Lot 1
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Johan Barthold Jongkind

150,000 - 200,000 USD
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  • Johan Barthold Jongkind
  • Le Marché aux fleurs, Boulevard Richard Lenoir, Paris
  • signed Jongkind and dated 1855 (lower left)
  • oil on canvas
  • 16 by 23 1/2 in.
  • 40.6 by 59.7 cm


Claudius de Jonge, Metz
Sale: Palais Galliera, Paris, March 16, 1973, lot 42, illustrated
Sale: Sotheby’s, London, December 2, 1981, lot 4, illustrated
Private Collection, The Netherlands


The Hague, Gemeentemuseum, October 11, 2003-January 18, 2004; Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, February 8-May 9, 2004, Johan Barthold Jongkind, no. 73
Enschede, Netherlands, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, on loan until 2014


Victorine Hefting, Jongkind, sa vie, son oeuvre, son époque, Paris, 1975, p. 102, no. 136, illustrated
Adolphe Stein, Sylvie Brame, François Lorenceau and Janine Sinizergues, Jongkind, Catalogue critique de l’oeuvre, Paris, 2003, vol. 1, p. 107, no. 150, illustrated


The following condition report was kindly provided by Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.: This work has been well restored. The canvas is lined. The paint layer is clean and varnished. There is a small group of retouches in the sky above the column and another small group of three to four retouches in the right sky. No restorations are visible within the figures, and the condition is similarly beautiful throughout the remainder of the picture. The work should be hung as is.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

Well-liked for his boisterous humor and eccentricities, upon moving to Paris Jongkind promptly joined an influential creative circle which included Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Théodore Rousseau and Charles Baudelaire, members of a group who used to gather at Le Divan le Pelletier or Dinochau. These friends and colleagues would eventually grow to include Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet and others, with whom Jongkind would later exhibit in the inaugural Salon des refusés in 1863 (Charles C. Cunningham, Jongkind and the the Pre-Impressionists, exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Institute, 1976, p. 26). Nadar was also a great supporter of Jongkind and "from 1853 on... (he) sought out in the Salon the works of Johan Barthold Jongkind - following Baudelaire's example - and in 1866 he complained of the ignorance that still surrounded the painter's name. Drawing a surprising parallel between a landscape ... in the Romantic sphere and Jongkind's art, he called it strong and interesting, concluding, "I really know no finer praise." (Philippe Néagu, "Nadar and the Artistic Life of his Time", Nadar, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, exh. cat., 1994, p. 64)

By 1846 (the year that Jongkind moved to Paris), the poet Charles Baudelaire had acquired some notoriety for publishing reviews of the Salons of 1845 and 1846, brazenly calling for artists to turn away from the Classical subjects and Academic teachings and embrace “the heroism of modern life.” After describing the opulent rooms and grand exhibition halls of the Louvre, he declares that: “for the rest, let us record that everyone is painting better and better - which seems to us a lamentable thing; but of invention, ideas or temperament there is no more than before. No one is cocking his ear to tomorrow's wind; and yet the heroism of modern life surrounds and presses upon us...There is no lack of subjects, nor of colours, to make epics” (Charles Baudelaire, Art in Paris 1845-1862: Salons and Other Exhibitions, translated by Jonathan Mayne, London, 1965, pp. 30-1).

Baudelaire’s words must have encouraged Jongkind when he painted Le Marché aux fleurs, Boulevard Richard Lenoir, Paris, in 1855. It is a daring and inventive interpretation of Paris in the mid-nineteenth century, and a celebration of its burgeoning public spaces (the market depicted, with the July Column of the Place de la Bastille in the background, still exists today). His stage-like composition and the bustling urbanity of his subject foreshadows Manet’s Music in the Tuileries (1862, The National Gallery, London and The Hugh Lane, Dublin, fig. 1), in which Baudelaire, a great support to both Manet and Jongkind at this time, is incidentally depicted. It is unusual for Jongkind’s motive to be a crowd of people and he has focused his attention to a central figure. Less sedate than Manet’s demurely seated figures in gold-colored dresses of the Tuileries, Jongkind’s Parisienne boldly lifts her skirt to show her leg to the viewer while capturing the attention of passersby (Jongkind’s figure can be seen in two related or preparatory works from the same period, see Jeune femme à l’ombrelle, Paris, Stein, no. 151, dedicated à mon ami Prouha, and no. 152).

For the Salon of 1855, Jongkind submitted his work under the French section, knowingly separating himself from his artistic origins as a Dutch landscape painter and asserting his place within French painting – an heir to the Realist and Barbizon traditions and a forerunner of Impressionism. His bold palette, loose paint handling and innovative use of light were regarded as influential precursors of the Impressionist school, and his impact was expressed by contemporaries such as Manet, Pissarro, Boudin and Monet (see lot 3). Though he was discouraged by not being awarded any distinction by the Jury (he had won a medal in 1852, and the State purchased his pictures in 1851 and 1852), he may have taken pride in the broader critical reception. As critic Edmond About wrote “Monsieur Jongkind is a very fine colourist. His slightly over-bright (!) colours belong to him alone, his vividly sketched landscapes have great character, his paintings could be recognized among thousands. This is a fairly rare merit today. Monsieur Jongkind is opening up a very pretty path in art” (as quoted in Victorine Hefting, Jongkind’s Universe, 1976, Paris, p. 37, 40). Indeed, the present work shows his ingenuity, promise and influence.