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JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME: PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ANDREA KLEPETAR-FALLEK

Pierre Bonnard
FEMME SE DÉSHABILLANT
Estimate
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Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
1,500,0002,500,000
LOT SOLD. 1,040,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
9

JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME: PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ANDREA KLEPETAR-FALLEK

Pierre Bonnard
FEMME SE DÉSHABILLANT
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
1,500,0002,500,000
LOT SOLD. 1,040,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York

Pierre Bonnard
1867 - 1947
FEMME SE DÉSHABILLANT
Signed Bonnard (upper right)
Oil on canvas
43 3/4 by 22 1/4 in.
111 by 56.6 cm
Painted circa 1908 and reworked circa 1930.
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Provenance

Estate of the artist, France

Galerie Wildenstein, Paris 

Galerie Beyeler, Basel (acquired by 1965)

Acquired from the above in 1977

Exhibited

Paris, Bernheim-Jeune, Bonnard, 1909, no. 7 (titled La Chemise quittée)

Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Bonnard, 1966, no. 29, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Milan, Galerie Il Milione, Bonnard, 1967, no. 8 

Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum, Pierre Bonnard, 1967, no. 63, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Tel Aviv, Musée de Tel Aviv, French Masters of the 20th Century, 1971, no. 3, illustrated in the catalogue

Basel, Fondation Beyeler, The Other Collection: Homage to Ernst and Hildy Beyeler, 2007-08, n.n., illustrated in the catalogue

Literature

Gustave Coquiot, Bonnard, Paris, 1922, p. 57 (titled La Chemise quittée)

Jean & Henry Dauberville, Bonnard, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, vol. II, Paris, 1965, no. 483, illustrated in earlier and current states p. 103

Catalogue Note

A work of impressive scale, Bonnard’s Femme se déshabillant seems to capture his subject unaware, as if glimpsed by a camera at just the moment she’s stepped out of her underclothes. The woman, who still grasps her slip in one hand, glances upward, interrupted yet seemingly unperturbed by her onlooker. Such fleeting scenes abound in Bonnard’s oeuvre, documenting his daily life and enduring love for his constant muse and companion, Marthe de Méligny. Marthe, who served as his primary model for decades, would dominate the latter part of his interior scenes, often portrayed just before, during or after her frequent baths. As his favored subject, Marthe figured in much of Bonnard’s photography; his snapshots centering around quiet moments at home; shared meals with friends, bathing scenes of Marthe, and a suite of nudes taken in the couple’s garden at Montval which would serve as studies for Bonnard’s illustrations. While the early twentieth century witnessed the new medium’s shift from artist’s tool to stand-alone artform, Bonnard never considered himself a serious photographer, though his images captured the same compositional awareness and sense of decorative harmony as found in his paintings.

Between the images taken with his beloved pocket Kodak, and the devout attention paid to Marthe, Bonnard built up a wealth of physical and mental images upon which he’d draw for his larger studio compositions. A keen observer of daily life and quotidian ritual, Bonnard preferred to paint from sketches, memory and imagination rather than directly from life; as he once stated, “I have all my subjects at hand. I go and look at them. I take notes. And then I go home. And before I start painting I reflect, I dream” (quoted in Bonnard (exhibition catalogue), Tate Gallery, London, 1998, pp. 9 & 30).

While his reverie-inspired approach would remain consistent throughout his oeuvre, Bonnard reached a turning point in 1909, when he spent the summer at the house of his friend and fellow painter Henri Manguin in St. Tropez. From this time onward, the artist, like so many of his colleagues, would be captivated by the effect of the Mediterranean light; “It was like something out of the Arabian Nights,” Bonnard remarked, “The sea, the yellow walls, the reflections as full of color as the light” (quoted in Pierre Bonnard, Painting Arcadia (exhibition catalogue), Musée d’Orsay, Paris, 2015, p. 314). By the time Bonnard and Marthe relocated permanently to Le Cannet in 1927, the artist’s work had already begun to capture the sublime liveliness and wealth of color of his environs (see fig. 1). The shimmering play of light and ethereal pigment choice inspired by the Mediterranean sun permeated all subjects, even the walled interiors of works like Femme se déshabillant.

First painted circa 1908 and enlivened by the artist circa 1930, Femme se déshabillant stands as an epitomal example of the artist’s late interiors, with Marthe as model set within a dreamy, almost aqueous background suffuse with light and shifting color. It is likely the fresh inspiration brought about by Bonnard’s move to the south of France, as well as his enduring quest to fully see his subjects, which led him to frequently return to paintings years later, perfecting his earlier canvasses and infusing them with light. The presence of thresholds—which often take the form of obscured windows and mirrors and which enigmatize Bonnard’s compositions—here compress the plane, bringing the subject closer to the fore and leaving but a narrow sliver of doorway at left through which to pass. Swathes of gold and pink in the figure’s right arm and leg contrast against the bright blues and dusty purples of the adjacent walls, and draw her nearer to the viewer, as if Bonnard himself were eliciting the attention of his wife.

The shimmering harmonies and dynamic color planes of Bonnard’s late oeuvre anticipate contemporary works by artists like Richard Diebenkorn, the California-based painter whose abstract works stem from an intensive study of Modern masters like Bonnard and embody the French painter’s reverence for light and a similar synthesis of a lifetime’s observation (see fig. 2). Bonnard’s timeless nudes and pursuit of the ephemeral also finds resonance in the recent works of another California-based painter, Laura Krifka (see fig. 3). Krikfa’s psychologically-charged canvasses are inspired by the temporality of photography; her carefully constructed compositions subtly challenging the viewer’s perception—just as Bonnard’s in the previous century.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York