See also : Klimt Cézanne Gauguin Art on paper Sculpture by painters French sculpture London and Venice Northern Europe Time pieces Clocks Silverware Tropical Africa Congo
1902 Girls on the Bridge by Munch
2016 SOLD for $ 55M by Sotheby's
The legitimate hope for a happy life mercilessly leads to the forbidden love with the Vampire, the untold abortion of Madonna and the open madness of the Scream. The line and color are a scathing expression, after Gauguin and Van Gogh, before Matisse, Kirchner and Kandinsky.
His characters play the tragedy of a mental loneliness which is not canceled by their presence in or near a group. Sometimes the stage is guarded on one side by an endless railing over which one or more actors will come at some time to meditate while leaning over the water. This theatrical similarity is the terrible common feature between the Scream, paroxysm of terror, and the very peaceful Girls on the bridge.
In 1901 and 1902, Munch painted several versions of Girls on the bridge, with various position of the characters. One of these artworks brings a little more hope than the other ones. Far away from the suicidal railing, it displays a tight group of four in an attitude conducive to opening a discussion but indeed still not to the exchange of secrets.
This oil on canvas 101 x 102 cm painted in 1902 was sold by Sotheby's for $ 30.8M on May 7, 2008, and for $ 55M on November 14, 2016, lot 12.
1902 Le Parlement by Monet
2015 SOLD for $ 40.5M by Christie's
The artist returns alone in the following year to the same hotel for a longer stay, in February and March. He loved the winter fog of London. Not for its mist but for its ever vanishing colors.
After Constable, Monet was a skilled interpreter of the English sky. He was more directly influenced from the atmosphere of London by Turner in the 1830s and by the nocturnal colors of the Thames by Whistler in the 1870s.
The light changes at every moment with the clouds pushed by the wind and the instability of the fog. He observes that some effects of light through the fog do not exceed five minutes. His control is total and even his method for applying his brush varies depending on the desired effect.
He applies every day an ambitious working plan with a schedule of the utmost rigor. Taking advantage of the benevolent help of the Savoy, he prepares dozens of canvases to translate in parallel all the shimmers of pink fog in the morning on Waterloo Bridge and in the early afternoon on Charing Cross Bridge.
In February 1900 he adds as a third view the sunset above the neo-Gothic buildings of the Houses of Parliament and the river. This activity was requiring the outdoor installation of his easels in parallel in the garden of St. Thomas's Hospital, as he had done in Giverny in 1891 for painting the Peupliers. Already a famous artist, Monet easily gets the authorization to work in this place. Every afternoon at 4:00, he leaves the hotel to retrieve or resettle his easels at the hospital.
The change of light in the early spring terminates the session when the sun is now higher and the light has changed. By considering the three views altogether, Monet started a hundred paintings during the 1900 stay.
He leaves London before spring when the sun is now higher and the light has changed. He returns with his paintings in 1901 during the same season but snow and cold prevent a further progress.
That selection of only three view points, all of them along the River Thames, for expressing the atmosphere of a big city was an amazing artistic conception. Monet is definitely not a tourist : the rest of the city does not interest him.
He reworked all of them simultaneously in his studio at Giverny and signed them with the date of the completion. He thus painted 41 views of the elegant Waterloo bridge, 37 views of Charing Cross bridge and 19 views of the Towers of Parliament. He considered that work as a whole and did not give visibility before the last of them was finished in 1904. Their exhibition by Durand-Ruel in that year got a considerable success. He also made pastels.
The subgroup of the Parliament from St. Thomas's consists of 19 oil paintings in a unique format 81 x 93 cm. One of them was sold for $ 40.5M by Christie's on May 11, 2015, lot 24A. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
Dated 1902, this painting is one of the first that was completed by the artist, perhaps because the very expressive sky is particularly exciting. Despite the clouds, the sun plays behind the high tower and the same pink shades apply to the edges of the clouds and to the reflections in the river.
1902 Gertrud Loew by Klimt
2015 SOLD for £ 25M by Sotheby's
Director of a major private sanatorium in Vienna, Dr. Loew was in touch with the intellectual and artistic elite of the city and became a sponsor of the Viennese Secession. In 1902 he commissioned Klimt for the portrait of his daughter Gertrud aged 19.
Gertrud Loew is a nice girl. Her quiet gaze is attentively facing the painter. The light gauze of her housecoat is white, adorned with a few vertical lilac stripes in a clear overall tone that expresses purity. This very successful portrait, oil on canvas 150 x 45 cm, has repeatedly been exhibited during Klimt's lifetime and contributed to his fame.
This painting belonged to Gertrud who had to give up all her belongings when she went into exile in 1939. It then belonged to Gustav Ucicky who was an illegitimate son of the artist and afterward to his widow Ursula. Fascinated by the art of her father-in-law, Mrs Ucicky created in 2013 the Gustav Klimt Foundation. She understood that the portrait of Gertrud had been a Nazi spoliation and accepted its restitution.
This beautiful example of a portrait of a very young woman by Klimt was sold for £ 25M from a lower estimate of £ 12M by Sotheby's on June 24, 2015, lot 26. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
2015 SOLD for $ 31M by Christie's
Gauguin blamed the Catholics for their hypocritical opposition to sexual freedom and rejoiced about the weaknesses of the prelates. He purchased a piece of land to the local bishop to build his home which he decorated as a temple to pornography under the complacently inscribed name Maison du Jouir (House of orgasm). He bought a young vahine, achieving to generate the total exasperation of the missionaries.
This exiled artist has humor. The best exhibition place in the Maison du Jouir is the door, visible from outside. Around August 1902, Gauguin installs two statues made by him in rosewood in native style. The man, Père Paillard (Father Debauchery), is a caricature of the bishop as a horned devil. The woman, Thérèse, is inspired by the gossip that the servant of the bishop was also his mistress.
On this phallic shaped statue 66 cm high, Thérèse is a nice woman, naked except for a loincloth. With her oversized head increasing her expressive feature, she is a transposition of primitive art to a Western subject. Although the intention of the artist was purely local, appealing beside him the laughers of Atuona, this artwork anticipates the interpretation of African and Oceanian figures by the artists of the twentieth century.
Thérèse was sold for $ 31M from a lower estimate of $ 18M by Christie's on November 9, 2015, lot 5A. Its pendant Père Paillard is kept at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
2015 SOLD for $ 5.9M by Sotheby's
His life became a series of social woes. This uncompromising Christian rejects the Catholic teaching and liturgy but desires to interpret the mystery of life. At the time of the Christ Jaune, 1889, he surrounds the religious symbols with themes from modern life including his own self portrait.
His voluntary exile in Polynesia brings him a synthesis of Christianity and animism. From then Gauguin's art is no more exclusively Christian. Painted in Tahiti in 1897-1898, D'où venons-nous Qui sommes-nous Où allons-nous, which is conceived by the artist as his ultimate masterpiece, does not refer to Western religions.
On May 5, 2015, Sotheby's sold for $ 5.9M from a lower estimate of $ 4M a Nativité, oil on canvas 44 x 62 cm painted in 1902, lot 33.
A Polynesian mother has just given birth to a child in a narrow room looking like a stable. She is assisted by a group of women. The youngest women are naked or almost naked.
But this scene is not only exotic. The radiant halo around the child's head leaves no doubt that this nativity is divine and the praying attitude of the three old women behind the group is Christian.
1902-1906 Watercolor by CEZANNE
The majestic landscape of the Montagne Sainte-Victoire, near his hometown of Aix en Provence, had been one of his favorite themes for two decades. His images in the quarries of the mountain are considered are precursors to Cubism.
He chose a place in the countryside where the mountain view is beautiful and moved his studio, built there in 1902. He did not live there but walked every day from Aix for his work. Until his death in 1906, art of all themes by Cézanne are made in this quiet cabin of the Chemin des Lauves where his creativity can no longer be disturbed.
Cézanne made nine oils and seventeen watercolors of Sainte-Victoire from the Lauves. He works outdoors at short distances from the studio but his perception of color shades offers in each of them a renewed harmony.
He has always enjoyed watercolor for its transparency and for the purity of its colors over the white paper. His pathetic approach is no longer commercial. In this final period he often works on the reverse of previously painted papers. The lightness of the watercolor allows such a practice without damage to the other side.
In 1904 his friend Emile Bernard came to admire the mastery of execution. Over a rough pencil drawing, the artist positioned successively the colors, meticulously waiting each one to dry before continuing the work, to prevent any unintentional overflow.
He observes the juxtapositions of colors on the Montagne Sainte-Victoire without abandoning other themes. The Baigneuses will remain until the end his demonstrator for still unexplored possibilities in figurative art. A quiet undergrowth is conducive to the sharing of meditation.
1902-1906 Route Tournante / Montagne Sainte-Victoire
2007 SOLD for $ 6.8M by Christie's
Cézanne is diabetic and his vision weakens. More than ever he manages to recreate an atmosphere. In the forest the depth is only brought by the curve of the path or by the diagonal of the wood edge.
The preliminary sketch in lead pencil is barely figurative. It is instead a configuration of geometric elements prepared for coloring. According to his traditional practice he painstakingly and gradually fills these surfaces while ensuring that the colors shall not mix. This method is a pointillism of Seurat or Signac in which the dots have been replaced by intersections of lines prepared in advance.
A double sided watercolor over pencil on paper 48 x 31 cm executed in 1902-1906 with a vertical Route tournante on one side and a panoramic Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des Lauveson the other side was sold for $ 6.8M by Christie's on November 6, 2007, lot 32.
On December 20, 2017, Touati-Duffaud in cooperation with Beaussant Lefèvre sold as lot 43 an Intérieur de forêt for € 6.9M. Please watch the video shared by Drouot. This watercolor 45 x 60 cm rich in warm colors of great brightness is one of the last realized by Cézanne on this theme, dated 1904-1906 by Rewald. It is glued on a cardboard but its inaccessible back side is probably blank.
The overall effect is figurative and this work demonstrates Cézanne's progress towards synthetic cubism. Is it Fontainebleau ? Is it Le Tholonet ? It does not matter. This corner of a forest does not imitate nature, it is built by the imagination of an artist for sharing his emotion.
1902-1906 Pot au Lait, Melon et Sucrier (watercolor)
2020 SOLD for $ 28.7M by Christie's
He is a perfectionist of geometric projection. The paper is flat but the fruits are volumes that the light reaches through their middle. Breakfast utensils, such as a teapot or sugar bowl, are also convex.
The work begins with a drawing of the outlines on a sheet of paper. Each surface is filled with colors that reflect the lighting zones without overlapping. This phase should be intermediate but Cézanne is never satisfied : the finished product, which is oil on canvas, becomes scarce. His rare visitors, like Emile Bernard, are disconcerted by the complexity and slowness of his creative process. His reinterpretation of nature is so innovative that he creates modern art.
On October 6, 2020, Christie's sold as lot 13 for $ 28.7M a still life in watercolor and gouache made in the largest paper size used by the artist, 48 x 62 cm. The focal point is the green melon, with its bright color and its central position in the image. It is however placed on the other side of the table, partially hidden by the milk jug and the sugar bowl.
'The greatest Cézanne watercolour to be offered in decades' — #Cézanne's Nature morte avec pot au lait, melon et sucrier from the collection of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House will be offered in the 20th Century Evening Sale on 6 October in New York: https://t.co/gJGcA3KMtr pic.twitter.com/Ss3mrhbAH9— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) August 30, 2020
1902-1906 Nature morte au melon vert (watercolor)
2007 SOLD for $ 25.5M by Sotheby's
This watercolor and pencil 32 x 48 cm was sold for $ 25.5M by Sotheby's on May 8, 2007 from a lower estimate of $ 14M, lot 8.
1902-1904 Fillette à la Poupée by Cézanne
2001 SOLD for $ 16.5M by Phillips, de Pury and Luxembourg
to be narrated
oil on canvas, in lush hues of dark and light blues.
In a pre-Cubist style, the heads of girl and doll are not detailed.
1902 Fabergé Egg
2007 SOLD for £ 9M by Christie's
Fabergé is an entrepreneur who knows how to satisfy the richest customers around the world, eager to find the most sumptuous gifts for their wives. Two non-imperial variants from the cockerel egg are known, one made in 1902 for the French branch of the Rothschild family, the other in 1904 for a Russian nobleman.
The Rothschild egg was an engagement gift by Béatrice de Rothschild to Germaine Halphen who will become her sister-in-law in 1905. Stayed with that family, it surfaced in a sale by Christie's on November 28, 2007. It was sold for £ 9M, lot 55.
This piece 27 cm high in closed position is made of solid silver enamelled in transparent pink on a guilloche background and weighs 3,645 g. To mark the hours, the lid opens to let rising a multicolored chantecler in enamelled gold set with small diamonds. For 15 seconds, the bird flaps its wings, sings while moving its head, opens and closes its beak and ends the movement by banging a bell before descending back to its original place.
This egg is dated, signed by Fabergé and stamped by the workmaster Perchin. A photo taken during its make features Perchin with his assistant Wigström who will succeed him in 1903.
1902-1903 Luba Bow Stand
2015 SOLD for £ 6.1M by Christie's
One of these pieces has a history of collection. It was given in 1902 or 1903 to an explorer by the chief of a village on the Luvua river in Congo.
The only male figure in this set is a statuette 42 cm high, sold for $ 3.6 million including premium by Sotheby's on May 15, 2015. Although this specific artwork has no functional use, I noted that the geometric regularity and the beauty of shapes was guided by the utilitarian role of other artefacts created by the same hand.
On July 9, 2015, Christie's sold for £ 6.1M from a lower estimate of £ 1.5M one of the four bow stands, lot 110.
The female figure with pointed breasts has a striking resemblance with the male statuette discussed above with regard to the attitude, the proportions in the body, the shape of the head and the facial lines. Perched on a small pedestal, she wears on her head a carved trident that can hold the bows. The total height of this piece is 64 cm.