Lot 10
  • 10

Léon-Augustin Lhermitte

300,000 - 400,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Léon-Augustin Lhermitte
  • Glaneuses le soir
  • signed L. Lhermitte and dated 1889 (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 27 1/4 by 43 1/2 in.
  • 69.2 by 110.5 cm


Boussod, Valadon & Cie., Paris (no. 21146)
MacLean, London
S. Holland
Sale: Christie's, London, June 25, 26 and 29, 1908, lot 402
Boussod, Valadon & Cie., Paris
Kraushaar Gallery, New York, 1908
Sale: Sotheby's, New York, October 26, 1955, lot 73, illustrated 
Private Collection, Baltimore
Sale: Sotheby's, New York, December 12, 1956, lot 58
Sale: Sotheby's, New York, April 6, 1960, lot 80, illustrated 
Sale: Sotheby's, New York, March 21, 1963, lot 74, illustrated 
Private Collection, London
Sale: Phillips, London, June 11, 1996, lot 66
Galerie Michael, Beverly Hills
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1998


Monique Le Pelley Fonteny, Léon Augustin Lhermitte: 1844-1925, catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1991, p. 134, no. 148, illustrated

Catalogue Note

The decade beginning in 1880 was Lhermitte’s most successful and creative period as a painter.   He was one of the few artists of his generation who excelled in more than one media.  A natural draftsman, his monochromatic fusains were finished works of art in their own right, suitable for public display and exhibition, and as a pastellist, Lhermitte was rivalled only by Jean François Millet.  However, ultimate success and critical acclaim was measured by acceptance at the Salon and that meant painting in oil.  Several successful Salon submissions in the early to mid-1880s confirmed Lhermitte’s reputation and in 1887, he signed a contract with the Paris dealers, Boussod, Valadon et Cie, which allowed them the exclusive right to the sale of his paintings. The present lot was one of the works handled by his new dealers.

At this time, peasant activities continued to dominate Lhermitte’s subject matter, and his scenes were often painted on a monumental, life-sized scale. He preferred to place his figures prominently in the landscape, usually positioning them very close to the picture plane to emphasize their scale and importance, as seen in the present lot.  Painted in 1889, here Lhermitte has depicted a scene on a hot afternoon during the summer harvest, when the wheat needed to be reaped, gathered and stacked.  This seasonal activity would have been a familiar sight from Lhermitte’s childhood in Mont-Saint-Père in northern France.  Throughout his long career, Lhermitte looked to rural life for his inspiration, and his scenes of workers in the fields came to not only represent a realistic vision but also a more intangible concept – that of man’s relationship with nature and his stoicism to endure in the face of hard work and even hardship.  This was a point of view also shared by  Millet, but unlike Millet,  whose peasants are depicted instinctively resolute with their lot in life, Lhermitte’s workers are “proud, identifiable persons;  his neighbors, the inhabitants of Mont-Saint-Père.  As he said: ‘I never invent.  All my characters are portraits of someone.’”(Mary Hamel, Léon Lhermitte, exh. cat., Paine Art Center and Arboretum, Oshkosh, 1974, pp. 7-18).