Except otherwise stated, all results include the premium.
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.
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
1882-1885 Dans les Coulisses by Degas
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
1884 La Grande Jatte by Seurat
1999 SOLD for $ 35M by Sotheby's
He wants his demonstrations to be perfect. His achieved paintings are very rare. The very long preparation phases include drawings and oil sketches. In 1884 he exhibits at the Salon des Indépendants his first major work, Une Baignade à Asnières, oil on canvas 2 x 3 m.
Seurat immediately begins another project, on the same social theme of the aberrant life of the bourgeois. He chooses a green corner by the Seine in the leisure park on the island of La Grande Jatte, on the border between Neuilly and Levallois.
Three oil sketches on canvas are started in parallel in May 1884. One of them is a Paysage empty of any character, 65 x 79 cm, on which he sets up the theoretical elements of its composition. The second is a full version 70 x 104 cm, scaled as one third of the size of the final work. The other sketch is a study for the couple in the foreground.
Unlike the Bathing in Asnières, the colors are dull, with too much space provided to the shadows in the foreground. Signac will succeed in convincing Seurat that the brightest lights bring a much better effect to the divisionist technique, but for Un dimanche après-midi à l'île de la Grande Jatte, which will be finished in 1886, it is already too late.
The preparatory Paysage was sold for $ 35M by Sotheby's on May 10, 1999.
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.
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 Les Meules à Giverny by Monet
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.
1885 L'Estaque by Cézanne
2015 SOLD for £ 13.5M 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.
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, 2015, Christie's sold for £ 13.5M from a lower estimate of £ 8M an oil on canvas 73 x 60 cm, lot 8. This view of L'Estaque was probably made in the spring or early summer of 1885. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
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.
1888 Portrieux by Signac
2018 SOLD for $ 13.8M by Christie's
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, 2018, Christie's sold for $ 13.8M 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 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 Antibes by Monet
2021 SOLD for $ 13.3M by Sotheby's
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.
The dawn view with the trees still in the shadow was sold for $ 13.3M from a lower estimate of $ 10M by Sotheby's on November 16, 2021, lot 33. The next view in daylight was sold for £ 8.8M by Sotheby's on February 3, 2015, lot 8.
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.