Friday, November 21, 2014

The Norton Simon Museum's installation of Édouard Manet's The Railway


The Norton Simon Museum has announced a special installation of Édouard Manet’s poetic The Railway,1873, a highlight from the National Gallery of Art’s esteemed 19th-century collection. Evident in this dramatic work are Manet’s characteristic brushwork, his brilliant use of color and sense of composition, and his striking portrayal of modern life—indeed, the scene is set near the bustling Gare Saint-Lazare. Its installation at the Norton Simon Museum marks the first time the painting has been on view on the West Coast. It will be installed in the Norton Simon’s Impressionist Art Wing from Dec. 5, 2014, through March 2, 2015.



Édouard Manet, French, 1832–1883 The Railway, 1873 Oil on canvas National Gallery of Art, Gift of Horace Havemeyer in memory of his mother, Louisine W. Havemeyer, 1956.10.1.


About “The Railway”

Édouard Manet’s remarkable masterpiece, ―The Railway‖ of 1873, brings us face to face with a formidable young woman, who regards us without a warm welcome, but rather a cautious acceptance. Her finger marks her place in the book before our intrusion, and the fact that she keeps it there is a sign that she encourages us to take our leave momentarily. Our interpretation of her inscrutability quickly gives way to one of the first of many evident contradictions in the image: a small brown and white puppy who dozes comfortably in the warmth of her lap. The woman’s other companion, a young girl, chooses to ignore our entrance as she gazes, transfixed, at the ferocious urban comings and goings that serve to set this small residential terrace and its current inhabitants in one dreamy world across from another just yards away, on the rue de Saint-Pétersbourg.

Visitors to Manet’s studio at 4 rue de Saint-Pétersbourg often remarked that his floors and windows shook with every train pulling in or out of the nearby Gare Saint-Lazare. By the time that Manet moved to this new studio, Paris had experienced a two-decade, stunning rejuvenation at the hand of Baron Haussmann, who under Napoléon III oversaw this urban renewal and remodeling of Paris. Manet—a Parisian through and through, always dressed impeccably and with great flair—embraced this modernization and all its amenities. However, he chose to reveal his forever-changed city in depictions of its daily life, with its denizens of all classes and neighborhoods, in all its beauty and depravity.

Manet did not have to travel too far afield to find inspiration for ―The Railway.‖ He merely crossed the elevated Place de l’Europe and walked to the home of his friend, Alphonse Hirsch, whose own studio was in a building directly across from Manet’s on the rue de Rome. It is there that one of his favorite models, Victorine Meurent, posed for Manet’s first sketches for this painting in a fashionable deep-blue dress and black hat, while the daughter of Hirsch, who portrays the younger girl, surveyed intently something now lost in the steam of a train. A seemingly incongruous bunch of grapes—a richly painted still life on its own—sits momentarily abandoned on the ledge. Did Manet intend for us to read this gorgeously painted scene as one of a mother and child, as an older sister with her sibling or as a governess with her young charge? Are we to see disparity in the rich, blue bow that encircles the young girl’s waist and the hard, concrete reality of the city beyond? Perhaps this is Manet’s statement on the duality of life, or the loss of youth, having reached the age of 40 when he began work on this picture. Or just maybe it is the arched wooden door of Manet’s new studio that captures the attention of the Hirsch fillette

Norton Simon Museum and Musée d’Orsay Announce an Exchange of Masterpieces


The Norton Simon Museum and the Musée d’Orsay are pleased to announce an exchange of six paintings (three from each museum) in the spring of 2015 (March 27 – June 22, 2015), with simultaneous exhibitions in Pasadena and Paris. The exhibition held at the Simon will comprise Édouard Manet’s Emile Zola, 1868, James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, 1871 (also known as Portrait of the Artist’s Mother), and Paul Cézanne’s The Card Players, c. 1892–96. The exhibition at the Orsay will comprise Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s The Pont des Arts, Paris, 1867–68, Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier), 1888, and Édouard Vuillard’s First Fruits, 1899.



Tête-à-Tête: Three Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay
March 27 – June 22, 2015

This spring, the Norton Simon Museum presents an installation of three paintings from the Musée d’Orsay’s renowned collection of Impressionist art. Organized by Chief Curator Carol Togneri with Associate Curator Emily Beeny, the installation features Édouard Manet’s Emile Zola, 1868, James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, 1871 (also known as Portrait of the Artist’s Mother), and Paul Cézanne’s Card Players, 1892–96. The Orsay paintings will hang together in the Norton Simon Museum’s 19th-century wing, alongside paintings from the Simon collection by Manet, Cézanne and their peers.





Whistler’s Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, 1871


It is perhaps the single most recognizable image in the history of American painting: the spare interior of an artist’s studio, a gray wall, a Japanese curtain, an aging subject soberly dressed and seated in profile. Whistler’s portrait of his mother, painted in the fall of 1871, marks the high point of his career. ―It is rare,‖ wrote Whistler’s friend, the painter Jacques-Émile Blanche, ―that one can judge an artist by a single work.‖ Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, also known as Portrait of the Artist’s Mother, is that single work. Endlessly reproduced, imitated and parodied, the

picture nonetheless resists any fixed interpretation. 

Given the painting’s iconic status in American culture, the fact that Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 resides not in the United States but in France may come as a surprise. Acquired by the French state in 1891 after a vigorous campaign by admirers including the painter Claude Monet and the poet Stéphane Mallarmé, Arrangement hung first at the Louvre, and then moved to the Musée d’Orsay when it opened in 1986.



Manet’s Emile Zola, 1868

Like Whistler’s portrait of his mother, Manet’s portrait of Zola depicts a sitter intimately known to the artist. But while Whistler’s painting remains an ―arrangement‖ somewhat remote in its treatment of its subject, Manet’s portrait of Zola is literally overflowing with tokens of friendship. Zola was still making a name for himself as a journalist in 1866 when he published a glowing newspaper article on Manet. In his article, Zola praised the frank modernity of Manet’s style, which had made the painter a divisive figure—and, indeed, a frequent object of ridicule—on the Paris art scene. 

One year later, when jury members for the Paris World’s Fair deemed Manet’s submissions too radical, the painter erected a pavilion on the edge of the fairgrounds where visitors could judge his work for themselves. His co-conspirator in this guerilla exhibition was none other than Zola, who re-published his article as a booklet titled Une nouvelle manière en peinture (A New Manner in Painting) on the occasion. 


To show his gratitude, Manet painted the writer’s portrait in January 1868. Depicting Zola as a connoisseur and scholar, Manet surrounded him with both art (a Japanese print, an engraving after Velázquez and an etching of Manet’s own Olympia) and books (including, of course, Zola’s own Une nouvelle manière en peinture).





Cézanne’s The Card Players, c. 1892–96


Of the whole Impressionist group, Cézanne was the least understood by his contemporaries. Stung by the unusually harsh criticism that greeted his work at the third Impressionist exhibition in 1877, Cézanne effectively withdrew from public exhibition for nearly 20 years, reemerging in a series of shows mounted by the progressive dealer Ambroise Vollard, when Cézanne came to be appreciated at last as the father of modern art. After his withdrawal from the public eye, Cézanne began to spend more time in the South of France, on his family’s property outside of Aix. There he focused on local landscapes, kitchen still lifes and a narrow cast of domestic models. The Card Players, painted between about 1892 and 1896, belongs to this last category, representing two workers seated at a table playing cards. The deceptive simplicity of the scene, the pyramidal composition and the network of short, hatch-like brushstrokes are all characteristics of Cézanne’s mature style. The painting is the first of three versions of the same composition that Cézanne made in the early 1890s (the others belong to the Courtauld Institute in London and the Royal Family of Qatar). Cézanne’s sometimes agonized perfectionism drove him back to the same themes again and again, struggling to understand and convey not only what he saw but how he saw it.


The Musée D’Orsay Exhibition

Simultaneous to the installation at the Norton Simon Museum, the Musée D’Orsay will exhibit three 19th-century masterpieces from the Simon collection: Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s The Pont des Arts, Paris, 1867–68, Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier), 1888, and Édouard Vuillard’s First Fruits, 1899. While these three works were all created in France, none of them has been exhibited there since being purchased by Norton Simon in the 1960s and ’70s. The installation will present the paintings in three different galleries, hung alongside works by each artist.





Renoir’s The Pont des Arts, Paris, 1867–68


Renoir’s picture plants us in the heart of Paris, standing on the Left Bank of the Seine, looking upstream towards the wrought-iron Pont des Arts on a sunny afternoon. A ferry pulls up to the quayside, which is crowded with commuters and idlers from all walks of life seated quietly on the riverbank: leisured ladies in bright dresses and smartly dressed dandies, scrappy street urchins and imperial soldiers, romping dogs and a blue-smocked working man. Up the ramp at right, second-hand booksellers do a brisk trade in the shadow of the Institut de France, a gracious 17th-century building whose dome surveys the bustle below. The picture’s crisp shadows and liberally applied black are not what we think of first when we think of Renoir: such features may surprise viewers better acquainted with the feathery touch and opalescent palette of his later Impressionist work. This scene dates to the very beginning of Renoir’s career, when the artist and his young friend Claude Monet set out to document the city they loved in a series of brisk urban landscapes, filled with all the verve of the modern metropolis.





Van Gogh’s Portrait of a Peasant (Patience Escalier), 1888


In February 1888, after two years in Paris, Van Gogh struck out for the South of France, in search of ―blue tones and gay colors, as well as relief from the low spirits and ill health that had afflicted him in the French art capital. Van Gogh settled in Arles, a small town whose surrounding countryside reminded him of the vividly colored Japanese prints he so admired. It was in Arles that he turned with new dedication to portraiture and forged his unmistakable style, characterized by intense, almost hallucinatory color applied with expressive daring. Painted in the vivid tones of a Japanese print and capturing the weathered features of Patience Escalier, a local gardener, this portrait marks the flowering of the artist’s ambitions and captures what Van Gogh described as the ―sun-steeped, sunburnt quality, tanned and air-swept‖ of both the old man’s face and his vision in Arles.





Vuillard’s First Fruits, 1899

At over 14 feet across, First Fruits is the largest canvas Vuillard ever painted and arguably the crowning achievement of his career. It is one of a pair commissioned in 1899 by the banker Adam Natanson to decorate the library of his Parisian townhouse. The picture opens a broad prospect of woods and fields receding in two directions: along a footpath to a distant cluster of houses at left, and down a cart track towards a blue-kerchiefed woman at right. A child facing the landscape in the left foreground serves as a stand-in for the observer. This landscape was likely sketched from the window of a rented villa in the Paris suburb of L’Etang-la-Ville, where Vuillard spent the summer of 1899 with his sister, her husband and their young daughter, a great favorite with her uncle, who may have inspired the sturdy little figure in the foreground. Despite its grand dimensions, this is an intimate scene, more observed than invented, drawing on the ordinary pleasures of a family holiday. 



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Grant Wood at Auction

    • Sotheby's April 16, 2014




      GRANT WOOD
      CAFE DE PALAIS

      Estimate 10,000 — 15,000 LOT SOLD. 28,125 



      GRANT WOOD
      A LAZY AFTERNOON

      Estimate
       
      12,000 — 18,000
       
      LOT SOLD. 16,250 
      • Sotheby's 2012



        GRANT WOOD
        PATCHWORK QUILT

        Estimate 50,000 — 70,000


        GRANT WOOD
        TREES ON INDIAN CREEK
        Estimate
         
        20,000 — 30,000
         
        Christies 2008
        • GRANT WOOD (1891-1942)

          STUDY FOR "FEBRUARY"



        Estimate $400,000 - $600,000 Price Realized $1,058,500 



        GRANT WOOD

        FERTILITY (C. 15)



        Estimate $5,000 - $7,000 Price Realized $5,000


        Swann 2008

        GRANT WOOD
         Fruits; Vegetables; Tame Flowers; Wild Flowers.
        Estimate $10,000 - $15,000
        Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $9,800



      • GRANT WOOD 
        July Fifteenth.
        Estimate $4,000 - $6,000
        Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $6,720


      GRANT WOOD 
      Approaching Storm.
      Estimate $5,000 - $8,000
      Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $6,720


    • GRANT WOOD 
      January.
      Estimate $4,000 - $6,000
      Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $5,280



    GRANT WOOD 
    March.
    Estimate $4,000 - $6,000
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $5,040

    • GRANT WOOD 
      Tree Planting Group.
      Estimate $4,000 - $6,000
      Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $3,675



    • GRANT WOOD 
      Seed Time and Harvest.
      Estimate $3,000 - $5,000
      Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $3,360



    GRANT WOOD 
    Shrine Quartet.
    Estimate $3,000 - $5,000
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $3,120


Sotheby's 2007

GRANT WOOD
MARCH (CZEST. W-18)

Estimate 4,000 — 6,000 LOT SOLD. 4,063 

Christie's 2005


GRANT WOOD (1891-1942)

SULTRY NIGHT (COLE 6)

Estimate $4,000 - $6,000 Price Realized $3,840 

Thomas Hart Benton at Auction Part II

SWANN 2008



  • THOMAS HART BENTON 
    The Race
    Estimate $7,000 - $10,000
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $9,000



THOMAS HART BENTON
Threshing
Estimate $2,500 - $3,500
Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $5,040



THOMAS HART BENTON


  •  Photographing the Bull
    Estimate $3,000 - $5,000
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $3,360






  • THOMAS HART BENTON 
    Edge of Town
    Estimate $2,000 - $3,000
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $3,120



  • THOMAS HART BENTON 
    Fence Mender
    Estimate $2,000 - $3,000
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $2,880



  • THOMAS HART BENTON
     The Boy
    Estimate $2,000 - $3,000
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $2,880


  • THOMAS HART BENTON 

    West Texas
    Estimate $2,500 - $3,500
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $2,640


Swann 2005



  • THOMAS HART BENTON 
    Great Neck, Long Island
    Estimate $10,000 - $15,000
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $8,050



  • THOMAS HART BENTON 
    The Outhouse
    Estimate $3,000 - $5,000
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $4,600




THOMAS HART BENTON 
Frankie and Johnnie
Estimate $7,000 - $10,000
Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $13,800




  • THOMAS HART BENTON 
    Sunday Morning
    Estimate $1,500 - $2,500
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $3,450



  • THOMAS HART BENTON
    Letter from Overseas
    Estimate $2,000 - $3,000
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $3,450

Swann 2003



  • THOMAS HART BENTON 
    Landscape with a Train and a Car
    Estimate $7,000 - $10,000
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $5,980



  • THOMAS HART BENTON
    The Swamp
    Estimate $3,000 - $5,000
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $3,450


SWANN 2011

THOMAS HART BENTON 

Vineyard Landscape

$30,000 to $50,000


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

LUIGI LUCIONI at Auction





LUIGI LUCIONI
(Italian/American, 1900-1988)
The Street, No. 2 
23 x 36in
Sold for US$ 35,000

Christie's
Flower Patterns
PRICE REALIZED
$25,000




Arrangement in Greens
PRICE REALIZED
$11,250



New England Barn
PRICE REALIZED
$6,875

Swann 2002



  • LUIGI LUCIONI 
    Washington Square, New York.
    Estimate $2,500 - $3,500
    Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $3,220

Sotheby's



LUIGI LUCIONI
ARRANGMENT IN GREY AND GREEN

Estimate
20,000 — 30,000 LOT SOLD. 20,000
 

LUIGI LUCIONI
MUTED HARMONY


Estimate

8,000 — 12,000
LOT SOLD. 10,000

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

FREDERIC EDWIN CHURCH at AUCTION