83
83

PROPERTY FROM A FRENCH PRIVATE COLLECTION

Pierre François Eugène Giraud
FRENCH
LA DOUANE ITALIENNE AU SIMPLON
Estimate
120,000150,000
JUMP TO LOT
83

PROPERTY FROM A FRENCH PRIVATE COLLECTION

Pierre François Eugène Giraud
FRENCH
LA DOUANE ITALIENNE AU SIMPLON
Estimate
120,000150,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

19th Century European Art

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New York

Pierre François Eugène Giraud
1806 - 1881
FRENCH
LA DOUANE ITALIENNE AU SIMPLON
signed Giraud and dated 1880 (lower left)
oil on canvas
55 by 77 1/2 in.
140 by 197 cm
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Provenance

The artist's studio; and sold, Hôtel Drouot, February 9-13, 1886

Exhibited

Paris, Salon, 1882, no. 1189

Literature

Paul Eudel, L'Hotel Drouot et la curiosité en 1885-1886, Paris, 1887, p.  110, 113

Catalogue Note

Since his debut in 1831, Eugène Giraud was a frequent presence in the Paris Salons and known for his warm personality and love of travel, which inspired his large-scale, multi-figured compositions like La douane italienne au Simplon.  Featuring majestic peaks and a long, winding road along a waterway, Giraud depicts a border stop along Switzerland’s Simplon Road, built in the early nineteenth century under Napoleon’s order to facilitate military transport between France and Italy.  A carriage has been stopped for inspection, the carefully packed contents of trunks, hatboxes, and valises unstuffed and appraised by officials.  The process is carefully monitored by male travelers — including an artist, his canvas-board left aside while he observes the inspection and the view (the beauty of Simplon inspired many painters, including John Singer Sargent’s watercolors of the early 1900s).  Away from the men, two female tourists admire the trinkets and cartes postales offered by local villagers while their children seem less pleased with the stopover.   The weary frenzy of travel is immediately recognizable to today’s viewer, and the humorous depiction of the  bourgeois activity was very popular in the late nineteenth century.  Cook’s in England was the first to begin organizing group tours, but the French quickly followed suit.  Vacation travel grew rapidly with the increasing size of the middle class, greater income and leisure time, and with the spread of railroads and steamboats. Satirists and humorists soon picked up on the trend.  Traveling songs were written, comic revues appeared and newspapers sent correspondents on tours to report back with details.  Giraud’s work fits into this trend in popular culture — it would have been a more tangible reminder of travel for patrons who could afford more than a postcard.

19th Century European Art

|
New York