Lot 2
  • 2

Pascal Adolphe Jean Dagnan-Bouveret

80,000 - 120,000 USD
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  • Pascal Adolphe Jean Dagnan-Bouveret
  • Young Woman in a Garden of Oranges
  • signed PAJ.Dagnan-B, dated 1891 and inscribed Golfe Juan (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 40 by 29 1/8 in.
  • 99 by 74 cm


Private collector (acquired in the 1950s, possibly in New York)


Original, unlined condition. Surface is dirty and varnish discolored. Fine craquelure visible in the sky and sea. Losses due to frame abrasion at upper right and visible restorations along top edge and lower corner. Under UV: Aforementioned restorations fluoresce as do scattered spots in the tree, brushed areas of inpanting at figure's waist level and center of composition, additional lines to address scratches.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1891, Young Woman in a Garden of Oranges followed two decades of well-received works by Dagnan-Bouveret, which had established the artist as one of the era’s greatest Naturalist painters. He favored  peasant models near his home in the Franche-Comté as well as urban washerwomen and absinthe drinkers — which evidenced his admiration for the work of Edgar Degas and Jean-François Raffaëlli (see lots 5 and 18).  Moreover, Dagnan-Bouveret’s well observed compositions of daily life were infused with color — pointing toward the influence of Impressionism (Gabriel P. Weisberg, Beyond Impressionism, The Naturalist Impulse, New York, 1992, pp. 70-1). Further inspiring Dagnan-Bouveret’s artistic development were his repeat visits to Brittany, which helped yield a series of works through the late 1880s; these documented the northern area’s unique costumes and religious rituals and also conveyed the character and emotion of the region’s people.  Beyond Brittany, Dagnan-Bouveret joined his close friend and fellow Realist Artist Jules-Alexis Muenier on a trip to Algeria in 1887, where their painting was vivified by the intense light, haunting locales, and new models (Gabriel P. Weisberg, Against the Modern, Dagnan-Bouveret and the Transformation of the Academic Tradition, New York, 2002, pp. 24-5).  Travel sealed Dagnan-Bouveret and Muenier's friendship, and fueled an artistic exchange of ideas evident in works like Young Woman in a Garden of Oranges and Muenier’s Le Calme of 1894 (fig. 1, sold in these rooms, April 18, 2007, lot 1).  Though dated three years apart, the remarkable similarities between the two compositions illustrate the development of Naturalist art in the late nineteenth century while also foretelling the movement’s new directions in the 1890s and beyond.

As in Le Calme, the present work depicts a young woman on a hillside with the ocean in the distance, the vast expanse of the water dwarfing a view of the red tile rooftops and white-clay walls of a village well-below.  While the exact location of Muenier’s composition is not known, Dagnan-Bouveret helpfully inscribes his composition “Golfe-Juan” a resort town on the Côte d’Azur.  Dagnan-Bouveret likely travelled with the Muenier family on one of their many vacations to the south of France, a respite both from the rigors of life in the north and, as in Algeria, an opportunity to paint fresh subjects under new conditions. In the present work, the artist’s technique immediately conveys the warm climate, felt in the deep green leaves of the trees and the large fruit, heavy with juice in the woman’s woven basket. Young Woman in a Garden of Oranges, like Le Calme, conveys the languor of the afternoon, as the model rests from her harvest to gaze out to sea. The overall effect eliminates the need for a narrative, instead building a romantic mood with Impressionist color that suggests the hazy humidity. As Le Calme combined Muenier’s proclivity for figure painting with his bourgeoning enthusiasm for landscape painting, Young Woman in a Garden of Oranges evidences Dagnan-Bouveret’s explorations in the connection between man and nature.  Dagnan-Bouveret’s two major paintings of 1892, Dans la prairie and Dans la forêt, expand the themes of Young Woman in a Garden of Oranges, as the artist moved away from photographic imagery to a more personal view, often influenced by spiritualism or mysticism.

Before today, the existence of the present work has been known chiefly through a notation in Dagnan-Bouveret’s records of its sale to a collector in the United States (Americans making up some of the artist’s most important patrons in the late nineteenth century).  Now on public view likely for the first time since leaving the artist’s studio over 120 years ago, Young Woman in a Garden of Oranges is an important rediscovery and addition to Dagnan-Bouveret’s oeuvre.