Christie’s announces a collection of art works to be sold in London in February of 2019. Among the works is a painting once owned by Claude Monet’s son, Michel which has never been shown publicly before. Saule pleureur et basin de nymphéas, 1916-1919
The collection includes works by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Pierre Bonnard, Maurice de Vlaminck and Henri Matisse. As Cyanne Chutkow, Deputy Chairman of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie’s, explains, ‘The works map the impact that each generation of artists had on the other’.
Leading the sale is a rare picture by Claude Monet (1840-1926), painted during his Grande Decoration cycle (popularly known the world over as the Water Lilies series).
Monet’s contemporary, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), is also represented with a work that has not been seen by the public in a long time — in this instance, more than 30 years. Sentier dans le bois was painted in 1874. The picture depicts the Forest of Fontainebleau.
The influence of these artists loomed large in the early 20th century, but perhaps none of them quite as much as that of Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), who is represented in the collection by a painting hidden from view since 1945.
Portrait de femme: buste, profil gauche, 1885, depicts a young café singer whom the ill-fated artist met in Antwerp. The picture marks a transitional moment in the Dutch artist’s career — a few months later he was in Paris, where, in a burst of ecstatic creativity, he introduced a new way of painting to the world.
Van Gogh gave the portrait to his friend, the artist Émile Bernard, a second-generation Impressionist who was bracketed together with Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958) as the ‘Impressionists of the petit boulevard’ for their depictions of the new Parisian middle classes. This became a pertinent subject for many artists of the Belle Epoque — including Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947).
Offered as part of this collection is a profoundly tender painting by Bonnard that remains something of a mystery. The female subject of Femme au tub (1924) is unknown, but it is suspected to be of the artist’s young lover, Lucienne Dupuy, whom he met in 1916.
These artworks, together with the alluring Danseuse allongée, fond rouge, painted by Henri Matisse (1869-1954) in 1942, inspired many later painters.