Lot 31
  • 31

Georges Seurat

Estimate
200,000 - 300,000 GBP
Sold
314,500 GBP
bidding is closed

Description

  • Georges Seurat
  • Blé et arbres (Le champ de blé) - recto
    Portrait de Félix Fénéon - verso
  • signed Seurat (verso, centre right)
  • Conté crayon on laid paper

Provenance

Emile Seurat, Paris (the artist's brother)

Jos Hessel, Paris

Mme Lucien Milinaire, France

Jean Schmit, Paris

Félix Fénéon, Châtenay-Malabry

Pierre Brunoy, France

Gallery Bignou, New York (acquired by 1940)

Richard H. Zinser, New York

Galerie Nathan, Zurich

Norton Simon, Pasadena (sold: Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 5th May 1971, lot 47)

Purchased at the above sale by the late owner

Exhibited

Paris, La Revue Blanche, Seurat, 1900

Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Rétrospective Georges Seurat, 1908-09, no. 101

Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Georges Seurat, 1920, no. 53

Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Trente ans d'Art Indépendant - Rétrospective incorporée au Salon, 1926, no. 3224

Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Les dessins de Seurat, 1926, no. 126

New York, Gallery Bignou, Post-Impressionism, 1940, no. 18

New York, Buchholz Gallery, Seurat: His Drawings, 1947, no. 15 (as dating from circa 1880)

Kassel, Museum Fridericianum, Dokumenta III, 1964, no. 3, illustrated in the catalogue

Geneva, Galerie Jan Krugier, Le Silence des Autres, 1972, no. 4, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Jean Paulhan à travers ses peintres, 1974, no. 685

Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Georges Seurat - Zeichnungen, 1984, illustrated in the catalogue

Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preussischer Kulturbesitz,  Linie, Licht und Schatten. Meisterzeichnungen und Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 1999, no. 114, recto and verso illustrated in the catalogue

Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, The Timeless Eye. Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection, 1999, no. 125, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Miradas sin Tiempo. Dibujos, Pinturas y Esculturas de la Coleccion Jan y Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2000, no. 150, recto and verso illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André, La Passion du Dessin. Collection Jan et Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2002, no. 139, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Vienna, Albertina, Goya bis Picasso. Meisterwerke der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2005, no. 87, recto and verso illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Munich, Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Das Ewige Auge - Von Rembrandt bis Picasso. Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2007, no. 138, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Zurich, Kunsthaus & Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle, Georges Seurat. Figure in Space, 2009-10, no. 10, recto and verso illustrated in the catalogue

Literature

Gustave Coquiot, Georges Seurat, Paris, 1924, illustrated p. 184

Gustave Kahn, Les dessins de Georges Seurat, Paris, 1928, illustrated pl. 109

Jacques de Laprade, Georges Seurat, Monaco, 1945, illustrated pl. 74 (as dating from circa 1882

Germain Seligman, The Drawings of Georges Seurat, New York, 1947, no. 31, recto catalogued p. 66 (as dating from circa 1880)

César M. de Hauke, Seurat et son œuvre, Paris, 1961, vol. II, no. 551, recto illustrated p. 137

Gustave Kahn, The Drawings of Georges Seurat, New York, 1971, recto illustrated pl. 129

Alain Madeleine-Perdrillat, Seurat, Geneva, 1990, recto illustrated p. 92; verso illustrated p. 172 

Michael F. Zimmermann, Seurat and the Art Theory of his Time, Antwerp, 1991, no. 167, recto illustrated p. 103

Georges Seurat: The Drawings (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2007-08, fig. 3, recto illustrated p. 22

Catalogue Note

The present work was the first drawing acquired by Jan Krugier and Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, and marks the beginning of their private collection in 1971. In the 1880s, Seurat often travelled to the area around Le Raincy, an eastern suburb of Paris located some eight miles from the centre of the metropolis, where he visited his father and other relatives. During his stays in this region the artist executed drawings of people at work, as well as quiet, unpopulated landscapes such as Blé et arbres and Le mur du chemin (fig. 1). Both subject matters were influenced by the artists of the Barbizon school, who preferred to paint in the open air in the earlier decades of the nineteenth century. In the present work, probably depicting a landscape in the area of Le Raincy, a path meanders from the lower edge of the sheet, takes the viewer’s eye towards the trees on the right, and disappears in the depth of the composition, giving way to the softly undulating line that marks the division between the tall trees executed in stronger, darker strokes of Conté crayon, and the lighter area of the corn field that becomes the central motif of the composition.

 

Discussing Seurat’s drawings from the first half of the 1880s and the technique he developed in them, Julia Burckhardt Bild wrote: ‘In no time at all, Seurat arrived at his mature and characteristic drawing style, distinguished particularly by expressive contrasts or light and shade in hatchings achieved with Conté crayons. Named for their inventor Nicolas-Jacques Conté (1755-1805), these drawing pencils were very popular in the nineteenth century. […] Seurat obtained a great variety of nuances in the gray tones by varying the pressure on the crayons, which he applied to the paper in the form of a web of irregular fiber-like linear strokes’ (J. Burckhardt Bild, Georges Seurat: Figure in Space (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., pp. 36-37).

 

The verso of the present work depicts a portrait of Félix Fénéon, also executed in Conté crayon around 1883. Fénéon (1861-1944), who was at one point the owner of the present work, was a Parisian art critic and the editor of La Revue blanche, and one of Seurat’s great early supporters. It was Fénéon who in 1886 coined the term ‘Neo-Impressionism’, identifying a group of artists that included Seurat and Signac. Seurat met Fénéon at the Café d’Orient on rue de Clichy, a popular meeting place for artists, writers and critics. Close to the circle of Neo-Impressionist painters, Fénéon was the subject of several portraits by Signac (fig. 2), Bonnard, Vuillard, Vallotton, Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Dongen.

 

 

 

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