European and British Art, Part II

European and British Art, Part II

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 106. Vétheuil.

Property of a Gentleman

Charles Conder


Lot Closed

July 13, 02:06 PM GMT


30,000 - 50,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property of a Gentleman

Charles Conder


1868 - 1909


signed, inscribed and dated CHAS CONDER. / VETHEUIL - 1893 lower left

oil on canvas

Unframed: 59 by 73cm., 23¼ by 28¾in.

Framed: 87 by 100cm., 34¼ by 39¼in.

Sale: Christie's, London, 9 June 1989, lot 267

The Fine Art Society, London

Purchased from the above by the present owner in 1989

Charles Conder is one of the most revered artists in Australia but was born in Tottenham in Middlesex, the son of a civil engineer. He spent several years of his early childhood in India but following the death of his mother, the four-year-old was sent back to England to attend a series of boarding schools. When he left school aged fifteen, his father, who was not artistic, decided that Charles would be a civil engineer and he was sent to Australia to live with an uncle who worked as a government land surveyor in Sydney. He greatly disliked the work but after a couple of years enduring the boredom, Conder started to work as an artist for the Illustrated Sydney News. After his move to Melbourne in 1888 he met the painter Arthur Streeton and shared a studio with Tom Roberts. Although impoverished, Conder established his reputation as a painter in Australia with paintings like Departure of the Orient – Circular Quay of 1888 (Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney) and Holiday at Mentone (Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide) depicting elegant figures on the beach in a Melbourne suburb beneath the white heat of the sun. The success of these paintings allowed Conder to spread his wings and seek international recognition.

In 1890 Conder moved to Paris to study at the Académie Julian where he became friends with the avant-garde circle of artists including Degas and Pissarro who both admired his work, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec who painted his portrait (Aberdeen City Art Gallery), Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley who he admired but did not like. He spent the rest of his life in Europe, living in Britain and regularly visiting France, frequently suffering from bouts of illness and alcoholism but finally finding financial security in 1901 when he married a wealthy widow in Paris.

Based upon the dating of his paintings, Conder was in Vétheuil, west of Paris on the banks of the river Seine, in 1892 and 1893 (Vetheuil, dated 1892, Sotheby's, Australia, 24 November 2008, lot 53, Orchard on the Seine at Vetheuil, dated 1893, Christie's, London, 4 June 2004, lot 58). In 1893 he also visited nearby Chantemesle and La Roche Guyon, Dennemont and painted Blossom at Dennemont (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford). Claude Monet had lived in Vétheuil between 1878 and 1881 and painted more than 150 pictures there. This beautiful view of towering poplar trees reflected in the tranquil waters of the Seine, is reminiscent of Monet’s landscapes and also those of Conder’s friend Pissarro.