Private Collection, Europe (acquired from the artist circa 1937-38) Thence by descent
Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Musée départemental Matisse, Herbin, 2012-13, n.n., illustrated in the catalogue Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Musée départemental Matisse, 2013-19 (on loan)
Rue en Corse was painted at the zenith of Herbin's Fauve practice in 1907, infusing this Corsican street scene with vibrancy through strategic use of saturated blocks of color (see figs. 1 & 2). Having first developed an Impressionist and then Divisionist style, Herbin fully embraced Fauvism by 1906 and exhibited his work alongside André Derain, Georges Braque and Maurice de Vlaminck at the 1907 Salon des Indépendants.
The present work is one of fifteen sun-drenched Fauve images that the artist painted during a trip to Corsica in 1907 as the guest of Wilhelm Uhde, a German art collector, dealer, author and critic. This visit to Corsica not only led Herbin to experiment with light to a fuller degree, recalling Raoul Dufy's most iconic works, but also introduced him to Erich Mühsam, the talented German-Jewish anarchist essayist, poet and playwright. Such rich artistic and intellectual milieu, combined with the serenity of the Corsican coast, provided the ideal setting for Herbin to push the boundaries of figurative representation.
Rue en Corse has been in the possession of the family of the owner since it was acquired from the artist in the late 1930s. It was included in a 2012-13 exhibition organized by Mrs. Geneviève Claisse, the author of the artist's catalogue raisonné. The director of the Musée départemental Matisse attested on March 11, 2019 that Mrs. Claisse confirmed the authenticity of the work and approved its inclusion in this exhibition. After the exhibition, the work was on long-term loan to the museum and remained on view in its galleries until early 2019.
The canvas is lined. The supporting canvas appears to have been cut from another painted composition. The colors and bright and the impasto well-preserved. There is some scattered pigment shrinkage and hairline craquelure in area of thickest impasto. The canvas is slightly undulating. In the dark blue pigments of the axle on the wagon, there is a nailhead sized are of paint loss. Under UV, some original pigments fluoresce but no inpainting is apparent. 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. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.