The present composition is today considered to be one of the major works that in 1887 led Édouard Dujardin to hail Anquetin as the chief proponent of Cloissonism. This work indeed illustrates the principle elements of this new artistic movement that affirmed the supremacy of drawing and borrowed its style from not only medieval stained glass windows and enamels, but also Japanese prints. The parallel between this blue-toned pastel and the art of stained glass was indirectly confirmed by Émile Bernard, who recalled that Anquetin's monochromatic compositions were inspired by the latter's habit of looking at landscapes through panes of colored glass. The exceptionally elegant and shadowy black outlines as well as the flat treatment of the surface are further testament to this particular way of seeing.
Avenue de Clichy, le soir, cinq heures is certainly reminiscent of the art of the Japanese masters who were so revered by many of Anquetin's friends, notably Vincent van Gogh and Émile Bernard. As Frédéric d'Estremau points out, "the iron and glass awning, an aspect of industrial design, above the butcher's shop has a ethereal quality which suggests the roof of a pagoda, the legs strung up in a garland recall Japanese lanterns, the elegant woman seen from behind, raising her skirts, creates a gathering of folds that is drawn in a very Japoniste style, but...more than any of these details, it is the use of dark outlines and flat colours that brings to mind Japanese prints" (Quoted in Anquetin, La Passion d'être peintre (exhibition catalogue), Galerie Brame & Lorenceau, Paris, 1991, p. 28).
For Anquetin, the street was a spectacle of which he never grew tired. Here he immortalizes a busy avenue situated close to his Montmartre home, bustling with crowds and activity toward the end of a rainy afternoon. A butcher's shop appears in the foreground, the focal point of the composition and an autobiographical allusion to the artist's father who ran a thriving butcher's business in Normandy. Anquetin's vivid style subtly conveys the vibrant atmosphere of the scene, crowds jostling for space on the street. Avenue de Clichy, le soir, cinq heures, as its title intimates, thus aims to create a sensory impression, to suggest a "symbolism of sensation" as Anquetin called it. With a confident style, the artist strives here to capture a fleeting impression of reality and to translate it visually.
It is not surprising that this work inspired van Gogh in his celebrated masterpiece Le Café à Arles of 1888 (see fig. 1), as Anquetin's stylistic preoccupations echoed those of the Arles master. Three other versions of this composition exist: an oil housed in the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, a second pastel and a gouache and watercolor version sold at Sotheby's in 2009.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale