1880 L'Homme au Balcon by Caillebotte
2000 SOLD for $ 14.3M including premium by Christie's
narrated in 2020
Gustave Caillebotte does not need to sell his paintings. He appropriates Monet's virtuosity, which he adapts to the scenes of his familiar surrounding. He wanted to be seen as a guarantor of impressionism at a time when new styles, notably around Degas, were questioning the basics of the movement.
In his apartment, Caillebotte develops the theme of the balcony, this observatory that ensures the transition between the cozy interior and the grandiose exterior. On May 8, 2000, Christie's sold for $ 14.3M including premium L'Homme au balcon Boulevard Haussmann, oil on canvas 117 x 90 cm painted in 1880, lot 8. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
Seen from behind, the standing man looks at the boulevard above which he has a dominant position. He is a visitor : he kept his top hat according to the fashion of the time, quite similar to the one we see on photos featuring Gustave.
The balance of this composition makes it an example worthy for demonstration, which Caillebotte will exhibit in 1882 at the Septième Exposition des Artistes Indépendants. On a beautiful sunny day, the foliage and buildings appear between the wrought iron grille and the elegant two-tone canopy.
This painting was given by the artist to his notary, who is probably the bourgeois of this scene.
1880 A FOLLOWER OF Gérôme IS VISITING CAIRO
2009 SOLD 866 K$ INCLUDING PREMIUM
According to Sotheby's, Leopold Carl Müller was the founder of the Orientalist school in Austria, and had a studio in Vienna and another in Cairo. His scenes of everyday life, colorful, lively, are inspired from similar subjects by Jean-Léon Gérôme.
On October 22 in New York, Sotheby's sells a street scene. Made in 1880, this painting was immediately purchased by Vanderbilt. It was an honor for this exotic painting to be hanging in the salon of the railway mogul. It is remaining in its original frame, as Vanderbilt saw it.
The art of this painter rarely reaches high prices at auction. The sale by Sotheby's of a scene showing a classic Egyptian dancer admired and encouraged by a crowd is an exception. Estimated $ 800 K, this oil on canvas of 1882, 77 x 126 cm, was sold 1.65 million premium included on 23 October 2008.
For valueing Orientalist paintings, the subject is sometimes more important than the signature. The estimate of $ 600 K seems ambitious.
POST SALE COMMENT
Good result, 866 K$ including premium.
1881 Après le Déjeuner by Berthe Morisot
2013 SOLD for £ 7M including premium by Christie's
narrated in 2020
From 1880 Berthe and her husband Eugène Manet rent a house with a garden in Bougival to spend the summers there. At that time she was with Mary Cassatt the symbol of the renewal of impressionism by women. She juxtaposes a sharp line close to Edouard Manet with spots of vibrant colors in the style of Renoir and the light tones of Corot.
Après le déjeuner features a young woman named Marie in the sun porch of Bougival. The portrait of this friend of the family is clear and delicate, contrasting with the free mingling of flowers in the garden. The title and the colors evoke a beautiful summer afternoon.
This oil on canvas 81 x 100 cm painted in 1881 was sold for £ 7M including premium by Christie's on February 6, 2013 over a lower estimate of £ 1.5M, lot 11. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
Dans la Véranda, oil on canvas of the same size, was painted in 1884 in the same place, with the same accessories and the same surrounding : the table, the carafe, the lush flowers of the garden beyond the windows. Here the character is the child Julie Manet, the daughter of Berthe and Eugène, born in 1878, who is the favorite model of her mother's late career. This painting was sold for $ 2.5M including premium by Christie's on May 14, 2015, lot 36C.
#BertheMorisot's Après le déjeuner is a historic painting, considered by many of her contemporaries to be 'l'impressioniste par excellence'. Her works from this period combine a rich variation of brushstrokes with a sophisticated mastery of colour #IWD2020 https://t.co/uLq1EwZsvz pic.twitter.com/qLTANrgq5S— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) March 4, 2020
1881 The Diaphanous Veil
2019 sold for € 1.77m including premium
Returning to Constantinople, he is interested in traditional costumes for which he considers a possible compatibility with the modern world. On the occasion of the World's Fair in Vienna in 1873, he prepares the texts for an important edition of photographs of popular Turkish costumes.
Hamdy Bey manages in parallel the activities of an orientalist painter in the European style and of a cultural administrator for the Ottoman Empire. His career will be extremely brilliant. He will be an indefatigable promoter and educator of both archeology and modern art.
On May 30, 2008, Sotheby's sold for £ 3.4M including premium the life-size portrait of a young lady from Constantinople, oil on canvas 185 x 109 cm painted in 1881. Identical in almost every detail, a smaller version 120 x 60 cm dated of the same year has just surfaced. It is estimated € 1.5M for sale by Dorotheum in Vienna on October 23, lot 526. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The scene is staged in an interior of rich oriental fabrics and rugs. The standing woman is pretty and elegant with a beautiful outdoor coat. Although she seems to belong to the upper classes, she is not identified.
There is only one significant difference between the two paintings. She wears an oriental veil also known as yasmak of such transparency that it hides nothing of the face, contrary to the traditions. The veil goes up to the eyebrows in the life-size version but remains under the eyes in the other painting. These are fashion pictures. The woman is a supermodel of modernity in Constantinople at the time of the last Sultans.
1881 The Toiling Girls of the Sea
Homer crosses the Atlantic again in 1881. Far from the noise of the cities, he settles in a fishing village near the Tyne estuary, in the north-east of England, where he stays for two years. He is seduced by the preservation of a humble ancestral lifestyle and more particularly by the work of the girls.
The fishermen's daughters are active throughout the day and their role is vital for the village. They prepare the boat, sew up the nets, collect crabs, mussels and worms on the beach, unload the boat, carry the fish to the market while the fishermen are resting. They are young, strong, healthy and tanned.
Homer's work in Tynemouth is in some way an ethnological report, objective and without sentimentality or narration. He adopted the practice of English travelers of making sketches outdoors before painting the final work in the studio and abandoned oil painting for watercolors.
On December 11 in New York, Sotheby's sells a watercolor on paper 36 x 51 cm painted in 1881, lot 16 estimated $ 2.5M. On the beach, two barefoot girls look into the distance to watch for the return of fishing. Their big baskets are still empty.
On November 28, 2007, Sotheby's sold for $ 4.5M including premium a watercolor of the same size painted in the same year. In a yard, three girls repair baskets and nets and clean boots. A rooster and a hen are pecking. On May 9, 2018, Christie's sold for $ 4.6M including premium a watercolor of the same size painted in 1883. Three girls climbed the cliff to better watch the return of the boats.
1881 La Seine à Lavacourt, Débâcle by Monet
Monet made a series of about twenty paintings on that theme, under the title La Débâcle, meaning the demise of the ice blocks, varying the angles of view and of course the effects of the sun light on the river.
This series anticipates much of his later work. A comparison is obvious between the floating ice blocks and much later the dispersion of the nymphéas in the pond. He takes with this series the use of beginning a lot of paintings in parallel, to rework them in his studio until his contentment and to date each piece by the year of its readiness for sale. Another early series in this unprecedented process is Les Peupliers at Giverny in 1891.
Monet is too ahead of his time and this practice does not help him to recover his finances. He had neglected the official Salon since 1870. He submits two paintings in 1880. A classical Lavacourt plein air scenery is accepted but the large size Débâcle, maybe the 100 x 150 cm Effet d'hiver at sunset owned by the Petit Palais, is rejected.
On May 12, 2021 in New York, Sotheby's sells another opus from La Débâcle, lot 1008 estimated $ 6M. This oil on canvas 60 x 100 cm is dated 1881. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
Under a clouded winter sky, the thaw in its early phase hollows the ice, revealing the blue water through a geometrical pattern before the break and drift of the blocks.
1881 Bonjour Monsieur Pissarro
Paul Gauguin is a stockbroker. He collects Impressionist art and begins to paint. He is welcomed from 1879 in Pissarro's home where his extended stays captivate him much more than his job. He exhibits his artworks from the same year with the Impressionist group.
On March 29 in Paris, Sotheby's sells an oil on canvas 66 x 54 cm painted by Gauguin in 1881 in the Impressionist manner, lot 404 estimated € 600K. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The theme of this work is the little house where Pissarro had just moved in Pontoise, viewed from the garden. In the foreground a large parasol reminds how Pissarro liked to settle for outdoor painting.
The back of the canvas is painted with two self-portraits in different attitudes, in the style of uncompromising resemblance previously practiced by Pissarro, Cézanne and Guillaumin. They are the earliest known self-portraits by Paul Gauguin, certainly executed at the same time as the front side.
This conjunction offered by Gauguin of the symbolic parasol with his own faces is a testimony of his friendship at that time for his master.
1882 Dans les Roses by Renoir
2003 SOLD for $ 23.5M by Sotheby's
1882 The Modern Language of Flowers
2018 SOLD for $ 13M including premium
Manet has many friends who visit him. He has always enjoyed to meet women. After they leave, he likes to paint the bouquets they have brought. The choice of flowers nicely reflects the visitor's personality. This joyous freshness certainly soothes the sufferings of the artist.
These ultimate still lifes display roses, peonies or lilacs on a neutral background. The language of flowers is very effective in its simplicity of brush strokes and colors. The stems and the meniscus appear through the glass vase.
On June 22, 2010, Sotheby's sold a Bouquet de pivoines 55 x 42 cm for £ 7.7M including premium over a lower estimate of £ 4M.
On May 8 in New York, Christie's sells Lilas et roses, oil on canvas 32 x 25 cm, lot 7 estimated $ 7M.
Manet had presented this floral still life to the daughter of his doctor in November 1882. In her enthusiastic gratitude, the young woman commented that such flowers will never fade. Acquired in 1938 by Abby and John D. Jr, this very elegant small painting adorned the apartments of two generations of the Rockefeller family.
#LiveLikeARockefeller ‘Lilas et roses’ by #EdouardManet has brought joy to 2 generations of the Rockefeller family. “I remember very clearly this small...picture hanging in Mother’s sitting room,” David Rockefeller recalled. “It is...a painting that gives ongoing pleasure.” pic.twitter.com/FIUWrXlDTP— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) February 11, 2018
1882 The Peasant Women of the Sea
2018 SOLD for € 7.1M including premium
At almost 29 it is high time for Vincent to find a job. He imagines that by becoming an artist he may realize his dream of social helping. Fortunately his younger brother Theo supports him. Theo who is an art dealer as an employee of Goupil will provide Vincent with the hardware he needs for his new vocation. Vincent begins to inform Theo of his progress in a detailed and heart felt correspondence.
Vincent admires the painters of rural scenes. He works a bit with his distant cousin Anton Mauve but gets angry very early with him. In The Hague and at the seaside in Scheveningen, Vincent has no other influences than nature and his craze for Millet.
Vincent will however become a great artist because he is very sensitive to colors. In Scheveningen he gets into the habit of painting outdoor before, during and after the squalls. The attitudes of women who mend the fishing nets resemble Millet's peasants in the fields, and these widely extended nets create a multi-hued ground. The tumultuous sky anticipates the masterpieces of the end of his life.
On June 4 in Paris, Artcurial sells Raccommodeuses de filets dans les dunes, oil on paper 42 x 63 cm painted in August 1882 and laid down on panel, lot 14 estimated beyond € 3M. Here is the link to the press release. Please watch the video shared by the auction house. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1882 The Light of Normandy
2014 SOLD 5.7 M£ including premium
This expedition is a restart for Monet's art. He empties his images of any character to better focus on light and color. In his views of Varengeville-sur-Mer, civilization is reduced to the building and steeple of the chuch in the distance on the horizon.
Much more intensely than in his previous period, Monet permeates into the differences of atmospheres by the hours of the day. He painted four times Varengeville in a coherent series that anticipates by ten years the cathedrals of Rouen.
On February 4 in London, Christie's sells the painting of Varengeville at sunset in warm colors to which the mist brings a great subtlety. This oil on canvas 65 x 81 cm is estimated £ 4M.
Normandy excited and even revived the artistic creativity of Claude Monet, the greatest innovator of modern painting. As early as in the following year, he settled in Giverny.
POST SALE COMMENT
The very beautiful landscape by Monet was sold for £ 5.7 million including premium.
I invite you to play the video shared by Christie's :
1882 GUSTAVE CAILLEBOTTE, PAINTER AND YACHTMAN
2010 SOLD 5.1 M$ INCLUDING PREMIUM
Gustave Caillebotte was a man of many passions. Born into a wealthy family, he did not need to work for his living and was able to accompany and support the Impressionists.
Monet was in Argenteuil since 1871. In 1881, he convinced Caillebotte to settle in this small town on the Seine where he could spend his time in the double pleasure of painting and of competitive sailing.
In Argenteuil Monet had experienced with the outdoor painting, with his touch so original, his bold composition, his studies of colors and reflections. The young Caillebotte was gifted, too. His view under the bridge of Argenteuil, 66 x 82 cm, circa 1883, is worthy of Monet. It was sold for $ 8.5 million including premium at Christie's on November 6, 2008.
His views of the Seine are common, with the blue river, the reflections, the small boats, almost always in medium format. One of them, 60 x 73 cm, 1883, was sold £ 3.3 million including premium at Christie's on June 23, 2010.
An oil on canvas painted in 1882, identical in format and very similar in composition, is estimated $ 5M, for sale byChristie's in New York on November 3. It shows two small boats at rest, awaiting their sails. The press release indicates that the boats have been identified as belonging to the artist.
POST SALE COMMENT
The painting is beautiful, and very demonstrative of the best impressionist style of Caillebotte, but the subject is common for this artist. The price, $ 5.1 million including premium, is a good compromise.
1882-1884 IN THE PRIVACY OF GEORGES SEURAT
2009 SOLD 1.5 M€ INCLUDING PREMIUM
Seurat's place in the history of art is enormous. Who knows where we would have done if he were not dead, probably of diphtheria, in his 32 nd year?
Seurat was one of the most prolific researchers and experimenters of modern art. The graphic arts had been shaken by the new vision of the world brought by photography, transforming forever the realism. By positive reaction, before Seurat, the Impressionists promoted the color in place of the line.
Fascinated by the color theories, Seurat invented the pointillism. His work in oil is scarce but remarkably varied.
His Conté pencil drawings are experiments of contrasts obtained by skilled gray scales. As in his paintings, the observer must take away from the sheet for assessing the details of the work. The composition, often in close-up, is bold.
Thus, a café-concert scene at the Divan Japonais was one of the most beautiful and unexpected auction results of 2008. We see from behind, in close-up, a blurred bassist looking at a dancer who lifts up the leg. The lights of the stage complete and balance the composition. Estimated 750 K €, this drawing enhanced with gouache reached € 5 million including costs at Sotheby's in Paris on December 3.
In the same auction room, Sotheby's is selling on May 28 a drawing showing a woman and two girls, size 31 x 22 cm, probably executed between 1882 and 1884. They are seen from behind. Is it sure? All details are dimmed. Only the position of the arms of the woman, and the logic of the whole, support this assertion.
It is an intimate scene, which until 1989 belonged to the family of the model, who was the sister-in-law of the brother-in-law of the artist. This drawing was then sold by Ader Picard Tajan in Paris for 5.5 million French francs. This bid, considerable for a drawing, was one of the most remarkable results of the speculative period. In 2009, it is estimated 1 million €. This seems reasonable, as the work is not gouached and does not have the dynamics of the Divan Japonais.
POST SALE COMMENT
The arguments on this estimate were known, thanks to the two results that I mentioned above. There is no surprise, and we are pleased that the price is clearly higher than the low estimate: this drawing was sold € 1.5 million including expenses.
1882 Singer and Abonné
2018 sold for £ 9m including premium
On February 27 in London, Christie's sells an intimist and spontaneous scene titled Dans les coulisses, lot 20 estimated £ 8M. Typical of the period 1882-1885, this 67 x 38 cm artwork is a pastel on linen, a rare combination even for this artist who was looking for unprecedented solutions.
A woman and a man stand side by side in the stage wings. The young woman holds a sheet of music : this simple information is enough to identify that she is a singer waiting before performing her role. She is focused on her observation of the stage out of field of the image. She does not care about the man who is yet very close to her. He is an abonné who has subscribed for his privilege to wander everywhere inside the theater.
The composition is bold, just as Degas loved it. The man who is somehow an intruder is half off the field. The very demanding artist was satisfied with its ambience effect. In 1889 it was included in the short list of fifteen highly significant examples from his art selected by Degas himself for a lithographic edition by Thornley.
Please watch the video shared by Christie's.
Edgar Degas’s ‘Dans Les Coulisses’ will star in our Impressionist and Modern Art evening auction on 27 Feb. Chosen by Degas as one of few works to be reproduced in his lifetime, this work has not been seen in public for 10 years #Impressionism #AuctionHighlight #Christies pic.twitter.com/i8ZOu2jLg3— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) January 29, 2018
1883-1884 Study for a Bather by Seurat
2015 SOLD for £ 7.8M including premium
As Constable, Seurat built his composition in successive stages, with many preparatory drawings and paintings. He was the most innovative draughtsman of his time, mixing the subject and the background by blurring the edges. Like the Impressionists, he removes the line while strictly maintaining shapes, proportions and perspectives.
On February 3 in London, Sotheby's sells a drawing for the nude of a young boy which is one of the earliest studies for La Baignade. This drawing in conté pencil on paper, 32 x 24 cm, may have been executed as early as 1883. It is estimated £ 5M, lot 13.
The boy is viewed in profile with a detailed anatomy. His attitude of cry for echo was kept unchanged in the full size version where he is the bather in the foreground with shorts. The drawing offered a chiaroscuro effect that has not been used in the painting.
1884 A Bourgeois at Gennevilliers
2019 SOLD for $ 19.7m including premium
Caillebotte does not need money. His works are most often in relation with his private life, in Paris, Gennevilliers or Trouville. In the early 1880s he desires to be the representative of the earliest Impressionist style and manages to move away from the group, having therefore more time for hobbies and painting.
He has many friends, including a former school fellow named Richard Gallo of whom he has made since 1878 several salon portraits. He manages to attract this young townsman for a visit to Gennevilliers.
On November 12 in New York, Sotheby's sells Richard Gallo et son chien Dick au Petit-Gennevilliers, lot 25 estimated $ 18M. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
This very large oil on canvas 89 x 116 cm painted in 1884 has an unconventional composition as it was liked by Caillebotte or Degas. The Seine river displays all its colors and reflections. On the other side, sparse little houses reveal that we are not in Paris.
In contrast, the bank at the foreground is poorly lit. The bourgeois follows the dog from a distance, without obstructing the central view to the river. Both are seen in profile as silhouettes. They are in the fashion of Paris, the man with his frock coat, hat and cane and the poodle shorn "à la lion".
The river seems to be the main theme of this painting. Exhibited in 1888 with the title Portrait de M. R.G., it was indeed considered by the artist as a portrait of his friend, perhaps meaning nicely that the social gap between city and countryside is not irremediable. Presented by the artist to Gallo, it was not included in the bequest of the Caillebotte collection to the French state.
1884 Sisley in Moret
2012 sold 1.5 M€ including premium
In 1863, four apprentices are fleeing an academic workshop. They share a basic idea. The oil painting should be doneoutdoors, with the easel facing the scenery, directly, without preliminary sketching. The goal is to create an intensesynergy between the atmosphere of the place and the sensitivity of the artist.
I do not know who was the leader. Their personal styles will diverge, but no doubt today that their initiative has revolutionized the European art: Renoir, Monet, Bazille and Sisley.
Alfred Sisley remains for his entire career a landscape painter. From 1880, his main theme is the river that flows through the pretty village of Moret-sur-Loing. He will forever keep the purity of the first vision of the Impressionists,with proportionally perfect elements whose line fades behind the vibration of color.
Like Monet in Argenteuil before him, he varies the views to the infinite. Like Monet in Normandy after him, he capturesthe changing light of the hours of the day. But the work of Sisley is too localized, and his glory will be posthumous.
On December 19 in Paris, Beaussant-Lefèvre sells an oil on canvas painted in 1884, 50 x 65 cm, showing the colors of the evening on the river and its banks. The estimate, € 600K, seems too conservative.
POST SALE COMMENT
It seemed certain that the estimate was too low. This painting was sold € 1.21 million before fees.
1884 The Anars !
2011 SOLD 420 K€ including premium
In Paris at the dawn of the twentieth century, they liked to display an elegant and carefree life style. Jean Béraud, contemporary of Boldini, is known as one of the painters of the Belle Epoque. Elegant characters are strolling with complacency on the boulevards.
Béraud also enjoys social themes and genre scenes: cafés, game rooms. It is unclear whether his painting dated 1884 showing an anarchist meeting is for political sympathy or just an artist's theme.
In the salle Graffard in front of an excited crowd, five activists occupy a large platform draped in bright red. Arm raised, one of them delivers a violent harangue.
They are the successors of the revolutionary losers of the Commune de Paris of 1871, chasing the same social utopias and accepting violence. Ten years later, a wave of bloody attacks was to discredit them forever. In the twentieth century, they will be called the Anars. They maintained some sympathy with their political naivety but their radicalism continued to frighten.
Estimated € 350K, this painting is included in the sale of the Fabius collection in Paris on October 26 and 27 by Sotheby's in association with PIASA. Subject to confirmation with the publication of the catalog, it is (probably) the oil on canvas 80 x 120 cm sold by Beaussant Lefèvre in Paris on December 10, 2003 for € 440K excluding fees, 507K including premium.
POST SALE COMMENT
This painting is a surprising dipping into the mood of the politically turbulent late nineteenth century. It was sold € 420K including premium.
The image is shared on the web by Wikimedia Commons by courtesy of Sotheby's :
1884 The President of the Salons
William Bouguereau symbolizes the French academicism. His drawing and colors are impeccable. The themes are secondary, simple pretexts to show the beauty of young adults naked or almost naked. He becomes in 1876 member of the Académie des Beaux Arts, in 1881 president of the Section Peinture of the new Salon and in 1883 president of the Société des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Architectes et Graveurs.
Monsieur le Président must lead by example to promote his artistic conception. For his personal contributions to the Salon, he now paints his characters in life-size on 3 meter high canvases.
The culmination of this trend is La Jeunesse de Bacchus, oil on canvas 330 x 610 cm completed in December 1883, dated 1884 and exhibited at the Salon of 1884. This frieze features three groups dancing in the sunlight while Silene on one side and two centaurs playing the flute on the other side remain in the shade of the wood. Bacchus is a four-year-old with curly hair like the grandson of the artist. Perched on the shoulders of a man, he dominates the joyful bacchanal while brandishing a cymbal.
After the Exposition Universelle of 1889, Bouguereau refused to sell this artwork. It was waiting in his Parisian studio for another opportunity to support its increasingly outdated style. It is estimated $ 25M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on May 14, lot 38.
Please watch the two videos shared by Sotheby's. One of them shows the difficulty of moving this monumental canvas from the artist's studio with its frame estimated at about 600 Kg. The image was found on Wikimedia.
1885 A Summer with Seurat
2018 SOLD for $ 34M including prmium
Everything is important but everything is mingled. An image with rising lines and warm colors will look optimistic. The Grande Jatte will have to be chilling, with an invading shadow in the foreground and stiff figures symbolizing the aberrations of the bourgeoisie.
The young artist is receptive to ideas about the balance of colors. Chevreul's psychophysiological observations that the vision of a pure color is accompanied by the perception of a halo of its complementary color convince him that the composition of the colors of a painting must not slavishly follow the nature.
Seurat spends the summer 1885 at the seaside, in Grandcamp, on the advice of Signac who also invites him to take an interest in intense lights. Seurat then tests with marine views his interpretation of Chevreul's theories, developing his new technique of dividing colors by horizontal brush strokes that will soon become dots. He names that practice the chromo-luminarisme.
On May 8 in New York, Christie's sells as lot 18 La Rade de Grandcamp, oil on canvas 65 x 81 cm on the rather happy theme of a regatta of horizontally aligned white sails.
The achievement of the Grandcamp series pleases him. Back in his studio, he retouches the Grande Jatte by reducing chromatic variations and by introducing the pointillism. When this work is completed in 1886, it triggers the inevitable break with the Impressionnistes. Only Fénéon is convinced. In 1887 Fénéon coins the neo-Impressionist wording to try showing that Seurat's art is not an opposition to Impressionism but another step on the path to a new art.
Passionate about his theories, Seurat retouched his artworks. Rade de Grandcamp is perhaps the only example left in its original state from his very first experiences in complementary color techniques.
1885 Snow and Frost at Giverny
2013 SOLD 8.8 M£ including premium
In January 1885, snow fell in Giverny. Monet was captivated by this art of Nature. Van Gogh will also dazzle at his arrival in Arles in a wonderful post-snow day of February 1888.
Already the Impressionism of Monet highlights texture instead of forms. The oil on canvas, 54 x 71 cm, for sale by Sotheby's in London on February 5 is a scene of frost in the gently filtered light of winter.
Giverny is welcoming, even in these extreme weather conditions. In the distance, two small figures contrast with the white world. Positioned near the edge of the painting, they do not disturb the magic serenity of the frozen nature.
This painting is estimated £ 4M. Here is the link to the catalog.
Monet made nine paintings after this snowfall.
One of them, 65 x 85 cm, is showing nature when it begins to shed its white blanket. Its composition is perhaps less poetic, but the subtlety of the snowy surface is an exceptional impressionist feat. It was sold £ 8.2 million including premium by Sotheby's on February 8, 2012.
POST SALE COMMENT
The price of this Monet, £ 8.8 million including premium, is comparable and even slightly better than the painting of the same series sold exactly one year ago in the same auction room.
Shared by Sotheby's on Wikimedia :
1885 Welcome to Giverny
2012 SOLD 8.2 M£ including premium
In January 1885 he is at home. One of his favorite themes is made available to him in all its glory: the light of winter on a snowy landscape. The oil on canvas, 65 x 85 cm, for sale by Sotheby's in London on February 8 is as welcoming as an image of Christmas. The snow-covered road leads to the entrance of the village.
Among the leafless trees that twist in the cold, the road is white. Specifically it gives the "impression" of being white, without being immaculated. This beautiful atmosphere effect is achieved by a meticulous tangle of colors, indeed like a school case demonstrating the technique of the most subtle of the impressionist painters.
This painting is estimated £ 4.5 M. Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
This interesting and nice painting was sold £ 8.2 million including premium.
1885 Danseuse by Degas
2021 SOLD for $ 11.8M by Sotheby's
The dance was Degas's preferred theme for expressing textures and movement. This picture has been designed as an enchantment both by the attitude of the young ballerina and by the harmony and variety of light colors. She is viewed in full length in close-up, alone on stage, beginning her dance, the torso slightly leaning forward, with a highly elegant position of fingers and legs.
Danseuse jaune, a pastel of the same girl in exactly the same attitude and angle of view but with another background, dated ca 1885, was sold by Sotheby's for $ 8.7M on November 12, 1996. A significant difference is the ecstatic smile in the pastel of the next sale. These views display an empathy that departs from the images of young bodies tired by the performance.
They could be portraits of Marie, whom Degas met for the first time in 1879 when she was still a teenager in an unfinished growth. During the 1880s Degas was keen to follow her transformation and her progress. The pretty and delicate young woman, 20 years old in 1885, used to serve as a model for the artists.
#AuctionUpdate: Once in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for nearly 70 years, Edgar Degas’s Danseuse brings $11.8 million. This dazzling work on paper is a fully worked & richly pigmented composition of Degas’s most iconic motif: the Parisian ballet. pic.twitter.com/a9D9acVVHa— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) May 13, 2021
1885 The Tired Dancer
Once is not customary : Vincent makes a good decision. At the end of November 1885 he comes to live in Antwerp. He frenziedly visits wharves, cafes, and the museums where he discovers the skills of Rubens.
As always girls are reluctant to pose for him. With a little money sent by Theo, he manages to pay for a sitting session a dancer of one of the main cafés-concerts of Antwerp.
The expressive face of the girl pleases the artist. She speaks a little : her job as a dancer and escort is tiring and champagne makes her sad. Vincent now has all the elements to bring psychological depth into a portrait. With this highly appreciated theme, his career may start.
Painted in December 1885 in Antwerp, Portrait of a woman with a red ribbon, left profile, oil on canvas 60 x 50 cm, is estimated £ 8M for sale by Christie's in London on February 27, lot 15. The slightly open mouth reveals the sensuality of a melancholy song. The session was brief and the technique is fast and spontaneous. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
Many works painted by Vincent in Antwerp and attested in his letters to Theo disappeared, probably early scrapped. Vincent is rightly satisfied with his portrait of a cabaret girl that he will offer two years later to the very young Emile Bernard, probably in an exchange against brothel scenes.
The boss of the dancer did not like her escapade and she will not see the artist again. Vincent did not identify her name in his letters to Theo : like the peasants of Nuenen, she was for him a pictorial type, not a person. Appreciating that he has just entered modern art, Vincent arrives in Paris at the end of February 1886 with the desire to discover the Impressionist painting.
1885 At the Fair in Ukraine
The Peredvizhniki or Itinerants painted the deep roots of the provinces of the Russian Empire. Their realistic landscapes are still famous, but some of these artists, including the Makovsky brothers, preferred human themes withan almost ethnographic sympathy for popular activities.
Fairs, where customers and beggars flock amidst the goods displayed on the ground, are the ideal excuse to show thecrowds. A rag market in Moscow, 161 x 261 cm, painted by Vladimir Makovsky in 1880, was sold £ 1.33 millionincluding premium by Sotheby's on November 24, 2008.
Vladimir loved Ukraine, where he made numerous sketches on the spot. He spent too little time to turn them intoambitious compositions, and his oil paintings from that period are rare.
The view of a fair in Little Russia, 113 x 180 cm, executed in 1885, is estimated £ 1.5 million, for sale on November28 in London by Bonhams. The artist gave a specific dynamic input to this lively scene through an asymmetrical composition. Here is the link to the catalog.
1885 Walter Osborne in the Farmyard
Walter Osborne was one of the best Irish artists of the late nineteenth century. In his youth he took as a favorite theme the rural life which he observed at home and during trips in Brittany and England.
On July 11 in London, Bonhams sells an oil on canvas, 91 x 71 cm, showing a girl throwing seeds to the chickens in a farmyard.
Estimated £ 500K, this artwork is dated 1885. Then 26 years old, Osborne was influenced by realistic outdoor rural artists and especially by the French Jules Bastien-Lepage. His farm girl is looking like Bouguereau's child peasants. Here is the link to the catalog.
Osborne had many qualities to become an outstanding artist. His style became increasingly impressionistic. It is considered that his untimely death in 1903 came at the time of his greater artistic maturity.
The sale of this lot is a nice opportunity to rediscover Walter Osborne. Bonhams just illustrated his page in Wikipedia with this painting.
1886 indoor nudes by edgar degas
2017 sold for £ 5.5m including premium
I discussed it as follows in 2015 :
Despite their opposition to the bourgeois taste for classical art, the Impressionist painters had indeed to seek resources for living. The solution is found by a dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, who organizes their first New York exhibition in the very year of the eighth and final exhibition of the Parisian group in 1886.
The Impressionists had cultivated their new methods of painting but they were not theorists. Their time as a group had gone. Manet was dead. Monet had fled the city. Newcomers relied upon the consequences of their innovations to go further in expression and color : Cézanne, Gauguin, van Gogh, Seurat.
Keen on the idea of free art, Degas accompanied from end to end the Impressionist movement which he once wanted to name Les Intransigeants (hardliners). His own technique is however different. He is the master of pastel in bright colors that do not cancel the drawing.
In that crisis of the end of Impressionism, Renoir and Degas go back to the influence from Ingres. Their humble women are busy in quiet occupations where full nudity does not shock : bathing, washing herself, combing her hair. In the hues of realistic colors, outdoor nudes by Renoir are ideal characters while indoor nudes by Degas are detailed in an excess that will be criticized as misogyny.
Around 1886 pastels by Degas display a high sensitivity in the colors of the nude dominated by flesh and by red hair. The blurred background helps to reach a sweet harmony. Later his colors will become bolder and less appealing.
The artwork for sale stages a woman seen from the back, combing her mane-like hair. This pastel on paper laid down on board 71 x 59 cm is not dated but displays the style and features of that period.
1886 Red Poppies in the Twilight
2016 SOLD for $ 6.9M including premium
John was a child prodigy. The Impressionists did not however welcome him into their ranks because he was a pupil of Carolus-Duran who taught an academic classicism in Paris. John specialized in the society portrait. In 1884 he painstakingly painted the Portrait de Madame X which made a scandal by its plunging neckline. The artist was too far ahead of the couture fashion of the following century.
Disgusted by the failure of this artwork which he considered as his best painting he traveled to England in August 1885. Shortly after his arrival, he was injured in the head while swimming in the Thames, sufficiently seriously for a friend to require him to have some convalescence in the English countryside. The accident triggered a reorientation of his art.
John had visited Giverny just before and he was encouraged by Monet to paint outdoors. He conceived an ambitious composition showing two small girls in a garden in a contrasting light of late afternoon. This painting will be completed in the following year and titled Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by reference to a nursery rhyme. It is a masterpiece of the artist and a turning point in his career.
On May 18 in New York, Sotheby's sells Poppies, oil on canvas 62 x 91 cm painted in 1886 in England during the preparation of Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. It is estimated $ 4M, lot 8.
The colors are vibrant but the modernism lies in the theme and composition of this humble piece of grass slope, anticipating by four years the interest of Van Gogh in Auvers for wild flowers. Red poppies and other flowers are the only subject of this magnificent painting without further forefront and whose background is completely darkened in the excuse of the nightfall.
I invite you to watch the video shared by Sotheby's (below).
1887 The Beauty of Andromeda
2017 SOLD for € 3.7M including premium
In two very similar variants Rodin expresses both the smooth body of the woman and her rough surrounding. The marble will be the perfect material to reveal the sensuality of that woman who is born from the ground.
The largest of these variants, 70 cm long, is La Source, a very popular theme in the 19th century where an abundant hair descends like a waterfall. It will become La Danaïde. The other version, 30 cm long, which does not have this capillary excess is slumped over a spectacular rock. It will be Andromeda, the young mythological heroine tortured because of her supreme beauty.
On May 30 in Paris, Artcurial sells a marble dated 1887 of the smaller version. In the following year, Rodin had presented it to a Chilean diplomat in re-exchange for the bust of his wife, so charming that the French government had wanted to own it. This Andromède has been hoarded up to now in the family of the diplomat proud of the friendship with the great artist. It is estimated € 800K, lot 6.
Four other Andromède marbles are known. One of them executed circa 1895 was sold for $ 3,04M including premium by Christie's on November 8, 2006 over a lower estimate of $ 500K. A Danaïde bronze made in the same period was sold for $ 1.7M including premium by Christie's on November 5, 2014.
Please watch the video shared by Artcurial :
1887 Tutus and Dance Shoes
2021 SOLD for € 2.7M including premium
The dance uniform is the tutu, composed of a corselet and a puffed skirt mounted on several superimposed petticoats and embellished with a large bow in the shape of a butterfly. The colors are clear in harmony with the skin. This recent fashion was inaugurated by Marie Taglioni in 1832, two years before the artist's birth.
Opéra girls are capable of all contortions, without effort. The foot is an object of constant attention. Degas watches the dancer lacing up her pink shoe before entering the stage or massaging her foot after the performance.
A 50 x 62 cm pastel painted in 1887 was sold for £ 4.5M including premium by Sotheby's on February 5, 2013. The girl sits in an acrobatic position, with her head below knee level. She is seen from the front in a framing of high originality, and the raising tutu makes her a huge butterfly.
On March 25 in Paris, Sotheby's sells a 47 x 33 cm pastel painted in the same period, lot 3 estimated € 2M. The predominantly green tutu is actually made of a subtle mix of colors that have remained in very good condition. The sitting position is eccentric and of great spontaneity, with the long hair falling in front of the face in this forward movement to catch the foot. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
1887-1889 flowers in the garden
Monet remains a reference. Young artists express the beauty of a little detail of nature, simply. Moving away from the traditional landscape and still life, they open the path to abstract expressionism. Returning to England after a visit to Giverny, Sargent painted in 1886 a humble embankment of poppies with brilliant colors.
Vincent van Gogh is in Paris in 1886. He admits that until then he had no knowledge of current art. He had admired Millet, Daubigny and Mesdag. He integrates his discovery of Impressionnisme with dazzling energy but, always in quest for a personal and perfect art, he does not imitate them.
In 1886 Vincent painted many views of Paris. In the following year he worked beside Signac on views of the Parc Voyer d'Argenson overlooking the Seine at Asnières.
In his 1889 and 1890 pictures in Provence and Auvers, the influence of Signac on Vincent remains important : the overall effect of a painting is brought by tiny elements of bright colors. For the detail of this texture, Vincent will rather retain the long brush strokes intertwined in the white snows of Monet.
On November 11 in New York, Christie's sells as lot 40 A Coin de jardin avec papillons, oil on canvas 50 x 61 cm painted by Vincent. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
Its painstaking realization suggested that it was painted in Arles in the spring of 1889. New analyzes lead experts from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to propose an execution in the spring of 1887. If so, Vincent had experienced in the Asnières garden a style that he will use more regularly two years later. In his bulimic zeal to master the art of painting in its entirety, this hypothesis is also plausible.
1888 The Neighbors to the Maison Jaune
2015 SOLD for $ 7.6M including premium
He becomes friend with the facteur (postman) Roulin and makes portraits of all the members of the family. Vincent is happy to meet this group which he describes as very French, but not without a second thought.
He knows that he will soon need to sell paintings and the Roulin portraits can be used as demonstrators of his expertise. He can not envisage the future without the cooperation of Theo whom he floods of detailed letters in which he expresses his creative process.
On July 31, 1888, Madame Roulin gives birth to a daughter named Marcelle. Vincent welcomes this new model. On November 5 in New York, Sotheby's sells a portrait of the baby Roulin, oil on canvas 36 x 25 cm painted in December 1888, lot 17 estimated $ 3.5M.
Marcelle is healthy and not concerned by the artist, and her picture is a very interesting snapshot (probably from a preliminary drawing which is not documented). The infant is seated, dressed in white with a nice cap. The eyes are wide open but it is by touching that she begins to explore the world, playing with her fingers.
1888 The Atmosphere of a Paris Quai
1998 SOLD 3 M$ including premium by Christie's
2011 SOLD 2.1 M$ including premium
The art of Childe Hassam was deeply influenced by his three year stay in Paris from 1886 to 1888. Coming from Boston, the young American rejected the Academic schools to concentrate in the ambience of the city.
In Paris at that time, the glory of an artist came through acceptance of his works in the official Salons. Hassam sees the art of Monet and Pissarro and develops a kind genre based on attitudes and colors of everyday life.
Painted in 1888, the oil on canvas 55 x 71 cm titled Quai St Michel, captures the mood of a cloudy day on the banks of the Seine, with its stalls of booksellers, its elegant women and the walkers. It precedes by two decades the street scenes of Paris by Pierre Bonnard.
Back in the U.S., Hassam will be the painter of park and garden scenes and is now considered as the most important American Impressionist.
Quai St Michel was sold for $ 3M including premium at Christie's on May 21, 1998. It is estimated $ 2.5 million at Sotheby's in New York on May 19.
POST SALE COMMENT
Sold $ 2.1 million including premium, this painting from the training period of the artist did not reach its lower estimate, far away from its 1998 price.
This painting is illustrated on the post sale release shared by Artdaily.
1888 Spring from Montmajour
2013 SOLD 400 K€ including premium
On November 29, 2013, Auctionata sold for € 400K including premium a drawing made by van Gogh when he impregnated himself with the harmony of Provence countryside, so opening one of the most prolific adventures in modern art. Auctionata had made a pre sale video including a demonstrative sequence at the very place where Vincent was.
This artwork is now estimated £ 400K for sale by Christie's in London on June 24, lot 19. Here is how I had announced it last year :
Van Gogh moves to Arles in February 1888. He knows what he wants : the perfect harmony of a landscape that will allow him to enter into communion with the land. He immediately starts working. On that year, the sunlight on the snow is wonderful.
In spring, nature awakens and Vincent easily finds the perfect view to the countryside. He will do very frequent walks to Montmajour abbey. Same as an ancient traveler would have done, he draws a sketch on the spot by pencil on paper and afterward enhances the image in his studio.
The drawing for sale, 29 x 47 cm, was signed by Vincent in May 1888. It is showing the plain of La Crau towards the Alpilles. This work is part of the first series of drawings made by Vincent from Montmajour. He early sent them to Theo to share with him the scenery of his new paradise.
The underneath graphite sketch is the basis for the ink drawing that is not trying to be too close to the original line.Vincent has used black and purple inks, but unfortunately purple has now turned into sepia.
The black drawing is very beautiful and it is an important document to appreciate the come back of Vincent to the land, much more subtle than a simple ambition to match the Japanese landscape art. The fading of the purple probably explains why the estimate established by Auctionata is low : € 360K.
Here is the video shared by Auctionata :
1888 DEGAS BEHIND THE STAGE
Edgar Degas was one of the greatest innovators of modern art. He used original or unusual techniques such as pasteland monotype. Also a photographer, he composed his graphic works with angles and compositions altogether boldand balanced.
In selecting the ballerinas as the favorite theme of his pastels, he was aware of taking a completely different directionfrom that of his Impressionist friends who advocated the outdoor work.
His models are kind girls, sometimes very young, who are concentrated in preparing their performance. Their infiniteflexibility is a theme in itself, especially in the extreme variety of the position of the legs.
They have charmed the collectors of art. On November 3, 2008, Sotheby's recorded $ 37M including premium for a ballerina at rest of 1879 in pastel and gouache, 59 x 64 cm.
Two older ballerinas prepare for going on stage at Christie's in London on June 21. The bodice, the tutu, the fan create a pleasant atmosphere of soft and bright colors. Made circa 1888, this pastel, 60 x 34 cm, is estimated £ 4M.