197A
197A

PROPERTY OF PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTORS

Léon Pourtau
PAYSANNES ALIMENTANT LE FEU
Estimate
180,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 778,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
197A

PROPERTY OF PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTORS

Léon Pourtau
PAYSANNES ALIMENTANT LE FEU
Estimate
180,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 778,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Léon Pourtau
1872 - 1898
PAYSANNES ALIMENTANT LE FEU
Stamped L. Pourtau (lower right, on the reverse & on the stretcher)
Oil on canvas
45 3/4 by 31 7/8 in.
116.2 by 81.1 cm
Painted in 1893.
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Provenance

Gabriel Vallad (the artist's grandson until 1988)
Acquired in 1988

Literature

Gilles Caillaud, Hélène Bailly-Marcilhac & Charles Bailly, Léon Pourtau: vie et oeuvre d'un pionnier du pointillisme: essai de catalogue raisonné, Milan, 2014, no. 14, illustrated p. 85

Catalogue Note

Léon Pourtau was born circa 1872. His primary source of income was his work as a musician, and as a young man he traveled across France as a member of a circus troupe before enrolling at the Conservatoire de Paris. A professor at the Conservatoire de Lyon at a very young age—some have said as young as 22—not to mention already a husband and father, Pourtau then embarked on a two-year tour of the United States where he was a guest member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Unbeknownst to the artist, he would never again return to his native France, as his transatlantic ship the SS La Bourgogone collided with a passing vessel in the Atlantic and sank off the coast of Nova Scotia. Pourtau, along with over five-hundred others including members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the American painter De Scott Evans, drowned tragically.

A friend and admirer of Seurat's during his brief but remarkable life, Pourtau adopted and applied the principles of Pointillism in his own painting (see figs. 1 & 2). In his obituary an unnamed source is quoted: "So as to prove to me that he wasn't forgetting painting [while on his American tour] he sent me from Boston, two years ago, an exquisite visiting card, a tiny picture representing a riverside scene. Pourteau [sic] was a truly distinguished Pointillist. Without letting the procedure overwhelm him, he knew how to give his canvas intense light and vibration" (quoted in Phillip Dennis Cate, ed., Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne, Paris 1880-1910 (exhibition catalogue), Nevada Museum of Art, Reno; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus; Foothills Art Center, Golden, Colorado; Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton; Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach & Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, 2014-15, p. 41).

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