Lot 21
  • 21

Henri Edmond Cross

500,000 - 700,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Henri Edmond Cross
  • Les Pins
  • signed Henri Edmond Cross (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 60 by 81cm.
  • 23 5/8 by 31 7/8 in.


M. Cloots

Galerie Berhneim-Jeune, Paris

Comte & Comtesse Henri Keller (acquired before 1936)

Private Collection, France (by descent from the above. Sold: Christie's, London, 21st June 2011, lot 62)

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


(possibly) Paris, Galeries Durand-Ruel, Exposition du 10 au 31 mars 1899, 1899, no. 94 (titled Pins au soleil couchant)

(probably) Paris, Galerie Druet, Henri Edmond Cross, 1905, no. 7

Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Henri Edmond Cross, 1937, no. 23 (titled Paysage de Provence)


Isabelle Compin, Henri Edmond Cross, Paris, 1964, no. 66, illustrated p. 157

Catalogue Note

Cross moved to the Mediterranean coast in 1891 in the hope that the warmer climate would prove to be a healthier alternative to Paris and the following year he was joined by Signac. Both artists were immediately captivated by the intensity of light and colour that they found in the south of France. These qualities were particularly suited to the scientific approach to colour favoured by the Neo-Impressionists, and the physical qualities of this southern landscape also provided inspiration. The present work depicts a stand of pines at sunset, juxtaposing fierce orange and yellow tones with deep purples and greens in a mesmerising blend of light and shade.  

Whilst earlier works show a strict adherence to the principles of Neo-Impressionism, by the mid-1890s Cross had effected a subtle change of emphasis in his approach. As Carrie Haslet explains: ‘Cross, from about 1895 to 1903, painted scenes that were ever more idyllic, imaginative and optimistic… The mid-1890s brought changes in Cross’s choice of subject, light and colour, and technique. As Cross’ biographer Isabelle Compin has noted, Cross, now believing that the effects of light could not be rendered with accuracy in painting, chose instead to suggest light’s intensity and to emphasize its ability to harmonize or unify differing compositional elements’ (C. Haslet, Neo-Impressionism: Artists on the Edge (exhibition catalogue), Portland Museum of Art, Portland, 2002, p. 28).

This change is evident in the present work in which Cross makes full use of the more expressive capacity afforded by his use of looser, more lively brushstrokes. In the summer of 1897 Cross wrote to fellow-artist Maximilian Luce; ‘As far as the yellow landscape, it shows pines at sunset. It is blond. All the cadmiums are out. I would like to scatter golds in profusion. In the foreground a narrow shadow containing lots of local colour. A little blue given by the sea on the horizon. The motif is insignificant’ (quoted in I. Compin, op. cit., p. 157, translated from French). Compin suggests this remark can be related to the present work but it reveals a wider truth about the artist’s rigorous approach to painting; for Cross, the subject was merely an instrument that allowed him to capture the colour and light of the Mediterranean in all its brilliant intensity.