Lot 3
  • 3

Johan Barthold Jongkind

Estimate
70,000 - 100,000 USD
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Description

  • Johan Barthold Jongkind
  • La Rue Saint-Jacques, Paris
  • signed Jongkind, inscribed Paris, and dated 1872 (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 22 1/4 by 17 in.
  • 56.5 by 43.1 cm

Provenance

R. M. Thune & Co., New York, circa 1985
John and Paul Herring & Co., New York (acquired from the above, circa 1985)
Acquired from the above

Literature

Etienne Moreau-Nélaton, Jongkind raconté par lui-même, Paris, 1918, illustrated fig. 120
Adolphe Stein, Sylvie Brame, François Lorenceau and Janine Sinizergues, Jongkind, catalogue critique de l'oeuvre, Paris, vol. I, 2003, p. 260, no. 672, illustrated (with incorrect provenance)

Catalogue Note

Soon after Jongkind painted La Rue Saint-Jacques, Claude Monet began his series of works featuring carriage and railway bridges over the Seine. As Monet recalled, his friend Jongkind “asked to see my sketches, invited me to come and work with him, and explained to me the why and the wherefore of his manner and thereby completed my teaching… From that time on he was my real master; it was to him that I owe the final education of my eye” (“Claude Monet, an Interview,” Le Temps, November 27, 1900, as quoted in Charles C. Cunningham, Jongkind and the Pre-Impressionists, exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1976, p. 27 ). Jongkind’s own urban views frequently focused on the streets of the Faubourg-Saint-Jacques around his apartment at 5, rue de Chevreuse where he lived from 1861 until his death.  Jongkind found aesthetic inspiration in everyday moments of urban life,  from carthorses rumbling down the Boulevard de Montparnasse, the demolition of old buildings, or, as in the present work,  the crowded rue Saint-Jacques with its shop signs and bold advertisements painted high on walls.  Unlike the faded lettering advertising “fabrique de cruis forts” in the artist’s Démolition de la rue des Francs-Bourgeois (1868, Gemeentemuseum, The Hague), in the present work Jongkind captures the (literal) poster-boy for La Maison de la Rue du Pont Neuf, his blue suit an unmistakable trademark in the late nineteenth century of Paris’ popular men’s tailoring and children’s clothing emporium (fig. 1).  The boy’s red banner bears a portion of the shop's slogan to  “rend l’argent de tout achat qui à cesse de plaire” (we will return money for any purchase that fails to please) while the text below suggests the remainder of the well-known phrase, “La Maison n’est pas au Coin du Quai" (in other words they do not sell things you could find just anywhere) (fig. 2).  The publicity was so wide in its reach that it was mentioned in an 1875 History of Advertising, in which the author explained  “perhaps in no country so much as in France are public announcements and advertisements so thoroughly characteristic of a people” and La Maison’s "perhaps the best known of any” (Henry Sampson, A History of Advertising from the Earliest Times, London, 1875, p. 600).  Throughout Paris, La Maison’s bold promotion could be seen in newspapers, handbills, posters, and, as depicted in La Rue Saint-Jacques, on large scale signage (it even inspired the plot of a theatrical review).  Jongkind sketched the sign at least twice in 1872, in preparation for  La Rue Saint-Jacques, and in 1878 executed two compositions similar to the present work.  By including an advertisement so immediately recognizable to his contemporary audience in his painting, Jongkind transformed an artifact of urban life to art and earned the admiration of Émile Zola (another famous chronicler of Paris’ daily life).   In his Lettres parisiennes, Zola explained that works like La Rue Saint-Jacques evidenced that Jongkind possessed a “deep love of modern Paris,” the artist recognizing as he did that Paris’ beauty could be found in the bricks of a wall or along a sidewalk with its shops of “curious colors,”  indeed that art “is all around us, a living art”  of a vibrant, modern city (as translated from Émile Zola, “Jongkind,” Lettres parisiennes, published in La Cloche, January 24, 1872, n. p.).
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