Impressionist & Modern Art

Renoir, Pissarro, Vuillard and More Reflect the Range of Artistic Pursuits at the Turn of the Century

By Josefina Wollak

Whether seeking to capture an intimate moment of leisure, to deliver a political message, or to experiment with color and brushwork on a captivating landscape scene, this group of works stands as a testament to the range of painterly activity that characterized the last decades of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Including works by Renoir and Pissarro, the group are among the highlights of the Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale on 13 November in New York.

Henri Martin, Le Bassin et le tonnelle, 1910. Estimate $200,000–300,000.

In 1900, Henri Martin bought Marquayrol, a 17th century villa in the South of France. He spent his summers in the villa which resulted in a marked shift in his work as he dedicated himself to Landscapes rather than figurative painting which he was working on previously. Martin experimented with painting nature with an interest on how natural light affected his surroundings but his true passion lay in the estate itself as he chose to paint the terrace, the Iron Gate and the four pools most often, one of which is depicted here. His observance of the light can also be seen here in the colors and ambience created in his depiction of the sky. As can be seen in this work, Henri Martin liked to showcase strict geometric architectural features in contrast with the free flow of nature painted in his distinct combination of Impressionism and pointillism.

Blanche Hoschedé-Monet, La Côte à Giverny (Le Coteau). Estimate $50,000–70,000.

Blanche Hoschede-Monet, born in 1865, was both Monet’s stepdaughter and daughter-in-law through her mother’s partnership with Monet and later by marrying Monet’s oldest son, Jean. The only child in the Monet household to express interest in art, Blanche became very close to Monet and quickly became his assistant and only student. She remained his companion and assistant for 45 years. Aside from Monet’s tutelage, Blanche was also mentored by Manet. Blanche’s work stands out as she is one of the few second generation Impressionist artists. She lived in Giverny until her death at age 82 and similar to Claude Monet, she often chose to paint the Giverny countryside but unlike other renditions of the countryside and exterior, in this work the perspective is very markedly different. The often painted haystacks are now diminutive and no longer the main subject of the work. We see a shift in perspective. As shown in this work her palette is very colorful and her brushstrokes follow the impressionist technique. In fact her paintings are considered to be a pure representation of the Impressionist style.

Pierre- Auguste Renoir, Paysage, 1895. Estimate $150,000–250,000.

Throughout his oeuvre Renoir constantly returned to landscape painting. Known more as a figurative painter, Renoir’s landscape are particularly interesting as landscape painting is where he allowed himself more freedom as he experimented more with his techniques, colors, and observance of light. He allowed his brushstrokes to flow more wildly in his depictions of nature as can be seen in the trees in this painting. This work presents the breadth of Renoir’s brushstroke repertoire as he employs both small, distinct brush strokes and elongated fluid movements. The looser brushstrokes he is most famous for in his figurative paintings were developed through his work in landscape.

Édouard Vuillard, Madame Hessel Lisant sur la terasse du clos Cézanne, circa 1920-25. Estimate $70,000–90,000.

In 1890 Edouard Vuillard joined Les Nabis, a symbolist group of painters. Les Nabis, the Hebrew and Arabic term for prophets, was a secret society of friends founded by Paul Sérusier who modeled the ideology of the group after the work of Paul Gauguin. The society created different works but followed the same guidelines that painting was meant to be a harmony of lines and colors. The meaning of painting arose when the work had style, which is to say only when the painter changed the shape of normal objects and worked in colors that showed the artists mood and personality. His style can be seen in Madame Hessel as the shapes and colors don’t strictly follow reality. Vuillard has also been called an “intimist” as he chose to paint everyday scenes as can be seen in the painting of Madame Hessel reading her book. This is not a depiction of an extraordinary moment, or a staged pose, it simply captures a true moment of life.

Camille Pissarro, La Bergère. Estimate $50,000–70,000.

Camille Pissarro was the only artist to exhibit in all eight Impressionist exhibitions spanning from 1874-1886. He became a key figure of the movement and a mentor to many artists. His favorite subjects were the everyday scenes of French peasants as seen in La Bergère. At the maturity of his style he represented country scenes with a keen observance of light and its effect as a result of his extensive study in French Realism. Pissarro’s work is also political as he wants to present peasants in communal villages in the best possible reflection in order to disseminate his socialist views. His political aim is present in La Bergère as the peasants labor is shown in a dignified manner. His brushstrokes are created in a dash like movement which combines the peasant with the landscape to create a harmonious composition.

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