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AN AMERICAN IN PARIS: PROPERTY FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF MARGARET THOMPSON BIDDLE

Jean Béraud
FRENCH
LE LONG DE LA SEINE
Estimate
250,000350,000
LOT SOLD. 212,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
45

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS: PROPERTY FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF MARGARET THOMPSON BIDDLE

Jean Béraud
FRENCH
LE LONG DE LA SEINE
Estimate
250,000350,000
LOT SOLD. 212,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

19th Century European Art

|
New York

Jean Béraud
1849 - 1935
FRENCH
LE LONG DE LA SEINE
signed Jean Béraud. (lower right)
oil on panel
14 7/8 by 21 1/2 in.
37.8 by 54.6 cm
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

M. Tanenbaum
Knoedler & Co., New York, March 1901
M. Tanenbaum
Knoedler & Co., New York, 1903
Ms. R. Stiefel, New York, 1904
The Parker Gallery, London

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Peintres de 1900, 1953, no. 18bis (as Les Bouquinistes)

Literature

Patrick Offenstadt, Jean Béraud 1849-1935, The Belle Époque: A Dream of Times Gone By, catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1999, p. 161, no. 169, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Painted over a century ago, Béraud’s Paris compositions continue to delight today, as many of the historic buildings, bustling cafes, and chic shops depicted remain “must-sees” on any visitor’s list.  The works also capture everyday pleasures in Paris, including the hunt for a treasured tome or antique print in the iconic “green boxes” of the bouquinistes, which were situated along the Seine’s right bank from the Pont Marie  to the quai du Louvre, where Béraud sets the present work, and on the left bank from the Quai de la Tournelle to the Quai Volatire.  While second-hand booksellers had proliferated in Paris since the sixteenth century, it was not until 1859 that bouquinistes were allowed to set up at fixed spots along the river.  Each bookseller was entitled to ten meters of railing for an annual fee of just over 26 francs, and was permitted to be open from sunrise to sunset. Throughout the late nineteenth century, bibliophiles wrote accounts of visiting the bouquinistes, carefully describing each of the most well-known vendors and the wide variety of social classes among the customers.  Indeed, as Béraud illustrates in the present work, anyone from a dapper gentleman to a clergyman would browse for books— their efforts challenged by a strong burst of wind that ruffles fragile pages, topcoats and, at the center of the composition, the skirts of a woman holding her art box close against her. (She is perhaps en route to class at the nearby Académie des Beaux-Arts, which had begun admitting women in 1897). The temperamental Parisian weather of spring and fall was a notorious challenge to the bouquinistes of Paris, as described by Octave Uzanne in his exhaustive 1895 survey of The Book Hunter in Paris.  Just as Béraud depicts here as weather changed, booksellers, “these trading philosophers of open air”  had little choice but to pack up their boxes, close the lids tightly, “struggling against the perfidious or furious winds that swept the pathway” (Octave Uzanne, The Book-Hunter in Paris, Studies Among the Bookstalls and the Quays, London, 1895, pp. 165, 164).

19th Century European Art

|
New York