Except otherwise stated, all results include the premium.
1880 Vétheuil by Monet
2022 SOLD for £ 11.7M by Sotheby's
He leaves Argenteuil in 1878 due to financial difficulties and settles at Vétheuil, an untouched village further along the Seine, with his beloved wife Camille and a couple of friends, Ernest and Alice Hoschedé. This period also marks his parting away from the Impressionniste group.
1879 is a very bad year. Camille, who had been nursed by Alice during her terminal illness, dies in September. Claude had used much his remaining money for her medical care.
Monet continues nevertheless to paint. His favorite theme is the changes of light over the Seine river, at Vétheuil and on the village 300 m across the river, Lavacourt. He produced about 150 outdoor paintings during his three years at Vetheuil, his last residence before Giverny.
La Seine à Lavacourt, oil on canvas 60 x 82 cm painted in 1879, was sold by Christie's on May 8, 2018 for $ 15.8M, lot 11. This river scenery with the village on the other shore was made in a hot summer morning with a lot of cottony clouds passing in the blue sky.
On June 29, 2022, Sotheby's sold for £ 11.7M a view of Vétheuil with a dark blue river and a blue sky with small white clouds, lot 120. The village is hidden within the lush trees. This oil on canvas 60 x 100 cm is dated 1880.
1880 L'Homme au Balcon by Caillebotte
2000 SOLD for $ 14.3M by Christie's
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 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.
1881 Le Bar aux Folies Bergère by Manet
2015 SOLD for £ 17M by Sotheby's
The inspiration of Manet is modernist, which is clearly visible in the series of Seasons that he will not complete and where he is adapting the classic portraiture to display a modern young woman.
On June 24, 2015, Sotheby's sold for £ 17M Le bar aux Folies-Bergère, oil on canvas 47 x 56 cm painted in 1881, lot 8. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The barmaid is positioned before a vast space which is a reflection in a wall mirror, including her own reflection. The exact position of the glass is hardly noticeable. In the background, colors in dots figure a crowd at a show, anticipating altogether Lautrec and abstract art.
This scene that desires to be a counterpart to Las Meninas by Velazquez is troubling in its angles. It was painted in the studio. The man on the right who is visible only in his reflection is the door neighbor. The consistency of his position is explained when we accept to exclude the logical assumption that it he placed just in front of the woman.
Manet wants to create a masterpiece and appreciates that this theme allows it. Painted a few months later, the second and final version 96 x 130 cm marks a come back to a scene in realistic line with a towering girl whose actual model is an employee of the Folies-Bergère, a crowd whose details are visible and some additions like the increased assortment of drinks on the bar and the legs of the trapeze artist that anticipate Chagall.
1882 Lilas et Roses by Manet
2018 SOLD for $ 13M by Christie's
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 over a lower estimate of £ 4M.
On May 8, 2018, Christie's sold for $ 13M from a lower estimate of $ 7M Lilas et roses, oil on canvas 32 x 25 cm, lot 7.
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
1884 Petit Gennevilliers by Caillebotte
2019 SOLD for $ 19.7M by Sotheby's
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, 2019, Sotheby's sold for $ 19.7M Richard Gallo et son chien Dick au Petit-Gennevilliers, lot 25. 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 Au Cap Martin by Monet
2023 SOLD for $ 11.5M by Sotheby's
He dedicated a few days in April to two views from the Cap Martin which he had spotted as exceptional in February. Residing at Menton, he made of them a sub-series of nine paintings varying the times of day.
Au Cap Martin features Menton in the morning sun, packed between the blue sea and the big rocky mountains with the shore of the Cap in the foreground. The intense colors are applied in impasto. The rocks are rendered in a brilliant mingling of pink, yellow and orange.
This oil on canvas 65 x 81 cm was sold for $ 11.5M by Sotheby's on May 17, 2023, lot 117. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
From the same trip, a lush Palmier à Bordighera 61 x 74 cm was sold for $ 5.9M in the same sale as above, lot 115.
The pictorial innovations of Monet during this trip certainly encouraged Cézanne for starting his series of views of the Montagne Sainte-Victoire. After a Monet exhibition in 1896, a dazzled Kandinsky decided to engage in his new style of landscape painting escaping the strict realism.
1888 Le Pont de Trinquetaille by Van Gogh
1987 SOLD for £ 12.5M (worth at that time $ 20M) by Christie's
This time, his subject is a close-up view of the stone staircase leading to the span. He had described this project along with a sketch in a letter to Theo on October 13, ten days before Gauguin's arrival.
Vincent shows in this painting the subtlety of the lights on a gray morning. The colors are brought by an almost blue sky, the clothes of passers-by and, truncated under an arch on the right edge of the image, the leaves yellowed by the autumn of a single plane tree.
This oil on canvas 93 x 74 cm was sold by Christie's on June 28, 1987 for £ 12.5M including premium then worth $ 20M. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
La Nuit Etoilée, painted in late September 1888, is a night scenery of the same bridge.
1888 Antibes by MONET
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.
Antibes vue de la Salis (also spelled Salice) is a series of four views at various times of the day in oil on canvas 65 x 92 cm.
There was a link between Monet and the van Goghs. Back from Antibes, Monet released ten paintings to Theo for an exhibition by Boussod et Valadon and their subsequent brokering to them. This set included the two views from the Salis narrated above.
Vue de la Salis, dawn view
2021 SOLD for $ 13.3M by Sotheby's
#AuctionUpdate: Three bidders compete for Claude Monet’s ‘Antibes vue de la Salis’, selling for $13.4M. pic.twitter.com/iKPmN0Hbha— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) November 17, 2021
Vue de la Salis, daylight view
2015 SOLD for £ 8.8M by Sotheby's
On June 23, 2014, Sotheby's sold for £ 8M one of the best views of Antibes by Monet, oil on canvas 65 x 92 cm, lot 8. Please watch the video shared by the auction house. The pretty town is in bright light on the other side of the bay. There is virtually no shadow.
1888 La Mousmé by van Gogh
2021 SOLD for $ 10.4M by Christie's
During the summer of 1888, Vincent considers the human figure to be just as interesting as the landscape. His second opus in this genre is the portrait of a young Arlésienne aged 12 to 14, which he titles La Mousmé, a neologism brought from Japan by Loti which is a synonym of Gamine.
At the same time, Vincent improves his drawing practice, which he considers as a major art. He manages to copy on paper several of his most recent paintings on various themes, and sends them in batches to Theo, Emile Bernard and John Russell, the Australian artist recently installed in Brittany.
The drawing of La Mousmé sent to Russell at the beginning of August is innovative in its technique. The goal of the artist is that the monochrome work in brown ink on paper has the same expressive quality as the painting on canvas. He uses for that purpose a reed pen, with which he obtains very fine contrasts by the delicacy of the line and by a delicate pointillism on the skin and on the background.
This 31 x 24 cm drawing was sold for $ 10.4M from a lower estimate of $ 7M by Christie's on March 1, 2021, lot 5. One of the tweets shows a detail revealing the dot pattern.
#AuctionUpdate Vincent van Gogh's 'La Mousmé' (c.1888) achieved USD 10,436,000. Technically innovative with an astonishingly diverse range of strokes, lines, and dots, this portrait captures the very essence of its sitter: https://t.co/KxKVadS0MI pic.twitter.com/aItSGaTSmj— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) March 1, 2021
Wer ist die junge Dame, deren Porträt einen neuen Rekordpreis für eine Zeichnung von Vincent van Gogh erzielen könnte?— Barnebys.de (@Barnebysde) February 12, 2021