates
2012 sold 2.65 M$ including premium
It is not enough to consider that Bouguereau was the most academic of the French painters of the nineteenth century.Certainly, during his long career, he used all the classical teachings in his balanced compositions for which human beings are hopelessly charming whatever the narrative genre: bucolic, mythological, mystical.
The Orient fascinates the contemporaries of Bouguereau, including Gérôme. Some of them make the trip and others don't, but that does not matter at that time when knowledge is disclosed through photography and printmaking.
Orient was probably not of highest interest to Bouguereau, but Orientalism had become a full theme of classicism so that the master could no longer ignore it.
Bouguereau as an Orientalist was rediscovered on May 4, 2012 at Sotheby's. An oil on canvas, 60 x 46 cm, dated1 875, was sold for $ 2.3 million including premium from an estimate of $ 500K. Dressed in Oriental fashion, the nice girl with brown skin holds a pomegranate, a symbol of chastity.
Another painting of the same year is for sale by Christie's in New York on October 29. Larger, 116 x 90 cm, this more ambitious composition depicts the same teenager now becoming a seller on the street against a background composed of monuments of Cairo. Her basket with six pomegranates awaits guests.
This work is estimated $ 2.5 M.
POST SALE COMMENT
Bouguereau could have been a great Orientalist painter. This rare painting was sold $ 2.65 million including premium.
The sale had been postponed to November 1 due to hurricane Sandy.
The Enthusiasm of Carpeaux
2018 sold for € 128k including premium
The Opéra de Paris is a significant witness of the transformation of the French capital under Napoléon III. Selected as its architect, Charles Garnier places this new profane temple of music in a building of gigantic dimensions that will be the flagship of Parisian modernism.
The visitor will be greeted by four allegories on the front wall. Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux is commissioned in 1865 to illustrate the Dance.
Despite his sculpted portraits of officials, Carpeaux is a free creator for whom sculpture must express life in its movement and joy. He designs the composition of the group of dance as a response to the heroic impulse brought in 1836 by Rude in La Marseillaise (The Departure of the Volunteers of 1792) that adorns the Arc de Triomphe.
The extent of Carpeaux's group exceeds the demand of Garnier who decides to accept such an overflow of enthusiasm. A bacchanal of nude female dancers surrounds the male genius of dance who is charming them with his tambourine. When the statue is unveiled in 1869 such an active and merry nudity viewed by any people from the street deeply shocks the rigid morality of the period.
The Franco-Prussian war stops this scandal. According to usual practice Carpeaux and his studio prepare replicas in bronze, terracotta, plaster and marble to be offered for sale. In 1913 a plaster of the Génie de la Danse in same size as the original of the Opéra, 2.20 m high, is sold to Robert de Rothschild.
Another plaster of same size surfaces in 1927 when the artist's daughter sells it to a friend. Mme Clément-Carpeaux then certifies that it is the only plaster example realized on the model of the Rothschild specimen. The date of this replica is not identified. It is currently mounted on a wooden base for an overall height of 3 m.
1877 The Enchantment of Motion
2015 SOLD for $ 17M including premium
Degas is passionate about dance. He spends much time watching the ballerinas on stage and backstage. He does not admire their body but their flexibility, which is the ease of their limbs to reach extreme angles either in action or at rest.
Inspired by Ingres, Degas was an very good draftsman. He rediscovered pastel as a technique allowing the more vivid colors without impairing the quality of the drawing. Like the pre-impressionists, Degas executed his works in his studio from previous sketches. His spontaneity is in fact the result of a long meticulous work, like Constable's.
The dancer on pointe, pastel and gouache made in 1877, shows a ballerina leaning forward, one leg above the horizontal in a movement for which no effort is apparent. Her imbalanced attitude and the empty space in front of her bring to this graphic work an illusion of motion that is unprecedented in the history of art. The delicacy of the colors anticipates Lautrec.
The young dancer takes the same position in the same colors but now leading a group of four in Danseuses en blanc, pastel and gouache on paper 53 x 65 cm for sale by Sotheby's in New York on November 4, lot 32T estimated $ 18M. The four girls play a simultaneous dance step in a bold composition in which no body is seen in its entirety.
I invite you to watch the video shared by Sotheby's, also introducing the pastel of a nude offered in the same sale (also discussed in my column).
1877 Pommes et Gâteaux by Cézanne
2005 SOLD for $ 10.3M by Christie's
On November 1, 2005, Christie's sold such a still life for $ 10.3M from a lower estimate of $ 3.5M, lot 4.
Titled Pommes et Gâteaux, this oil on canvas 46 x 55 cm painted ca 1877 displays an arrangement on the top of a rustic chest. The pieces of furniture and dishes were probably images of real artefacts owned by the artist in his apartment at Montparnasse.
The stem bowl on the left side carries a total of six apples at two levels. The upper fruit is posed on the circle of the five others. Two of these apples are hidden behind the other fruits, providing a sense of mysterious balance of the pile. The artist will often reuse this effect.
The rest of the image is divided between a plate of cakes and a group of apples directly placed on the top of the chest.
Pommes et Gâteaux was probably one of the three still-lifes from sixteen paintings entered by Cézanne at the Third Impressionist Exhibition in 1877.
1877 Bouguereau in his Time
The huge success enjoyed by Bouguereau in his lifetime puzzled Dali to the point that he included him among the top ten artists to whom he endeavoured to compare himself. The result is severe: Bouguereau has a good technique, without inspiration, without beauty, without mystery.
Let us put Bouguereau in his time. We would try in vain to place him in the following of the Romantics. His country girls are poor and barefoot, but neatly dressed, without misery and without history.
Realistic painting must find its way against the competition of photography. It's not that either. At the time of outdoor easels, he is closer to the artificial scenes of the Orientalists. He is a careful professional, the most Academic of French artists.
For his luck, Paul Durand-Ruel early became his merchant. Durand-Ruel also promoted rural scenes by Corot and by the Barbizon painters. He understood that the sentimental Americans liked the memories of their European roots.
Durand-Ruel encourages Bouguereau to produce for his customers the portraits of peasants with non localizable costumes and settings. Countless girls imagined by Bouguereau are similar with no significant differences, same as the Chinese Big Family of Zhang Xiaogang one century later.
Les Deux Soeurs (two sisters) is one of the best works typical of his art, and stages a teenage girl and a baby. This oil on canvas 136 x 79 cm painted in 1877 is estimated $ 1.8 million, for sale by Christie's in New York on April 29.
1878 Balconies in Paris
2019 SOLD for $ 14M including premium
Born in Paris in 1848, Gustave Caillebotte knew and appreciated such a breakthrough. In 1875 the young artist became an Impressionniste after his resentment of the Salon's rejection of a too social painting. He has the imagination for finding new themes.
Another wonder of the time is the railroad. In 1876 Caillebotte paints a view of the pont de l'Europe, a very long railway viaduct that connects to the Gare Saint-Lazare. Monet is well acquainted with this station, the terminus of the line that leads him to Argenteuil. Is he suddenly inspired by modernism or is he afraid of being overcome by a competitor? He devotes the winter of 1877 to his series of paintings of the same station.
The capital is also experiencing cultural transformations. Inaugurated in 1875, the immense Opéra de Paris becomes the symbol of the wealthy bourgeoisie to which the Caillebotte family belongs.
On May 14 in New York, Sotheby's sells La Rue Halévy vue du sixième étage, oil on canvas 60 x 73 cm painted by Caillebotte in 1878, lot 17 estimated $ 6M. The image below, shared by Wikimedia, was taken from an art book.
As wide as a boulevard, the rue Halévy leads from the boulevard Haussmann to the Opéra, which is visible beyond the Haussmannian buildings. This aerial cityscape is bold for its time. The street is pleasantly animated with sparse pedestrians and carriages.
Caillebotte definitely likes this district. After the death of their mother in that same year, Gustave and his brother Martial move to the 3rd floor at 31 boulevard Haussmann, less than 200 meters from the position of the previous sight. Their balcony overlooking the boulevard is the theme of several paintings in 1880 and 1881.
1878 Jane in the Underworld
2019 sold for $ 3.5M including premium
Jane is not happy with William but this husband is not jealous. From 1871 Morris and Rossetti lease together a residence in the English countryside. Morris is often traveling, leaving his wife and their two young girls alone with Rossetti.
Rossetti is an artist but he is also a nostalgic poet. He paints Jane as Pandora in 1871, on the theme of beauty that does not prevent the triggering of the curse by a clumsy action. It is probably William who suggests Rossetti to interpret Jane as Proserpine.
This period lasts about three years. Rightly worried about Rossetti's mental health, Jane distances herself from her admirer. Rossetti continues his quest for the expression of misfortune. His Proserpine is caught at the very moment when she frighteningly appreciates that she has just eaten in the forbidden fruit, a pomegranate that she still holds in her fingers.
The realization of the paintings goes badly. Several oils on canvas are damaged, increasing the obsessional attachment of the artist to this theme. The seventh version, 125 x 61 cm, is finally completed in 1874. It is kept at Tate Britain.
Rossetti restarts later without major modification of the composition but by varying the technique. On October 28 in New York, Christie's sells a watercolor and gouache 78 x 38 cm on paper made in 1878, lot 208 estimated $ 3M. No other Proserpine has been painted by Rossetti with this technique. The strong colors anticipate the works on paper by Burne-Jones.
On November 19, 2013 a Proserpine 120 x 56 cm made in colored chalks in 1880 was sold for £ 3.3M including premium by Sotheby's over a lower estimate of £ 1.2M. The artist returns to oil on canvas in 1882 with the final version completed a few weeks before his death.
1878 Monet in Vétheuil
Argenteuil was no longer appropriate to meet the artistic requirements of Claude Monet. His search for the expression of landscape made him travel across Normandie. In 1878, he moved to Vétheuil, one of the most charmingvillages in the Seine valley.
He was observing the river, the trees, their colors and reflections. In full possession of his talent, he produced about 150 paintings during his three years at Vetheuil. Unfortunately, the drama was ahead. Camille died shortly after giving birth to Michel, their second son. Vétheuil is Monet's last residence before Giverny.
On April 27 in Miami, Fine Art Auctions Miami sells a typical impressionist riverside painted by Monet in Vetheuil in1878, with a superb range of warm colors and vibrant reflections.
This oil on canvas, 46 x 72 cm, is estimated $ 4M.
Here is the link on LiveAuctioneers.
1878 A SCHOLAR IN TOPKAPI
Ibrahim Edhem Pasha was a Greek who became a slave when he was three years old during the massacres of Chios in 1822. Minister and diplomat in the service of the Sultan, he was constantly in relationship with Europe. Theremarkable career of his son Osman Hamdy Bey certainly owes a lot to such a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Osman Hamdy spent nine years in Paris at the time when a post-Romantic Orientalism was fashionable. Back in Constantinople in 1869, he developed a highly original art combining the classicism of Gérôme's painting with the intricacies of Islamic culture. Prominent archaeologist, he was an influential patron of the Turkish cultural conservation.
On April 24 in London, Sotheby's sells an oil on canvas, 46 x 90 cm, dated 1878. In an atmosphere reminiscent of Topkapi, a young scholar is lying comfortably for studying a sacred text.
Despite its small size, this painting is estimated £ 3M. Here is the link to the catalog.
Familiar with the European art of his time, Osman Hamdy knew to introduce subtle critical observations among theIslamic traditions. His turtle trainer, teaching the animals to wear mosque candles on their shells, is another example.This painting dated 1906 was sold in 2004 YTL 5M at auction.
We have already discussed this outstanding artist in this group: on May 30, 2008, Sotheby's sold £ 3.4 millionincluding premium the lavish portrait of a nice Lady of Constantinople, 185 x 109 cm.
1879 La Seine à Lavacourt by Monet
2018 SOLD for $ 15.8M by Christie's
He leaves Argenteuil in 1878 due to financial difficulties and settles at Vétheuil, a village further down the Seine, with his beloved wife Camille and a couple of friends, Ernest and Alice Hoschedé.
1879 is a very bad year. Camille, who had been nursed by Alice during her terminal illness, dies in September. Claude had used much his remaining money for her medical care.
Claude continues nevertheless to paint. His favorite theme is the changes of light over the Seine river, at Vétheuil and on the village 300 m across the river, Lavacourt.
La Seine à Lavacourt, oil on canvas 60 x 82 cm painted in 1879, was sold by Christie's on May 8, 2018 for $ 15.8M from a lower estimate of $ 8M, lot 11 in the auction of the Rockefeller collection.
This river scenery with the village on the other shore was made in a hot summer morning with a lot of cottony clouds passing in the blue sky.
1879 In the Box by Mary Cassatt
1996 SOLD for $ 4.1M including premium by Christie's
narrated in 2020
The leaders of impressionism were promoting the landscape. Alongside Degas and Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt interests the most jaded art critics with her genre scenes and her portraits. She stages the modern woman with a sensitivity increased by her resolutely egalitarian political positions.
From 1878, Mary observed the elegant atmosphere in the boxes of the Paris Opera, without worrying about the show in progress. For these fresh and active young ladies who were then named the débutantes, the Opera offers a much better discretion than the Hippodrome and the cafés. This creative phase was brutally stopped in 1882 by the death of her beloved sister Lydia who had often served as a model for her.
In the Box was prepared just in time for the Fourth Impressionist Exhibition in 1879, but too late to be included in the catalog. Two elegant young women in light-colored dresses and white gloves are on the balcony at the Opera. The débutante observes the public through theater binoculars, looking for handsome gentlemen who will certainly desire to admire her. The nascent smile and the fixed gaze attest that she believes having found what she was looking for.
The image is focused on the two women in the foreground, in an off-center composition worthy of Degas. Impressionism in the style of Renoir maintains the realism of faces and expressions.
In the Box, oil on canvas 44 x 62 cm, was sold for $ 4.1M including premium by Christie's on May 23, 1996. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1879 THE BATTLE OF TREVINO FROM GLORY TO OBLIVION
It is unusual that a consignment for auction is announced 5.5 months in advance. In late May, Sotheby's announced the exhibition for a few days in New York of a painting that will be sold in London on November 12.
It is not old: 1879. It is not very large: 94x170 cm. Its subject is not so rare: a scene of battle. Its author, Francisco Oller y Cestero, is very rare at auction, where he has never registered a high bid. It can not even been said that a high estimate justifies this early exhibition: 340 to 380 K £, exactly the kind of closed estimate which often suggests that the work is already too expensive.
Its originality is to be the work of a Puerto-Rican painter, made during a stay in the court of Spain, never described, and that remained property of the same Spanish family for a hundred years.
I saw and ignored the press release in May. The results of auctions that I have analyzed afterwards show that we must consider with curiosity what looks like quirks of communication by Sotheby's. In my opinion, the auction house had already started to target buyers, Spanish or Puerto Ricans, who may have a reason invisible to the public to take interest in this painting. Its exhibition in New York can not be void of intentions in that way.
This battle of Treviño is an event in 1875 of the very bloody Carlist war. To find a trace of this "truly heroic episode" (as Sotheby's said), the full Encyclopaedia Britannica seems not to be enough.
Let us hope for Sotheby's that the verdict of auction is better than the verdict of history.
1879-1880 the constructed landscape of paul cézanne
Cézanne indeed considers that a landscape or a still life is a construction of geometric elements : sphere, cylinder, cone. Houses are cubes. Colors may be excessive if it helps to express a feeling. Modern art is in germ in this profession of faith of an artist often isolated by his difficult temper.
Cézanne was born in Provence, but it took to the quieting of his relationship with his family in 1878 for him to test his theories with the stunning scenery of his native province. The brain controls the hand and his decidedly non impressionistic brush strokes are now composing a dense pattern of slightly oblique lines.
From April 1879 to March 1880 Cézanne lives in Melun. Retrieving the softly waving hills and the villages of Ile de France, he goes forward with his new style.
On November 16 in New York, Christie's sells a landscape with a road and a bell tower painted by Cézanne, lot 23 B estimated $ 10M.
This oil on canvas 54 x 65 cm is neither dated nor localized but the style and theme converge onto the period of Melun. Despite the detailed view of the village the location has not been recognized with certainty. There is no doubt that the work was painted outdoor facing that scenery in a morning against the light.
In the enthusiasm of his pictorial revolution, Cézanne had possibly reinvented that landscape more than it was necessary. While respecting proportions and perspective as Monet was doing, the art of Cézanne leaves resolutely away from any photographic realism.
The Unlucky Muse of James Tissot
2012 SOLD 1.87 M$ including premium
The French artist James Tissot had come to London to paint portraits and scenes of the Victorian high society. This observer of the happy life became however the most unlucky of men.
In 1876, he became madly in love with Kate, a pretty Irish woman aged 22. But the nineteenth century is the terrible time of consumption. Very tired by the disease, Kate committed suicide in 1882.
On May 4 in New York, Sotheby's sells an oil on canvas by Tissot, 67 x 97 cm, undated. The theme is poignant. An exhausted young woman is nestled in a carriage pulled by a donkey. A young man looks at her intensely. He wants to act but does not know how. Yet life goes on. The tragic carriage comes through a field of flowers with bright and varied colors in the morning light.
Tissot had remained in contact with the French Impressionists. His best works are certainly influenced by Manet. This one is estimated $ 2M.
POST SALE COMMENT
It is not always easy to sell a painting by Tissot, and tuberculosis has become, fortunately, a particularly outdated theme. Sold $ 1.87 million including premium, this artwork has not reached its estimate.
I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's, which also discusses two paintings by Boldini.
James Tissot between France and England
2003 SOLD 1.5 M£ including premium by Christie's
Sotheby's will meet some difficulties for selling at £ 1 million their star lot of the sale of Victorian and Edwardian Art of July 15 in London.
At number 54, it is an oil on canvas by James Tissot, French painter who had a studio in London and provided a link between the two countries at the time of the Impressionists. The attitudes of his characters are indeed thinking about Manet.
Our painting, rather medium-sized (51 x 34 cm) represents a young woman heavily dressed according to fashion of the time, passing a handkerchief on the front of a fireplace, trying not to dirty her clothes. Her attitude is rigid, and the incongruous dog at her feet adds nothing to the interests of the whole.
Sotheby's, always accurate in the sources, tells us that at its previous passage it was sold at Christie's in 2003. I found it was sold £ 1.5 million costs included, which corresponds to the price of the high estimate of today.
It is long ago that Tissot paintings did not sell at these prices, as an example two of them remained unsold at Sotheby's in New York in October 2006 on an estimate of $ 1.8 million each. The trend of Tissot is therefore toward the decline, it is unlikely that this painting succeeds to counter this trend.
THE NAVY OF THE GREEK INDEPENDENCE WARS
2008 SOLD 1.6 M£ INCLUDING PREMIUM
The place occupied by Constantinos Volanakis (1837-1907) on the art market is very tight. Artvalue gives us 51 auction results on this Greek painter. The first 40 in descending price were sold in London, almost all by Sotheby's.
He was primarily a painter of marine, amateur of boats and sea shores, a topic that is often subject to special sales. His works get there very honorable results, and 15 of them have exceeded £ 200 K since this threshold has been crossed in 2003.
Sotheby's published a full press release on an oil on canvas of Volanakis estimated £ 1.5 million for the sale ofLondon on November 11, lot 11. It is very large for this artist, 146 x 219 cm, and its heroic subject is atypical compared with other works recently offered on the market. The sea is covered with tall ships that come together to liberate Athens from the Ottoman occupation.
The scene happens in 1827, and the catalog is full of historical details. Unfortunately the date of the painting is not indicated, but for sure when he painted it this type of war was already outdated. Romanticism could not accommodate the trenches of the Crimean War and Civil War.
The sale of this work is a romantic appeal to Greek patriotism. The painting will remain in Athens during the exhibition and sale (though the hammer is held in London) and the buyer must apply for an export permit if it wants to bring it out of Greece.
POST SALE COMMENT
Greek patriotism has a price, when expressed by a beautiful painting of marine: £ 1.6 million including expenses.