Lot 84
  • 84

Walter Bondy

50,000 - 70,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Walter Bondy
  • La Sieste
  • Signed Bondy and dated 17 (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas, unframed
  • 50 by 43 3/8 in.
  • 150 by 110 cm
  • Painted in 1917.


By descent through the family of the artist


(Possibly) Cassirer Gallery, Berlin, 1917


Oil on canvas, unframed, lined. Surface in generally good condition, colors are bright and fresh. There is some abrasion and areas of loss around the extreme edges, likely from previous framing. Some areas of pigment separation visible in the skirt and stockings of the figure in the foreground. Under UV light; some scattered areas of inpainting visible.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Walter Bondy was born in Prague to a wealthy industrialist Austrian-Jewish family. Raised in Vienna, Bondy attended the Fine Arts Academy in Berlin and the Academy Holosi in Munich, where he first met Jules Pascin, with whom he later became a close friend. In 1903, Bondy moved to Paris along with Rudolf Levy and Hans Purrman. The trio became the first of the so-called Dômiers, a circle of artists and literary figures who met regularly at the Café du Dôme in Montparnasse. The neighborhood was a creative hub and home for the many foreigners who emigrated to Paris, including Bondy. In Montparnasse, he became acquainted with an influential group of the avant-garde, including Amadeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Möise Kisling and Gertrude Stein. Over the next decade, Bondy became an active member of the Paris art scene, exhibiting in the pre-war Salon des Indépendents and the Salon d'Automne. 

Bondy returned to Berlin in 1913 to collaborate with his cousin, Paul Cassirer, an influential art dealer who played an important role in promoting the French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, notably Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cézanne. A central figure in the Berlin Secession, Cassirer encouraged German collectors and institutions to embrace the new modernist movement. Through Cassirer, Bondy participated in the Berlin Secession's 1908 exhibition, as well as the first group exhibition at the Galerie Flechtheim in Düsseldorf. This familial connection helped elevate Bondy’s standing amongst collectors of this era. 

The present work relates to the artist's exploration of the Impressionist masters, and specifically to Bondy’s interest in Pierre-August Renoir. One of Renoir’s consistent themes was elegant young women at leisure. These compositions allowed Renoir to depict a sitter and their surroundings without great concern for physical likeness. Renoir often depicted these women in informal poses, lying down and distracted as if daydreaming. Bondy explored Renoir’s theme of daydreaming female figures from 1916 – 1920. In the present lot, Bondy’s sitter, likely inspired by one of Bondy’s Berlin friends, reclines under the shade of a tree on a blanket in a soft bed of grass with a basket of fruit and bouquet to her right, and an open book to her left. She appears lost in thought as her companion fishes in the background. And much as Renoir utilized loose brushstrokes and the effects of reflecting light to depict his sitters’ attire or coloration, so too does Bondy present the delicacy of his figure’s satin and lace décor.

Because of growing anti-Semitism in Germany, Bondy relocated to Sanary-sur-Mer, a small fishing village on the French Riviera, where a number of German refugees resided before finally moving to Toulon in 1937. At this time, he moved approximately 300 of his paintings from Berlin to Vienna for safekeeping. These paintings have been considered lost ever since, although a few examples, such as La Sieste have survived by descent through the artist's family. 

Please note that this lot is offered unframed.