Lot 376
  • 376

Maurice Denis

150,000 - 250,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Maurice Denis
  • Crépuscule aux hortensias
  • Signed MAV.DENIS and dated 18 (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 34 3/4 by 44 1/4 in.
  • 88.2 by 112.4 cm


Galerie Druet, Paris (acquired directly from the artist in 1918)
Mr. G. Lévy, Paris (acquired from the above in 1919)
Mr. Léon Herzog, Paris
Private Collection (by descent from the above)
Peter Nahum, London (acquired from the above in 2005)
William Hanham Ltd., London
Acquired from the above in 2006


Paris, Galerie Druet, Exposition annuelle du premier groupe, 1919, no. 1
Morlaix, Musée des Jacobins, Maurice Denis et la Bretagne, 1985, no. 96, illustrated in the catalogue
Valence, Musée de Valence, Lumières de Sable, Plages de Maurice Denis, 2000, no. 68, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Catalogue Note

Maurice Denis' attraction to the region of Brittany drew him there throughout his life.  In his Journal he dreamed of a day when ["...I can retire to [Brittany], the land of saints and costumes, I would live there, the friend of the parish priest and of the mayor and of everyone, in the fishing village ... I would live a poor, humble, peaceful life, contented, under the protective eye of God, far away form the noisy, wealthy Paris crowd, which obsesses me ... Then for a few pennies, I would paint the walls of the poor churches of the district." ] (Maurice Denis, Journal I, 1891, pp. 44-45)

In July 1908, he bought a villa in Perros-Guirec, for his family to spend time together each summer. The villa's terrace, which looks out over the spectacular bay of Perros-Guirec on the Côte d'Argile Rosé, features in several of Denis' family paintings. In 1909 and 1910 he painted two versions of Christ Receiving the Children, Trestignel which show both the figure of Christ and Denis' family by the balcony. 

The intense spirituality of Denis' late paintings pervades this exceptional work. In this magical view of the balcony suffused in evening light, Denis reveals a powerful love of his family, of music and of nature. Juxtaposing several different view points of the bay; the Les Sept Isles combined with the rocks of the Pointe du Château, the painting is more conceptual than literal. Here he portrays some of his children: Bernadette (b. 1899), Anne-Marie (b. 1901) - who is shown twice, both singing and dreaming - and Dominique (b. 1909) who is being chased up the stairs by Madeleine (b. 1906).  In the garden, we again see Madeleine, with the artist's youngest son, François (born in 1915).  The shimmering pink light of dusk envelops the happy children and connects them back to their natural surroundings.