Georges Renand built up one of the most prominent collections of his time. Among the masterpieces already revealed to the public, Paulus Potter's The Piebald horse is now in the Getty Museum, while Van Gogh's Paysanne près de l’âtre and Seurat's Vue de la Seine are now in the Musée d’Orsay and the New York Metropolitan Museum. The three historic sales that took place at Drouot-Montaigne in 1987 and 1988 featured further wonders by Ingres, Corot, Seurat, Cézanne, Matisse and Modigliani (La Belle Romaine, La Femme à la cravate noire). An erudite, well-informed and daring collector eager to explore the centuries and keenly attentive to detail, Georges Renand started out with a drawing by Bonnard. His second purchase was a Primitive. He went to public auctions (such as the Fénéon sale with Rheims and with Ader) and galleries (including Drouant, the Galerie Charpentier, Bayser and Mikailoff, Paul Rosenberg and Petiet). He also bought from private individuals, often through his friend, architect Jean Walter, who married the widow of Paul Guillaume. The charming way in which he went about his exchanges reflected a scholarly eclecticism. Memorable were "a Cézanne exchanged for a Watteau (Le Bal champêtre)", "Seurat's Le Liseur for a Ter Borch", "Van Gogh's Les Cyprès for a Gauguin" and a "Corneille de Lyon for a drawing by Daumier and another by Ingres". The historic core of the collection Sotheby’s is privileged to present demonstrates the art of forging links between periods, styles and themes: here a Greek head in marble; there a Baoule mask. Géricault's horses rival the energetic ink lines of Dürer's Grand Cheval. In the distance, the dome of St Peter's in Rome floats in Corot's gentle light. In every area, Georges Renand proved both sound judgement and boldness: two temperaments at work in Cézanne's painting Abricots et cerises sur une assiette. One of Georges Renand's daughters, Jeannine, before marrying Edouard (Chapet), had grown up in this environment of humanistic grandeur. An exceptional skier who adored travelling, she pursued her father’s work – yet her way of collecting was very different. The many friendships that the couple formed with artists nourished and enriched the collection. Olivier Debré, Poliakoff and Estève appeared beside each other on the walls. And thus the past discovered abstraction. Sotheby’s now has the delight and honour of unveiling a collection built up over nearly a century.
The Part II of the collection will be sold by Pierre Bergé & Associés in Paris on November 15.