Lot 236
  • 236

DIEGO RIVERA | L'Avenue du Dr. Durand, Arcueil

300,000 - 500,000 USD
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  • Diego Rivera
  • L'Avenue du Dr. Durand, Arcueil
  • Signed D. Rivera (lower left); signed indistinctly and dated 9-18 (on the reverse)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 21 1/4 by 25 1/2 in.
  • 54 by 65 cm
  • Painted in September, 1918.


Jacques Coutrot, Paris (acquired directly from the artist) 
Private Collection, Europe (by descent from the above) 
Acquired from the above 


Mexico City, Museo de Arte Moderno, Diego Rivera. Arte y revolución, 2000, n.n., illustrated in color in the catalogue 


This work is unlined. The tacking edges have been reinforced, and the stretcher is new. There are a few small retouches in the lower center, lower right corner and upper right. The painting is slightly dirty beneath the recent varnish and may respond to careful cleaning. However, the restoration is thoughtful and the work could be hung as-is. (This condition report has been provided courtesy of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.)
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

Diego Rivera became a prominent Cubist painter around the year 1913, after studying the work of El Greco and the landscapes surrounding the city of Toledo. During this period between 1912-13, he gradually began to fragment the representation of the space and topography of the landscapes in his works, moving towards a sort of protocubism. Rivera was encouraged further down this path by his discovery of Robert Delaunay’s simultaneous experimentations involving the use of movement and color, leading him to fully consolidate his position as a Cubist in 1913. Over the five years that followed, Rivera devoted himself to an ambitious search for formal and chromatic solutions within a Cubist vocabulary, which took him from studying the proposals of Pablo Picasso and George Braque to searching for a fourth dimension under the influence of conversations with Gino Severini and the mathematical innovations of Jules-Henri Poincaré. His journey was enriched in a different way in 1915, when he immersed himself in the study of more classical painters, including Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Auguste Renoir, in a sort of “retour à l’ordre.” By the year 1917, Diego Rivera's explorations had led him away from Cubism, and he was fully engrossed in study of the lessons of Paul Cézanne.   This painting, dated on the back by the artist in the month of September, 1918, is a magnificent example of the aesthetic and conceptual transformations that Diego Rivera underwent during these critical years. This painting depicts a landscape of the Parisian suburb of Arcueil where the painter fled to during the war, fleeing from the German artillery attacks over Paris. He was hosted in the house of his friend, the Danish sculptor Adam Fisher, and this context would prove conducive for him to concentrate on his study of Cézanne's innovations, and create new work in reaction to them. Beyond focusing his attention on the anecdotal aspects of the landscape, Rivera concentrates his glance on the structure of every element that composes it, distancing himself from naturalism and observing like a vanguard painter. His diaphanous brushstrokes in varied distinct shades of greens are sufficient to construct the series of trees above the street Dr. Durand in Arcueil; the soft russet strokes bring forth a fence in perspective, and the touches of red and sienna outline the roofs of the surrounding large houses. In this way, the landscape reveals itself to the eyes of an attentive viewer in a much more dynamic way. Following the convex lines that form the branches of the trees, one soon notices the existence of two vortices that, on each side of the composition, reveal the existence of a pictorial dimension of centrifugal forces that Rivera associated with a fourth dimension.

Professor Luis-Martín Lozano
Art Historian

We wish to thank Professor Luis-Martín Lozano for his kind assistance in confirming the authenticity of this lot.