See also : Cézanne Degas Gauguin Seurat and Signac Midi
L'Estaque by CEZANNE
1883-1885 aux toits rouges
2021 SOLD for $ 55M by Christie's
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.
In the early 1880s Cézanne rents a small house in L'Estaque, away from his family left to live in Aix. He works outdoor like the Impressionnistes, but his synthetic and cloisonné analysis of shapes and colors is paving the way for the 20th century art. He is already meticulously in quest of the perfection of colors in their whole range. He manages to provide to the viewer a sensation instead of a mere copy of the landscape.
Painted in that early phase between 1883 and 1885, L'Estaque aux toits rouges is a significant demonstrator of these fertile experiments. In this panoramic view from the top of the hill, the contrast is striking between the geometric pattern of sun bathed houses with no shadow and the blue hues of sky and sea.
This oil on canvas 65 x 81 cm was sold for $ 55M from a lower estimate of $ 35M by Christie's on November 11, 2021, lot 10C. Please watch the video shared by the auction house. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
A view boldly enclosing the same panorama in a vertical format, oil on canvas 73 x 60 cm painted in 1885, was sold for £ 13.5M by Christie's on February 4, 2015, lot 8.
These pictures had a direct influence on the development of the Cubisme by Braque.
2015 SOLD for £ 13.5M by Christie's
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.
1885 La Rade de Grandcamp by Seurat
2018 SOLD for $ 34M by Christie's
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, 2018, Christie's sold as lot 18 for $ 34M 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 Giverny by MONET
2013 SOLD for £ 8.8M by Sotheby's
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, listed by Sotheby's on February 5, 2013 is a scene of frost in the gently filtered light of winter. It was sold for £ 8.8M from a lower estimate of £ 4M, lot 16. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
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.
2012 SOLD for £ 8.2M by Sotheby's
Undeterred by the harsh conditions, the artist rushes outdoors to paint, producing nine views on canvas before snow and ice melt.
Four of these pictures feature the snow-covered road entering the village from the east. The first one, 65 x 81 cm, taken while the snow was still falling in storm, was sold for $ 1.4M by Christie's on December 1, 2006, lot 324.
As welcoming as an image of Christmas, an oil on canvas 65 x 85 cm was sold by Sotheby's for £ 8.2M from a lower estimate of £ 4.5 M on February 8, 2012.
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.
A sunset version of the same scenery, 65 x 81 cm, was sold for $ 5.2M by Christie's on November 5, 2013, lot 37. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The final painting in the sequence depicts the site in bright sunshine under a blue sky.
summer Les Meules
2015 SOLD for $ 16.4M by Christie's
Monet moved further away from Paris. He settled in 1883 in Giverny with Alice and the eight children of this recomposed family. The difficult period that followed the death of Camille is finally over.
Village life is a delight for Monet. During the cold 1885 winter, his observation of frost leads to a direct interpretation of the changing colors of nature.
Then comes the summer. Claude and Alice love to finish the day in the meadow separated from their garden by a brook lined with poplars. The harvest is performed and the haystacks are awaiting to enter into the barn.
On May 14, 2015, Christie's sold for $ 16.4M an oil on canvas 65 x 81 cm dated 1885, lot 15C.
The composition is balanced, as always. A shadow is approaching the foot of the sun drenched stacks. In this soft shadow, halfway between the position of the artist and the poplars, the woman and three young children transform this peaceful landscape into a scene of intimate happiness.
1882-1885 Dans les Coulisses
2018 SOLD for £ 9M by Christie's
On February 27, 2018, Christie's sold for £ 9M an intimist and spontaneous scene titled Dans les coulisses, lot 20. 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
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.
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 Danseuse Jaune
1996 SOLD for $ 8.7M by Sotheby's
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.
1885 Nature Morte by Gauguin
2023 SOLD for $ 10.4M by Sotheby's
After the 1882 financial crash that deeply affected the art market, he plans to become a full time artist. Looking for a cheaper life, he moves to Rouen. His next move is to Copenhagen with his Danish born wife Mette and their five children.
Wanting to part away from the the impressionniste touch and to develop a personal style, Gauguin looked at the bold colors in Cézanne's still lifes, of which he owned a Compotier, verre et pommes.
In 1885 soon after arriving in Copenhagen, Gauguin painted a still life with some private objects, in the style of Cézanne. This includes on the dressed table an opulent bouquet of peonies in a vase on a placemat, a ceramic plate and his beloved mandolin. A painting by Guillaumin is hanging on the wall. The off center composition may evoke Degas.
This oil on canvas 62 x 51 cm was fraudulently acquired in 1940 from the estate of Vollard. After decades of exhibition successively at the Louvre, Jeu de Paume and Musée d'Orsay, it was restituted to Vollard's heirs in February 2023.
It was sold for $ 10.4M by Sotheby's on May 16, 2023, lot 110. The image is shared by Wikimedia. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
Gauguin's life in Copenhagen was a failure. In the same year Mette required him to leave and he returned to Paris. The nature morte aux pivoines de chine et mandoline predates by one year his keen involvement in ceramics with Chaplet.