Lot 10
  • 10

MAURICE DE VLAMINCK | Pêcheur à Chatou

9,000,000 - 14,000,000 USD
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  • Maurice de Vlaminck
  • Pêcheur à Chatou
  • Signed Vlaminck (on the reverse)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 18 1/8 by 21 5/8 in.
  • 46 by 55 cm
  • Painted in 1906.


(possibly) Jean Davray, Paris

Albert Lespinasse, Paris (and sold by the estate: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 23, 1986, lot 84)

Private Collection, Switzerland

Alain Lesieutre, Paris (and sold: Drouot Montaigne, Paris, November 24, 1992, lot 29)

Acquired at the above sale


(possibly) Brussels, Musée Moderne, La Libre Esthétique, la quatorzième exposition, 1907, no. 155 (titled Le Pont d'Argenteuil)

Bern, Kunsthalle, Les Fauves und die Zeitgenossen, 1950, no. 122 (titled Le Pêcheur)

Geneva, Musée de l'Athénée, Maurice de Vlaminck. Du fauvisme à nos jours, 1958, no. 3, illustrated in the catalogue (titled Le Pêcheur and dated 1905)

Paris, Galerie de l'Élysée, 7 tableaux rares, 1964, n.n., illustrated in color in the catalogue (titled Paysage, pêcheur à Argenteuil)

Tokyo, Isetan Museum of Art; Niigata, City Art Museum; Osaka, Daimaru Museum; Shizuoka, Prefectural Museum of Art; Himeji, City Museum of Art & Yamanashi, Prefectural Museum of Art, Terres d'inspiration des peintres de Pont-Aven, Nabis, et Symbolistes, 1987, no. 129, illustrated in the catalogue (titled Pêcheur à Argenteuil)

Paris, Pavillon des Arts, Apollinaire, critique d'art, 1993, no. 121 (titled Le Pêcheur à Argenteuil)

Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales & Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria, Fauves, 1995-96, no. 90, illustrated in color in the catalogue (titled Pêcheurs à Argenteuil)

Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Fauvism "Wild Beasts", 1996, no. 60, illustrated in the catalogue (titled Pêcheur à Argenteuil)

Turin, Palazzo Bricherasio & Lodève, Musée de Lodève, Les Fauves et la critique, 1999, no. 37, illustrated in color in the catalogue (titled Pêcheur à Argenteuil)

Lodève, Musée de Lodève, Derain et Vlaminck, 1900-1915, 2001, no. 27, illustrated in color in the catalogue (titled Pêcheur à Argenteuil)

London, The Courtauld Gallery, 2002-18 (on loan)


Judi Freeman, Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Modern Masterworks: The Fridart Foundation Collection, London, 1998, illustrated in color p. 35 (titled Pêcheur à Argenteuil)

The Courtauld Institute of Art, ed., The 20th Century at the Courtauld Institute Gallery, London, 2002, illustrated in color p. 34 (titled Le Pêcheur à Argenteuil)

Maïthé Vallès-Bled, Vlaminck: Catalogue critique des peintures et céramiques de la période fauve, 1900-1907, Paris, 2008, no. 147, illustrated in color p. 330; detail illustrated in color p. 333

Catalogue Note

Completed during the height of Vlaminck’s involvement with the Fauves, Pêcheur à Chatou exemplifies the characteristic bold chromatic palette and passionate brushstrokes of the movement. The long-mistaken setting is of great importance given the significance of Chatou, located just north-west of Paris, to the Fauve paintings of Vlaminck—it is along this stretch of the river that the pictorial campaign which defined his oeuvre took place. Vlaminck was extraordinary devoted to specific motifs and viewpoints of Chatou and the Seine, with his greatest proclivity in depicting the Pont de Chatou stretched across the river. “In art and in life this bridge had very particular associations for Vlaminck. It was not just a point from which he could reconnoiter his painting territory. The bridge was as vital to him as it was to Chatou itself….The two segments of the Pont de Chatou linked all the places that were important to Vlaminck. Over it he had passed from his dwellings in Chatou to the island and his studio, sanctuary within sanctuary….The bridge gave Vlaminck a sense of connectedness with the elements of his limited world. Only this allowed him to revel in his suburban isolation” (The Fauve Landscape (exhibition catalogue), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1990, p. 134). The practice of framing a landscape with a bridge was commonplace in Vlaminck’s compositions; the buttress and span of the bridge recalled the compositional devices that the Impressionists adapted from Japanese prints some years prior. The bridges that crossed the Seine, both in and out of Paris, had supplied Claude Monet, Gustave Caillebotte and the other Impressionists with the premise for some of their most daring compositions—the framing used by Vlaminck in many of his views of Chatou closely resembles their canvases. Focusing on a more intimate tableau, the perspective of Pêcheur à Chatou makes it clear that Vlaminck set his easel on the Île de Chatou, in the middle of the river, near a small landing on which the lone fisherman stands. It had long been assumed that the bridge stretched across the background of Pêcheur à Chatou was one of the three bridges at the town of Argenteuil, where years before Claude Monet had dedicated much time and many canvases to capturing the effects of light on the river and its environs. After careful comparison with photographic postcards from early in the twentieth century, the three arches that straddle the Seine were identified as those of the bridge at Chatou. In discussing the importance of these postcards that grew in popularity from the 1890s to the first decade of the twentieth century, John Klein points to the similarities between these vistas and Vlaminck’s compositions of the same subjects: “[the artist] has brought the same elements found in the photographic views into a more compact and unified arrangement. But his painting shares with the postcards the ease of comprehension and identification essential to the souvenir. What might be called the scenic values of the suburban site have been carefully preserved by Vlaminck…” (The Fauve Landscape (exhibition catalogue), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1990, p. 126).

In Pêcheur à Chatou the verticality in the treatment of the brushstrokes fully articulates the density of the reflection of the bridge atop the water. The solid swaths of color which make up the center of the composition owe much to the legacy of post-Impressionist painters Paul Gauguin and Paul Sérusier; the flat areas of highly-saturated planes of color are especially reminiscent of the stylistic experiments undertaken by Sérusier under Gauguin’s influence in the late 1880s. These early experiments resulted in Sérusier executing the celebrated panel, Le Talisman, now in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay. In explaining this work, Sérusier “conveyed his friend Gauguin’s message that instead of copying nature as one perceived it, one should represent it, transmute it into a play of vivid colors, emphasizing simple, expressive, original arabesques for the pleasure of the eye” (J. Rewald, Post-Impressionism from Van Gogh to Gauguin, New York, 1956, p. 275). The desire felt by Gauguin and Sérusier to intensify color and simplify form led to a predilection for brushstrokes which were lengthened and continued as broad patches of vibrant color. Drawing from the visual lexicon of these post-Impressionist artists, as well as the expressive brushwork of Vincent van Gogh, Vlaminck has utilized non-naturalistic colors to great effect. Through Vlaminck’s passionate use of what are largely primary colors to portray the shoreline, bridge and river in the present work, the young artist achieves a composition that is as animated and harmonious as the town it portrays.