Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

New York

Émile-Othon Friesz
1879 - 1949
Signed Othon Friesz (lower right)
Oil on canvas
25 1/2 by 31 5/8 in.
65 by 80.5 cm
Painted in 1907.
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Estate of the artist
Mme Friesz, France (the wife of the artist; by descent from the above)
Kaethe Perls, Paris
Perls Galleries, New York (acquired after 1937)
Cooper, Ostrin, Devarco & Ackerman, New York
Acquired from the above in 1969


Dallas, Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, Les Fauves, 1959, n.n. 
New York, Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, International Expressionism, 1968, no. 14, illustrated in the catalogue (dated 1905)
Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, The Fauves, 1975, no. 26, illustrated in the catalogue (dated 1905)
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, “The Wild Beasts:" Fauvism and Its Affinities, 1976, n.n. 
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art & London, Royal Academy of Arts, The Fauve Landscape, 1990-91, no. 119, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Nagoya, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art; Kyoto, The National Museum of Modern Art & Tokyo, The National Museum of Modern Art, Fauvism and Modern Japanese Painting, 1992-93, no. 29, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales & Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria, Fauves, 1995, no. 54, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Fauvism “Wild Beasts," 1996, no. 38
London, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Fauve Painting 1905-7: The Triumph of Pure Color, 2001, n.n.
Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario (on loan)


Sarah Whitfield, Fauvism, London, 1991, no. 122, illustrated in color p. 144
Bernard Zürcher, Les Fauves, Paris, 1995, illustrated in color p. 173
The Courtauld Institute of Art, ed., The 20th Century at the Courtauld Institute Gallery, London, 2002, illustrated in color p. 39

Catalogue Note

Émile-Othon Friesz’s artistic development from 1905 to 1907 not only created a new form of Fauvism, which would come to be termed Le Havrais Fauves, but paved the way for a nascent form of abstraction. Friesz, alongside Raoul Dufy and Georges Braque, was struck in 1905 by the Salon d’Automne exhibition showing the contemporary Fauve work of Henri Matisse and André Derain. Still largely painting in an Impressionist style, Friesz knew that the use of color and lyrical application of paint in Matisse’s work would change the nature of painting forever. From as early as 1906 Friesz, Dufy and Braque began to paint the harbors and cityscapes of northern France in their own muted Fauve style (see fig. 1). In doing so, he eschewed the Impressionist teaching he had previously ascribed to and defined his compositions with a quicker application of paint in bolder colors.

However, it was not until 1907 when the artist traveled to the southern coast of France that he could fully understand the underpinning philosophy of the Fauve movement. John Elderfield states, "In 1906, Braque and Friesz were not even at the stage of colorful subjects... It was only when the pair traveled south, as their colleagues had done before, that their color was fully liberated from the atmospheric and the impressionist and their Fauve styles were fully established" (John Elderfield, Fauvism and its Affinities, New York, 1976, p. 79). In a series of works painted in La Ciotat, Friesz was able to fully master his new artistic direction. Specifically drawn to the mountainous cove of the Bec de l’Aigle (Eagles Peak), Friesz rendered at least five versions of the view using a vivid palette dominated by orange, ochre-green and red. In these works Friesz "abandoned all sense of naturalism in favor of an expressive gestural style characterized by sweeping curvilinear brushwork and layers of pigment...with strongly abstract motifs" (Judi Freeman, ed., The Fauve Landscape, New York, 1990, p. 235).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

New York