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 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 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 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 Colors over Marseille
2015 SOLD for £ 13.5M including premium
L'Estaque is one of his first choices, prompted by memories from his youth when his mother had rented a cottage for summer holidays. From the top of the hill and beyond the houses, the bay and the islands of Marseille offer a vast and sumptuous panorama.
From 1883 to 1886, Cézanne rented a small house in L'Estaque. He works outdoor like the Impressionists, but his synthetic and cloisonné analysis of shapes and colors are already paving the way for modern art and cubism.
On February 4 in London, Christie's sells a view of L'Estaque probably painted in the spring or early summer of 1885. This oil on canvas 73 x 60 cm is estimated £ 8M, lot 8.
For such a panoramic theme, Cézanne has the audacity to try a vertical format. The trees that frame the view while masking the lateral coasts provide the same invitation to the infinite as the future colored rectangles by Mondrian.
At the end of the same decade, Monet himself will fail where Cézanne had already succeeded, in front of light and wind.
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 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 Sunset through the Poplar Trees
2015 SOLD for £ 10.8M including premium
1887 marks the culmination of this slow evolution, including improvements in the texture of his paint. An oil on canvas entitled Sous les peupliers was sold for $ 20.3M including premium by Sotheby's on November 4, 2014.
On February 3 in London, Sotheby's sells Peupliers à Giverny, lot 21 estimated £ 9M. This oil on canvas 74 x 93 cm belonged since 1951 to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The composition of this picture is powerful. Its theme is the sunset of the early autumn in high treetops where the light turns into fire whirls. Through the trees, the clear sky and the fields offer sumptuous colors. The horizon was not useful for this exceptional landscape : it is hidden by the leaves.
I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's :
1887 Renoir back to Classics
2014 SOLD 11.4 M$ including premium
Renoir exhibits his new style in 1887 with Les Grandes Baigneuses, oil on canvas 115 x 170 cm. The composition is neat, with a good balance between these happy women. The contours of their nude forms are a rejection of Impressionism by one of its main initiators. Failure is scathing.
On May 6 in New York, Christie's sells an oil on canvas of the same period, and especially illustrating the same desire of the artist to radically change his style. His work is done at that time in the studio, even for outdoor scenes.
In a meadow, five young women are playing rackets. They are dressed, but their attentive communication is similar to the Grandes Baigneuses. The figures are defined in sharp lines, leaving a reminder of impressionism only in the atmosphere of the surroundings.
This oil on canvas 55 x 65 cm is estimated $ 10M, lot 10 in the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
This interesting painting from a transition period of the artist was sold for $ 11.4 million including premium.
1887 Vincent looking at the Seine River
2013 SOLD 6.7 MCHF including premium
The accession of Van Gogh to the artistic maturity begins with his assimilation of modern art. Paris is a great location for this project. He spent two years in that city, from February 1886.
He meets the Impressionists and appreciates the importance of color. He meets the pointillists and includes the possibility of new artistic languages. He has not forgotten the Japanese prints and their expressive treatment oflandscape.
Vincent used the flowers to vary and brighten the colors and then tried his hand to the landscape. On June 21 in Zurich, Koller sells an oil on canvas 55 x 46 cm executed outdoor in 1887. This view of the pont de Clichy (Clichy bridge) is estimated CHF 5M.
The banality of this peaceful subject is superseded by the sweet harmony of colors inspired by summer light : lemon yellow, azure blue and emerald green. The perspective is minimal but the shades of the reflections in the Seine are subtle. It seems that Vincent saw this painting as one of the most successful of his Parisian landscapes.
POST SALE COMMENT
This interesting but unusual painting was certainly not easy to sell. The result, CHF 5.7 million before fees, is very good.
1887 A Slender Body ready for Ballet
2013 SOLD 4.5 M£ including premium
The girls came for working. Before going on stage, they are waiting by lacing their shoes with manic gestures. When the show is over, they seek the suitable pose for relieving their physical exhaustion. In both cases, their slender and flexible bodies take a lanky attitude inconceivable for an older woman.
On 3 November 2008, Sotheby's sold $ 37M including premium a pastel, 59 x 64 cm, made circa 1879. The exhausted girl has not yet recovered the strength to change her dress. The pastel enables a color harmony of the flesh, of the tutu and of the huge bow tied behind her belt in the stereotypical dancing fashion of that time.
The girl who comes in 1887 in another pastel, 50 x 62 cm, is certainly the same person although the face is not visible. Seated, she is is leaning for catching her foot.
Degas was a great innovator in terms of the angles of his images. Here, he looks at the girl from above, in a surreal position that the artist could not hold in reality and demonstrates the high role of imagination in his art. The crushing anamorphic plans transform the young ballerina into a butterfly with symmetrical wings in the colors of shimmering silk.
This pastel on paper is estimated £ 3M, for sale by Sotheby's in London on February 5. Here is the link to the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
The eccentric compositions of Degas pastels are extraordinary for their time.
The ballerina discussed above was sold £ 4.5 million including premium.
In the same sale, a woman after bath made a few years earlier was sold £ 7.8 million including premium.
1887 The Conquistador of Tourism
2015 SOLD for $ 5.8M including premium
The masterpiece of the Flagler empire is undoubtedly the Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine, built in 1887 in an extravagant neo-Spanish style. The two towers were not used only for prestige but were the tanks that supplied the 540 rooms in running water. The handling of the wonderful electricity was entrusted to the hotel employees to avoid scaring the guests.
Art was not forgotten and the lavish murals of the rotunda contributed to the reputation of the Ponce de Leon. Workshops were accommodated in the property for the artists.
Martin Johnson Heade had always considered himself as an itinerant painter. Married at 64 in 1883, he sought an anchor in Florida. He was a specialist in flower painting often associated with birds, and of tropical scenery. He was also a landscapist in the American romantic tradition. He preferred marshes to mountains and his idealized views cannot be located.
Heade realized for Flagler two of the murals of the Ponce de Leon. One of them titled The Great Florida Sunset is huge, 138 x 244 cm. The glowing sky of twilight terminates the day above a scenery typical of the marshes and palm groves of Florida.
A. Alfred Taubman wisely bought this oil painting to decorate his own mansion in Palm Beach. It is estimated $ 7M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on November 18, lot 11.
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 :
1887-1889 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 Bathing Beauties by Renoir
1997 SOLD 20.9 M$ including premium by Sotheby's
Not so easy, the artist's life! After the early period of enthusiasm, the Impressionists began to look for adapting their style to what they thought they could sell.
The Grandes Baigneuses by Renoir are exhibited in Paris in 1887. The line is too sharp, imitating Ingres and puzzling the friends of the artist who were probably expecting a more original evolution. They were right.
The considerable work done by Renoir for this questioned painting had a fundamental impact on his art: now, the artist is passionate about the theme of bathers.
The young woman is nude after a bath, quiet, gesturing toilet. No other accessory than a small towel, in an unimportant outdoor setting. She is the ideal woman, timeless.
Especially, the quality of the flesh is exceptional, velvety without being erotic. The synthesis of Impressionist experience and Ingresque ideal pushes Renoir to the level of Rubens.
A Baigneuse, oil on canvas 65 x 55 cm painted in 1888, is estimated £ 12M, for sale by Christie's in London on June 20.
Auctions have already consecrated this Baigneuse as a masterpiece. On 13 November 1997, Sotheby's sold it for $ 20.9 million including premium, and this price has never been exceeded at auction for a nude by Renoir.
POST 2012 SALE COMMENT
A generally well-informed observer said that this painting was sold before the auction and therefore has not been submitted.
This only happens for real masterpieces.
1888 signac facing the sea
2018 sold for $ 13.8m including premium
Seurat finishes his Dimanche après-midi à l'Ile de la Grande Jatte in 1886. For the first time he had applied in large size his understanding of Chevreul's theories on the persistence of colors. The preparation was long and tedious and the dull result is mostly suitable for the hermetic social message of the artist.
During summers Signac and Seurat work in different villages without meeting each other. These sessions are however carefully prepared and when they come back in their workshops the comparison of their results confirms the consistency of their practices.
Signac pushes Seurat to an observation of bright lights. He paves that way, in 1886 in the Seine valley, in 1887 at Collioure and in 1888 in Brittany at Portrieux. During these three summers Signac improves his pointillism. At the same time his landscape becomes minimalist to better exploit the confrontation of colors.
On May 8 in New York, Christie's sells as lot 21 a view in Portrieux. This oil on canvas 60 x 92 cm may be considered as the culmination of the 1888 summer season by Signac, with a composition dominated throughout its lower part by the almost monochrome yellow expanse of the sandy beach, contrasting with the pointillist blue of the sea.
Signac will find in 1892 a brighter sun in Saint-Tropez. The view of the houses with their reflections in the sea, 47 x 55 cm, was sold for $ 10.7M including premium by Sotheby's on May 9, 2016.
Pointillism was not highly spectacular except in an extreme yellow or orange. Signac and van Rysselberghe are perhaps the only ones to have understood and briefly applied such observation.
1888 Monet in Antibes
2014 SOLD 8 M£ including premium
Their quests are opposite. Vincent finds the purity of light, but Monet for the first time is fairly short to transcribe all the subtle shades of color.
During three and a half months, Monet executes his usual approach of selecting some typical views and observing the variations by the hours of the day. But he is not in Normandy. When the sky is clear, the light is so beautiful that extreme hours become secondary. Monet does not find in Antibes that brutality which he loves so much in nature. His color studies however anticipate the series of Meules (haystacks), painted in 1890.
The shining light of Provence has won. The best paintings from his Antibes residence show a blazing sun, but in views that are as topographic as a Vernet. The sea is deep blue while the variations between sky and mountains create a wonderful atmosphere. The ground in full sunlight displays a harmony of rare colors.
On June 23 in London, Sotheby's sells one of the best views of Antibes by Monet. The pretty town is in bright light on the other side of the bay. There is virtually no shadow. This oil on canvas 65 x 92 cm is estimated £ 6M, lot 8.
POST SALE COMMENT
The bright landscape at Antibes was sold for £ 8M including premium.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's to introduce the Monet paintings from the Wilson collection.
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.
1889 Lautrec's Neighbour
2011 SOLD 5.6 M£ including premium
The artist, 25 years old, had already developed his technique of painting à l'essence, which favors pastel colors while retaining the qualities of oil paint. The intimate portrait of Hélène is a good example.
The girl is at home, dressed in a night blouse. Seated at a table, she reads a book carefully, like a schoolgirl. The image is focused on the face and on the long light brown hair. In a great demonstration of the possibilities of post-Impressionism, the rest of the scene, less important, has little contrast.
Lautrec worked from photographs, which had the advantage of avoiding tedious sittings for the model and encouraged spontaneity.
This nice painting on board, 68 x 61 cm, estimated £ 5M is for sale by Sotheby's in London on June 22.
POST SALE COMMENT
This pretty painting deserves its price, £ 5.6M including premium.