Prints & drawings Paintings & sculptures
Prints & drawings Paintings & sculptures
ERIC GILLIS FINE ART T +32 (0)4 73 360 215 W www.eg-fineart.com M firstname.lastname@example.org 14, rue aux laines | 1000 Brussels | Belgium
ith absolutely no doubt, collecting art is much more rewarding than verifying stock prices every day. The works live among us, on our walls, and provide our lives with a level of beauty that we can experience on a daily basis. It is an attraction that is universal. After eleven digital catalogues reserved to a small number of select clients, I am very delighted to introduce you to my first paper catalogue. We are very pleased to share information about our fine inventory to a wider audience, especially to distinguished connoisseurs of fine arts like you. Our specialization is in old masters prints, 19th century works on paper and paintings. In a climate in which high-caliber works by sought-after artists are now largely held in museums and private collections, we have the privilege of continuing to secure outstanding pieces. So far, our treasures and discoveries were mainly acquired by institutions, but we are eager to broaden our scope to invite a carefully selected group of private collectors and new curators. We are renowned for the eclecticism of the works we offer, spanning from the late 15th century up to the 1920s: from Mannerism, to the European schools of the 17th and 18th century, to Romanticism, Impressionism, Nabis, Pont-Aven, and Belgian Symbolism. Our collections have included drawings and paintings by major world artists, including Schongauer, D端rer, Bosch, Rembrandt, Ostade, Tiepolo, Goya, C. D. Friedrich, Delacroix, Daumier, Hugo, Manet, Stevens, Degas, Redon, Pissarro, Bonnard, Vuillard, Seurat, Gauguin, Seguin, and Denis. We also have an eye for lesser-known artists whose works hold value in their rarity and quality.
One of our best strengths is the Belgian Symbolism movement, which emerged as a turning point between 1880 and 1910. We deal with artists such as Ensor, Finch, Rops, Khnopff, Spilliaert, Degouve de Nuncques and Delville, who led the way for notable later Belgian artists such as Schmalzigaug, Vantongerloo, and Magritte. Eric Gillis Fine Art has been established in Brussels since 2011. The gallery is located in the museum and gallery district in the historical center of Brussels, an area perfect for a day of cultural visits and strolling. We warmly encourage you to visit us, no matter whether you are coming from Belgium, Europe or overseas. It is the best way to meet both your own requests for buying or selling, while taking advantage of our free expertise. By meeting with us, you will experience our incessant quest for the rarest of objects from our inventory, which is what we strive for every day. For years, our dedication to fine works of art has been a commitment shared with many collectors, curators, scholars, and colleagues. We owe them many thanks for their generous advice, as well as the supportive intellectual exchanges, close working relationships, and friendships that have developed. I address a special thanks to my father, Jean-Marie Gillis, who has always been prepared to correct my English writings with brio, on top of being an art lover himself. Please enjoy this catalogue, and visit us at www.eg-fineart.com if you are interested in learning more about us and what we can offer. Celebrate art with us.
Eric Gillis - email@example.com
Martin Schongauer Early 1450s Colmar – Breisach 1491 The Virgin and Child in the Courtyard
Engraving, ca. 1475-1480 Plate 167 x 121 mm Reference Bartsch 32; Lehrs and the New Hollstein 38 Watermark Dog with Leaf above (Piccard 86589, dated Strasbourg 1480) Provenance Georg Weiner, Vienna and New York (monogram GW, not in Lugt), most probably bought in the 1960s when a large part of the collection was made from German dealers; thence by descent.
This is a beautiful and early impression, printing strongly and clearly, with contrasts and a subtle platetone, in particular in the tree, and horizontal wiping marks. Although it is one of the most iconic prints by Schongauer, it is of the upmost rarity. The New Hollstein records only twenty-nine impressions (including late pull), among them all but one are in public collections. Then only two left in private hands, including the current one, unknown to the New Hollstein. As Nicholas Stogdon stated in his essay in 1996 : “Really fine impressions 1 are very rare, really fine and early impressions are rarer still .”
is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree”. On the other hand, linking the subject to an extraordinary panel of Petrus Christus for the Confraternity of Our Lady of the Dry Tree in Bruges, Stogdon brilliantly saw the revival of the 2 dry Tree of Knowledge at the Birth of the Virgin . The Petrus picture derives from a source more recent than Ezekiel, the 14th century Pélérinage de l’âme, according to which “the Lord grafted a green branch from the Tree of Life onto the dry Tree of Knowledge.” As Stogdon wrote: “Mary is that branch.” The sumptuous arrangement of Mary’s robe, which flows around her in an ornamental filigree of folds and twists, is typical of the Gothic tradition. However, the use of perspective in the courtyard to create a convincing three dimensional space, as well as a superior degree of naturalism in the human pair, reveal Schongauer as an artist on the cusp of the Renaissance.
Connected to the Immaculate Conception, the plate is revolutionary in its perfect marriage of scale and colour, it use of the expanse of white paper to suggest an atmosphere so well attuned to the subject. Schongauer depicts a modest Mary, seated with the Child on her lap, in an enclosed courtyard. Her seated position and modest character cast her in the iconographical tradition of the Madonna of Humility. The walled garden or hortus conclusus symbolizes her purity, derived from the verse in the Song of Solomon : “A virgin inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed” (IV, 12, King James version), and the tower of David (IV, 4), though the gate-tower possibly denotes more precisely the porta clausa of Ezekiel (XLIV, 1-3; XLVI, 2, 8), through which only the Prince may come; a reference to as a symbol of Virginity. The leafless tree is probably a sign of the child’s future Passion, see Galatians 3 :13 : “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us : for it
The work is in pretty good condition for a Schongauer print. A strip of 2 mm. along the lower and right sheet edges has been very skilfully remargined, with the borderline, and the edge then carefully made-up with pen and ink, the monogram is intact and genuine. There is a small repair at the upper sheet edge. Not much is known about George Weiner, except that he was born in 1919 in Austria and moved after the 1950s in New York as a physical chemist. The other prints we have seen from his collection are of the best quality and pretty rare sheets.
N. G. Stogdon, Martin Schongauer, Catalogue X, Near Crewkerne, 1996, “Guide to the catalogue” (p. 2).
Idem, no. 13. 6
Hendrick Goltzius 1558 Bracht-am-Niederrhein – Haarlem 1617 Cliff on a Seashore
Chiaroscuro woodcut printed in ochre, dark olive green and black on laid paper, ca. 1597-1600 Plate 114 x 144 mm Reference Bartsch 245; Hollstein 381 Bialler 52, II/II (printing with line block and two tone block)
A very fine impression of this particularly scarce woodcut. The colors are strong, with relief from the wood block showing on the verso as it must be.
Nancy Bialler wrote: “The rendition of the subject is surprising. Although coastal landscapes in themselves are not uncommon, the narrow focus of this print is unusual. In contrast to coastal landscapes like Bril’s Landscape with a Shepherd in a Hill to the Right of 1590, in which a long stretch of the shore is visible, Goltzius concentrates on a small group of rocks and the sea beyond. The Cliff on the Seashore is sometimes distinguished from the other three landscapes in the series as being the most mannerist – because the relatively high viewpoint of the spectator – but apart from the subject it is not fundamentally different” (Chiaroscuro Woodcuts, exh. cat., Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, 1992, p. 186). Hendrick Goltzius’s series of four woodcut landscapes is usually dated about 1595-1600, among the last and best examples of his activity as a printmaker.
The earliest copies already show a small gap in the upper margins and two thin diagonal cracks extending from the upper border through the clouds. Most of printing I impressions on blue paper and all known printing II impressions with tone blocks have breaks in the upper border, a wormhole in the left border, and cracking in the fine hatching lines of the waves and clouds. Strauss believed that impressions on blue paper with only line block were earlier than the ones with tone blocks but Ackley has seen impressions on blue paper showing quantity of wear in the line block similar to that found on chiaroscuro versions (Clifford Ackley, Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt, exh. cat., Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 1981, pp. 27-29, nos. 15-15). I do think the same, based on the impressions known to me, i.e. impressions on blue paper might be the start of the printing, the impressions on cream laid paper with tone blocks were following very soon and both were pursued simultaneously. The present impression is particularly fresh and fine, with no traces of retouch.
As it is the case for many copies of it, the sheet is trimmed on the black border line, with though most of the border line preserved all around. Otherwise in fine condition. The print has been certified as a lifetime printing and genuine impression by Ger Luijten from the Fondation Custodia in Paris, in fall 2013.
Rembrandt Harmensz. Van Rijn 1606 Leiden – Amsterdam 1669 The Descent from the Cross by Torchlight
Etching and drypoint on laid paper, 1654 Plate 210 x 161 mm Reference Bartsch, White/Boon 83, only state; Hind 280 Provenance Colnaghi stock number from the 1930s; Private collection, France.
A fine impression still with the burr printing on Christ’s face and beard, on the breast of the man immediately behind the Christ. Remarkable for the untouched state of the warm sheet and with clarity and slight tone; printed on laid paper without visible watermark. As with all the night pieces, it is uncommon to find instances where the closely-etched lines have not yet begun to break down, resulting in uneven printing. In the present impression they are still stand up sharp and clear. The three central figures are slight shadowed as it must be. The cloth and Christ’s legs are illuminated by the torch; the hand holding out is clear and prominent as it must be. Rembrandt focus the viewer’s attention and intensify the emotion in The Descent from the Cross by Torchlight by using dramatic contrast of light and shadow. The sharp diagonal of the winding sheet leads straight to crumpled body of Christ, still attached to the cross by the nail of His foot. Below the broad horizontal of the shroud is being prepared by Joseph Arimathea to receive the body of Christ. The central position of the shroud is unusual in representation of the Descent but is perfect here to give to depth of field to the foreground. This print belongs to a large group of prints in 1654 focused; it includes one scene from Christ’s infancy, The Presentation in the Temple in a dark manner (Bartsch 50), three from the Passion, the present plate, the Entombment (B.86) and Christ at Emmaus (B.87). All four are irregularly the same dimensions and are executed in long, parallel hatching lines, with very little burin or drypoint. In fine condition. 10
Honoré Daumier 1808 Marseille – Valmondois 1879 Le Malade Imaginaire Dying to be sick Pencil and gray lavish on watermarked laid paper, ca. 1865-66 Sheet 385 x 301 mm Reference K.E. Maison, Catalogue raisonné Honoré Daumier, London, 1968, t. II, pp. 271-272, no. IV; illustrated in attributions, pl. 321, no. IV (study for Le Malade imaginaire) Literature Eduard Fuchs, Der Maler Daumier, Munich, 1930, no. 338b (ill.) Provenance E.M.M Seligmann, Warburg et Zilborg; London, Christie’s, 23 March 1962, no. 132; Paris, Palais Galliera, 14 March 1967, no. 27; Palais Galliera, 4 December 1970; Paris, Mes Laurin Guilloux Buffetaud Tailleur, 17 March 1976, no. 110; Private collection, France.
Le Malade Imaginaire of Molière inspired Daumier in drawing several most eloquent scenes where Doctor Diafoirus was feeling the pulse of the hypochondriac Argan dying of fears. Our sheet seems to be a first version or a preparatory drawing of the best known version of the scene, a watercolor of the Gerstenberg collection, now at the Ermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. However, here Daumier seems to have heightened the expression of the imaginary sick to confer a stronger caricatural charge. Diafoirus is faintly drawn, while the whole attention is directed towards the imploring face of Argan and his prominent belly. The feeling of terror without objective cause is troubling as if Death itself would come in. The dark irony of history is that Molière himself, while acting as Argan, died a few hours after the forth performance of the Malade Imaginaire.
Daumier multiplied the variations of this type of character, thoughtful, asleep, and anxious or paralyzed by fear, with head and body thrown against the back of a seat, particularly in lithographs produced after 1840. The illustrations of Le Malade Imaginaire followed previous satirical works about health problems of everyday life. The artist plentifully mined the seam of the distrust for medical doctors in his very first political allegories. In 1833, he made a clear allusion to the medical knowledge of King Louis-Philippe in his lithograph Primo saignare (Delteil 73), and the year after, he showed the Russia ambassador feeling the pulse of the moribund government of France in L’Europe peut dormir tranquille (Bouvy 47). The Committee Daumier in Paris has certified in October 2013 that the present work is a genuine one by the artist, and it will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné. The sheet is in very good condition, the four sides have been folded on two centimeters from the borders, and cracks and minor stains are visible on the fold but far away from the subject.
Georges Seurat 1859 - Paris - 1891 Le Liseur The Reader Black Conté crayon on paper laid down on board, ca. 1881-82 Sheet 310 x 219 mm Reference César Mange de Hauke, Seurat et son oeuvre, Paris, 1961, vol. I, p. 74, no. 458 (ill., p. 75) Exhibited Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Retrospective Georges Seurat, December 1908 - January 1909, no. 162; Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Les dessins de Seurat, November-December 1926, no. 51; Paris, Galerie de France, Le Neo-Impressionnisme, December 1942 - January 1943, no. 15; Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Georges Seurat Zeichnungen, January - March 1984, no. 22 Provenance Paul Signac, Paris; Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Paris; Galerie de l’Elysée, Paris ; M. Renauld, Paris; Private collection, Switzerland; sold at Christie’s New York, Wednesday, 07 November, 2007; Private collection, United Kingdom.
A fascinating sheet, once belonged to Paul Signac, a great fan of Seurat works. It was during the months spanning 1880 and 1881 that the simple and reductive line drawings that had formed the corpus of his works went through a sudden revolution, evolving almost spontaneously into what is still considered some of the most remarkable draughtsmanship ever. Influenced by various artists, as well as by theories on light and color, Seurat invented a visual language that tackled the issue of how to most successfully capture light on paper. The Reader is one of the best examples of this in its early stages. On Michallet paper of course, Seurat exploited the texture of this particular paper. His experimentation already abandoned the contour line and strokes the crayon Conté across the sheet’s ridges, thus devising his own kind of draughsmanship: the emphasis on dark and light tons to abstract and simplify figures; the interlacing of lines to complicate space; the impossibly accurate description of subjects using the barest of means. This study of contrasts is especially clear in The Reader, where Seurat expressly manipulated the dense chiaroscuro in such a way as to emphasize the volume and bulk of the figure.
Given the great maturity of the dramatic subject and how he covered the full sheet, we date the present work ca. 1881-82. Robert L. Herbert confirms Seurat’s mastery of drawing during this time period : “in just a little over a year after his return to Paris in November 1880, Seurat developed the distinctive drawing style which has placed him among the greatest masters of black and white. By 1882 he fully realized the rich, velvety drawings in Conté crayon which are so superb in every sense that they are a serious challenge to the pre-eminence of his painting. To many, as he was only in his early twenties at that period, the rapidity of his maturity was astonishing. In spite of his precocious competence, no drawing before 1881 can begin to compare with the quality of his first mature works” (Seurat’s Drawings, London, 1965, pp. 35-36). In very good condition, the sheet is laid down on paper and the upper border is irregular; a triangle small part of the drawing is missing on the lower ridge. However it does not disturb the overall perception and power of the work.
Edouard Vuillard 1868 Cuiseaux – La Baule 1940 Head of a Woman smiling
Pastel and black chalk on cardboard, ca. 1890-1891 Atelier stamp lower right E. Vuillard Size 273 x 215 mm Reference Antoine Salomon & Guy Cogeval, Vuillard, Le Regard innombrable, Catalogue critique des peintures et pastels, vol. I, Paris, Skira/Seuil, p. 115, II-75 (ill.) Provenance Private collection, United Kingdom.
Definitely, this is one of the most fascinating pastels that we had the opportunity to see, among the early works of the artist. It underlines the taste of Vuillard for the Unheimlich, this uncanniness that haunted Freud all his life. This women looks at us with a visionary smile, tense, with the lips and mouth barely sketched, with her touching almond eyes. The notebook 1.2 of his Journal (1890) starts with a series of drawings where reinterpreted female fashion prints alternated with close-up views of faces. At the turn of the 1890s, Vuillard loved to represent bodies and facial appearance subjected to what Freud called “Pulsion” (Trieb), to paroxysmal emotions. Here the “japonizing” face is surprisingly made of nearly concentric strokes, as if made by fingerprints. The present sheet is like an experiment by an artist who between 1889 and 1891 multiplied the most provocative synthetism inventions, schematism, interlocking patches of colors, enigmatic silhouette, linear arabesques, and rhythm of lines to be deciphered. The present work has been certified by Antoine Salomon the 14th February 1984.
Honoré Daumier 1808 Marseille – Valmondois 1879 Les Célébrités du Juste Milieu Celebrities of the Juste Milieu Terracotta busts, thirty-one pieces, ca. 1832-1835, edition in 1927, Oval dry stamp on bases in the terracotta M. Le Garrec Paris, annotated with the names and the Gobin numbers, and numbered in terracotta according the so-called edition up to seven Size From 12.9 x 12.8 x 10.5 cm to 23.3 x 14.7 x 13.3 cm (most of them ca. 16 x 14.5 x 11.5 cm) Literature Maurice Gobin, Daumier Sculpteur 1808-1879, Genève, Pierre Caillier, 1952 Jean-Claude Romand, Daumier Sculpteur, Paris, Sagot–Le Garrec, 1979 Daumier 1808-1879, exh. cat., Paris, Musée d’Orsay, October 1999 - January 2000, pp. 84-161 Provenance Maurice Le Garrec (1927); Private collection, France.
An astonishing set of thirty-one terracotta’s busts after Daumier original clay busts. We reproduce here only a few. The full list, images and descriptions are available on request. A museum ensemble that should delight many visitors.
document of the time which gives information on the origin of the works. When, in his speech of 30 January 1831, King Louis-Philippe made public that he wanted to place himself in the “juste milieu”, far from the excesses of the popular 2 powers as well as the abuses of the royal authorities , he offered to Philipon, a fierce republican, a readymade formula that the latter was quick to exploit. This is the context where Daumier modeled the most brilliant and inspired series of sculptured caricatures of the 19th century. Daumier himself acknowledged that “If Philipon had not been behind me, I 3 would have done nothing .”
“La Caricature once promised to its subscribers a gallery of portraits of celebrities of the ‘juste milieu’ whose resemblance thoroughly studied should have not only an energetic character but also a farcical feature, known under the name of ‘charge’. As it used to show in all its publications, the ingredients of success, La Caricature […] ordered a model of each celebrity in maquette. It was according to these pieces that the drawings 1 were later realized .” So was the way Charles Philipon, director of La Caricature, introduced in 1832, and the origin of the clay busts modeled by Honoré Daumier. This is the only
The exact numbers of “charged busts” originally made remains unknown – very fragile and considered as such in the second half of the 19th century – some may have been destroyed. 18
According to different sources, it was considered at the turn of the century that most probably their number was between thirty-six and thirty-eight. Few were restored in 1878. The busts remained in the hands of the Philipon family until 1927 when they were sold to Maurice Le Garrec (1881-1937). The latter had them restored by the sculptor Pierre Felix Masseau, and the same year ordered an edition on terracotta. This turned out to be extremely delicate and difficult and the project was stopped after, at most, seven copies per bust. Each copy was numbered and for some of them the number 5 was either not attained or lost. Some busts were hand-colored. This terracotta edition was never offered for sale and remained in the hands of the Le Garrec family. Later Le Garrec ordered two bronze editions : a first one of twenty-five - thirty copies per busts and another of three copies per bust for his family. Connoisseurs generally agree that these bronze editions were much less convincing than the terracotta's. The thirty-six original busts in clay were acquired by the Musée d'Orsay in 1980 and restored in 1999 for the Daumier exhibition. The present series of thirty-one busts remains the largest one in private hands; fifteen busts are hand-colored.
preceded that of the busts which in their turn preceded the passage to the lithographs. This sequence was an exception in its time and anticipated the abolition of the frontiers between art techniques, as promoted by the romantics. However, as Alexandre justly remarked “the two works (i.e. bust and lithograph) were not copies of each other, but were somehow 5 like twin-sisters .”
The Celebrities is a terrific example of the various aspects of Daumier's oeuvre. Adhémar and Debré have underlined the importance of the previous series of Grimaces, by Louis-Léopold Boilly, published in 1823, in the origin of the “charged busts” 4 of Daumier . In Daumier the idea of the masks most likely
In fine condition. Notes for two pieces : Jean-Ponce Viennet (no. 8) and François-Pierre Guizot (no. 22) have both a small lack of ca. 3mm (in the hair for the first and on the right ear for the second).
1 2 3 4 5 6
In 1831, Jean-Pierre Dantan presented at the Salon, “small 6 charged busts of six inches ” that were highly praised, however they never attained the formidable psychological penetration of Daumier busts. Daumier used to say that one must be of his time and his busts are a perfect illustration : they are pitiless but not treacherous. They aimed less at the distortion than at the heightening of the characters, half way already between realism and expressionism, in order to express universal types, escaping from the limits of the historical context. Balzac aimed at the same goal when he wrote his "Physiologies" in 1829. Much later, these busts modeled forcefully with hands by Daumier in clay might appear to be the missing link between Pajou and Rodin.
La Caricature, no. 78, 26 avril 1832, p.2. Francis Haskell, « L’Art et et le langage politique », in Le Débat, no. 44, March-May 1987, p. 111. Jean Adhémar, Honoré Daumier, Paris, 1954, p. 82. Jean Adhémar, « Daumier et Boilly », in Arts et Livres de Provence, no. 27, May 1955, pp. 18-20. Arsène Alexandre, H. Daumier. L’Homme et l’œuvre, Paris, H. Laurens, 1888, p. 61. Philippe Sorel, « Les Dantan du musée Carnavalet. Portraits-charges sculptés de l’époque romantique », in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, no. 1404, Jan. 1986, p. 31. 19
Alfred Stevens 1823 Ixelles – Paris 1906 Camille Lemonier dans l’atelier du peintre Camille Lemonnier in the painter’s studio Oil on canvas, ca. 1880 Size 61 x 48 cm Provenance Private collection, Paris.
the No theatre mask, the paper-and-bamboo fan and umbrella, a peacock feather and a bunch of Pampa herbs (cortaderia argentea) in front of the window give the whole composition a definite touch of a “japonism” atmosphere. Here Stevens provided a perfect archetype of an artist workshop as it was very fashionable in 19th century France, where apparently esoteric objects respond to each other and create a unique and highly personal mood. The solitude of the workshop developed a romantic power that was preciously cultivated in the 19th century iconography. The right style of Stevens is evident here and the painting is to be ranked with some major works of the painter on the workshop theme : The Rest of the artist (1855, Baltimore), The Painter workshop (1869, Brussels) and The workshop (1888, New York).
A superb portrait Camille Lemonnier in the own studio of the acclaimed painter Alfred Stevens. This painting, well known in the literature, was almost never displayed in public. It exemplifies a fascinating chapter of the artistic history between Paris and Brussels at the end of the 19th century, for which we strongly recommend the excellent article of Nathalie Aubert : ”Camille Lemonier, Alfred Stevens the improbable modernity” in La Belgique entre deux siècles : laboratoire de la modernité, 1880-1914, Oxford, Peter Lang, 2007, pp. 175-194. With Maurice Maeterlinck, Georges Rodenbach, Charles Van Lerberghe and Emile Verhaeren, Camille Lemonnier is a key Belgian writer in Europe at the end of the 19th century, and particularly in Paris. Like his contemporaries, his fields of interests and his intellectual network were wide-ranging with a particular focus on pictorial and decorative arts. Here, the writer is shown like a painter artist in his workshop. The latter is full of eclectic objects, however iconic of his interests : a reproduction of a famous Dürer’s drawing, kept in Vienna, emphasizes the firm anchorage of the writer in the artistic European tradition. But the reared horse in terra cotta,
The present work has been examined by Brame and Lorenceau in 2003. It will be included in their catalogue raisonné in preparation by Christiane Lefebvre. In fine conditions, without any retouch and no relined. A few tiny dots from the preliminary coat have gone through the painted coat and let see a relief at places.
Richard Nicolaus Roland Holst 1868 – Amsterdam – 1938 La Jeune fille et la Mort The young Girl with Death Oil on canvas, 1894 Signed and dated lower left with monogram RN 94 RH Size 67 x 49 cm Provenance Private collection, Belgium.
Much influenced at the start of his career by the impressionism of his teacher George Hendrik Breitner, Roland Holst evolved from the years 1891-92 towards the symbolist ring and established links with Derkinderen, Toorop and Thon Prikker, those being in contact with the Belgian group Les XX. Between 1891 and 1900, his work was inspired by characters of the symbolist literature, as Péléas et Mélisande of Maeterlinck. In 1892, he lithographed Mélisande as a young girl of fragile appearance, seated at the edge of a pond of profound and dark waters. In the year 1892, took place numerous events which prompted the Dutch avant-garde to develop its links with Belgium. The exhibition of Van Gogh works, organized by Roland Holst at the Panoramagebouw in Amsterdam resulted from the numerous contacts between the Dutch and Belgian avant-garde, with works coming from the Kunstkring of The Hague and the Belgian association Pour l’Art. Henry Van de Velde even wrote an article about it in L’art Moderne.
movement. He criticized Toorop and Thorn Prikker for their too individualistic symbolism and argued in favor of an intellectual and social art directly linked to one’s political convictions. His later work concentrated on mural decorations and painted glasses in Beurs van Berlage, the Supreme Court in The Hague and the Utrecht cathedral. From 1926 until 1934, he was elected director of the Academy of Amsterdam. He had a profound influence on the new generation of artists through his writings and his monumental works. Our painting is an outstandingly rare example of the symbolist works of the artist that still survive today. Holst made some prints of symbolist themes during the early 1890s, but very few paintings, though of high quality, are known which can be linked to this source of inspiration. Thanks to Toorop, he visited the 1893 issue of Les XX in Brussels, where he could admire La Maison rose of William Degouve de Nunques (Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo). In painting The young Girl with Death, few months after, Holst seems to have remembered of the nocturnal atmosphere of the Degouve de Nunques painting, but he accentuated the dream-like aspect of the surroundings, rendering it in light and dark blue shades, from which only shine the clear spots of the stars and of the barks of the silver birches. Some years later, this special “ blue shades rending” created by Holst in The young Girl with Death, was adopted on his turn by Degouve de Nuncques in his most celebrated works like the Nocturne au Parc royal de Bruxelles (Musée d’Orsay, Paris) or L’Effet de nuit (Musée d’Ixelles, Belgium).
Holst stayed in Belgium in 1893 and 94 where he had the opportunity to visit the exhibition of Les XX, and to develop his interest for applied arts, much appreciated on the other side of the frontier. The literary and artistic Dutch review Van nu and Straks invited contributions from Belgian decorative artists like Van de Velde, Lemmen and Van Ryselberghe, together with Dutch artists as Toorop, Thorn Prikker and Holst. During the 1894-95 winter, Holst stayed in London to get inspiration from the English arts and crafts. From 1895 onwards, he wrote many articles about his idealistic vision of Art and somewhat distanced himself from the symbolist
William de Degouve de Nuncques 1867 Monthermé – Stavelot 1935 Les Serviteurs de la Mort The Death Servants Pastels on paper on canvas, ca. 1894-97 Signed W D de N. and dated 94 Sheet 932 x 734 mm Literature Paul and Luc Haesaerts, William Degouve de Nuncques, Brussels, Cahiers de Belgique, 1935, pl. 7; André De Ridder, William Degouve de Nuncques, Brussels, Elsevier, 1957, pl. 11 Exhibitions Schaerbeek, Willem Degouve de Nuncques, City hall, 1934 (no cat.); Stavelot, Willem Degouve de Nuncques, Musée de l’Ancienne Abbaye, 1963; Brussels, Le Symbolisme en Belgique, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bruxelles, 2010, p. 308 (ill.) Provenance William Degouve de Nuncques, up to his death in 1935; his wife, born Suzanne Poulet (1880-1964); sold by the latter in 1948 to a private collection, Belgium; thence by descent.
This is one of the largest and most powerful pastels ever seen from William Degouve de Nuncques. The symbolist content is so vigorous that it belongs to the heart of the Belgian Symbolist movement, without equivalent about the subject.
The technique of pastel and the style are here very close to other pastel works of this period, especially this way of representing trees and forests, i.e. the Intérieur de Forêt (dated 94, Musée de l’Ecole de Nancy), Le Cygne Noir (dated 95, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo) and A Venise (dated 95, idem). After 1899-1900, Degouve will not work with pastel anymore, except for very rare exceptions much lighter on paper.
Being born into a wealthy, aristocratic family, Degouve de Nuncques was able to indulge his interests in painting and music without material constraints. Although self-taught, he was advised by Jan Toorop, with whom he shared a studio, and later lived with the off-screen artist, Henry de Groux. Verhaeren’s poetry and Degouve’s art shared many concerns, and both essentially sought to transfigure reality in the sense that it affords a view of the invisible. Degouve in particular wanted to create works that transfigure the everyday and metamorphose the real into something magic and surreal. He belonged to the Belgian avant-garde group Les XX. A regular exhibitor in Paris, Degouve de Nuncques was championed by Puvis de Chavannes and Maurice Denis. His paintings are considered to have been a significant influence on Surrealism and the paintings of René Magritte.
The subject area is typical for Degouve in the years 1894-98 and the link to the Symbolist poetry is obvious through the “Trilogie noire” of Verhaeren (Soirs , Débacles  and Flambeaux noirs ), poems by Maeterlinck and Rodenbach. Also, by Degouve, the painter is never far away from the poet and his own poems could be also adduced for the present composition. Everything is here: nocturne atmosphere, macabre scene, unclear meaning, opposition between dark and light at dawn of the day, the light of the sun being relegated in the background. The chromasticism of nocturne as the musical model used by Debussy, Fauré and d’Indy is obvious. It is worth mentioning that the present work was in Degouve’s studio and in the hands of his wife up to 1948. It was bought by the father of the current owner, so the provenance is back to its creation. It is also described in the 1935 list of the Degouve works known in collections.
George Minne 1866 Ghent – Sint-Martens-Latem 1941 Baigneuse Female bather Plaster cast with patina, three additions of plaster made by the artist, on top of the head and on extremities of the base to fix the metallic spike for the transfer, 1899 Size 405 x 23 x 165 mm Literature Leo Van Puyvelde, George Minne, Brussels, 1930, cat. no. 31 Related pieces Baigneuse, plaster cast (Ghent); Baigneuse, white marble (Brussels); Baigneuse, bronze (Amsterdam) Provenance Louis Du Bar (1876 - 1951), sculptor and friend of George Minne.
See detail of the head, page 38 (index)
Born in Ghent, in a family of architects, George Minne started his training at the local Koninklijke Akademie voor Schoone Kunsten in 1882. He had just left studying architecture to devote himself to painting and sculpting, the latter becoming his favorite medium. In 1886, he opened his workshop in the center of Ghent and started developing a sculptural expression clearly different from the academic tradition. Les Hommes combattant and La Mère pleurant son enfant, realized in 1886 exemplify the simple and direct power of expression looked after by the artist. The turning point in the work of the artist resulted from his encounter with three French-speaking, symbolist writers, Van Lerberghe, Le Roy and, most importantly, Maeterlinck. For his first exhibition, at the Ghent Salon in 1889, Minne presented Le Petit blessé, a first example of a teenager standing with his feet apart. Verhaeren, in L’Art Moderne, praised the artist and the movements “simple, naïve and primitive” of his sculptures, far from conventions. From 1895 onwards, when Minne had settled in Brussels, started a very creative period during which he realized L’Enfant prodigue (1896), Le Porteur d’Outre (1897) and various versions of L’Adolescent agenouillé.
Europe, especially in Vienna where he became a member of the Vienna Secession. His Baigneuse was exhibited there in 1902, for the 14th exhibition. His juvenile figures, delicate and self-absorbed were quite in phase with the Jugendstil and the Art Nouveau esthetics and have made a definite influence on artists like Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele. Our Baigneuse made in 1899 remembers from her pose, the recurrent motive of the young boy kneeling. Our sculpture, however, distinguishes itself by the impetus that liberated the trunk from the central vertical axis to move it in a diagonal twisting, stabilized by the arms opened at right angle but amplified by rotation of the head to the back and the look directed behind the shoulders. This tri-dimensional move is exceptional in the work of Minne where the figures withdrawn to themselves adopt very often a vertical pose. The spatial pose of the Baigneuse requires to see her from different points of view. This is what Fritz Waerndorfer, founder of the Wiener Werkstätte had perfectly understood : he possessed a marble version placed on a pedestal in front of a mirror, so that the Baigneuse could be admired in her entirety. The present Baigneuse is among the very first pieces made by the artist, witness the metallic attaches plastered in the extremities of the statue in preparation of the transfers. The patina is spectacular.
The same year of the present piece, in 1899, Meier Graefe opened in Paris the gallery La Maison Moderne, where pieces from Minne were exhibited with those of Meunier and Rodin. The success was moderate, however his masterpiece La Fontaine aux agenouillés (1898) established his reputation in
Léon Spilliaert 1881 Ostend – Brussels 1946 Oiseau de proie The Bird of Prey Brush, wash drawing with ink and black chalk on wove paper, 1903 Signed and dated at bottom lower left L. Spilliaert / 1903 Sheet 503 x 356 mm Literature Xavier Tricot, Léon Spilliaert, les années 1900 – 1915, Ghent, 1996, p. 49 (ill.) Michel Draguet, Art belge, un siècle moderne, Brussels, 2012, p. 55 (ill.) Provenance Private collection, Antwerp.
Registered in October 1899 at the Academy of Fine Arts, in Bruges, Léon Spilliaert stayed there only three months, leaving the academic teaching to work by himself. Around 1902, he became close to the Brussels editor, Edmond Deman who employed him until 1904 and gave him the opportunity to meet his avant-garde circle of symbolist poets and painters. At his request from 1902, the artist produced then illustrations of the works of Verhaeren and of the edition of the whole theatre oeuvre of Maeterlinck that he finished in 1903. The Deman’s copy (private coll., Antwerp), entirely hand-illustrated by Spilliaert revealed the most particular universe of the young artist, a fantastic world, ghostly faces, dark shores, empty rooms.
As soon as 1902, Spilliaert found his sources of inspiration in the literature. In a group of washes realized between 1902 and 1904, he presented birds of prey, rapacious females like the Harpies inspired by Les Chants de Maldoror of Lautréamont which speaks of “a series of bird of prey,... as beautiful as 2 skeletons .” The frightening female creature, L’Oiseau de proie is the largest drawing of the series and, for sure, the most majestically impressive. The subtleties of the wash work where, through many variations of blacks and greys, the wings of this Harpy are disappearing in smoke, intensify the enigmatic and frightening character of this nightmare figure. Definitively a stunning work between symbolism and expressionism, and a very large sheet.
Profoundly solitary, Spilliaert drew his inspiration from his nocturnal walks in the city of Ostend. He privileged ink wash and watercolors for fixing his visions. The artist was deeply affected by despair as shown by the letter he wrote to his friend Jean De Mot on the 6th February 1909 : “Until now, my life has been solitary and sad, with an immense cold around 1 me .” Very individualistic, Spilliaert refused to belong to any organized group of artists. Notwithstanding, from 1908 onwards, he exhibited regularly in Ostend, Brussels and also Paris where Clovis Sagot presented his works with Picasso ones. Spilliaert found his true friends in literary circles of Brussels and Paris. He became very close to Emile Verhaeren, Fernand Crommelynck and Stefan Zweig; all of them bought some of his works.
AACB, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels.
4th song, stanza 5.
Rodolphe Bresdin 1822 Montrelais – Sèvres 1885 Le Départ pour la chasse The Start for hunting Etching on Chine on wove paper, 1869 Dedicated by Rodolphine Bresdin in pencil lower right “au grand ami E A Bourdelle / au grand illustre maître / au grand génial artiste / Rodolphine Bresdin”; with the stamp Bft lower right (Lugt 2194) Plate 253 x 349 mm Reference Van Gelder 133 Provenance Private collection, France.
A superb and dark impression. The plate is extremely rare. Van Gelder knew only four impressions : Chicago, New York (MET), Paris (BnF), ex-coll. Beurdeley (loc. unknown) and ex-coll. Lafarges (sold in 2005 with premium 25,200€), to which we can add the present one, dedicated to Antoine Bourdelle by Bresdin’s daughter. It is actually the largest etching made by the artist. This fiery plate shows all fantasy and improvisations of the printmaker, with figures from the Middle-age mixed with oriental ones all over the foreground and on the balconies of the building, encircled by an inspired and luxuriant vegetation reworked several times. Robert de Montesquiou described the plate as “un moyenâgeux départ pour la chasse sur l’air de Assez dormir, ma belle / Ta cavale 1 Isabelle / Hennit sous le balcon… ” In fine condition. A few tiny fox marks upper right on the Chine paper.
Robert de Montesquiou, L’inextricable graveur Rodolphe Bresdin, Paris, 1913, pp. 32-33.
Armand Seguin 1869 Paris – Châteauneuf-du-Faou 1903 Le Café The Café Soft-ground etching and roulette on laid paper, 1893 Artist’s red ink stamp twice, upper and lower right Plate 395 x 235 mm Reference Field 23
This is a superb impression of The Café, a pretty rare Seguin plate to find in such a quality. Patterns and subjects matter relate the present plate to Seguin famous painted screen, The Delight of Life, of ca. 1892-1893 (private coll., USA). Their composition are characterized by flat patterns silhouetted against each other to create convoluted, wiry lines whose agitated curves together with the caricature features of the figures are reminiscent of works by Toulouse-Lautrec, as is the compositional device of silhouetting flat figures against a background of opposite tonality. Few Seguin’s print have a narrative theme, and any suspicion of emotional content behind their bold formal elements is very rare. Here, however, he presents a highly decorative surface and an emotional atmosphere with several potential interpretations. Armand Seguin was 34 when he died of tuberculosis. He was born in Brittany and studied in the Paris in the late 1880s. He took up printmaking with enthusiasm in late 1890 and 1891. Although it played a very significant part in his oeuvre his graphic work is relatively little known and hard to find. The work that he did on Parisian themes was very much influenced by the posters and the caricatures of Toulouse-Lautrec as well as the Nabis, while Breton subjects of 18932-94 are in a synthesis style closer to the art of Emile Bernard and Paul Sérusier, what we call the School of Pont-Aven. These two threads intertwine throughout the years 1891-1893, making chronological judgments difficult. Only a few impressions are known of each plate. In fine condition. 34
Paul Gauguin 1848 Paris – Tahiti 1903 Noa Noa - Embaumé Embaumé Fragant Scent Woodcut (on boxwood) printed in black over irregular stippled, undertone of orange-yellow oil paint on thin wove paper, ca. 1894 Image 149 x 119 mm Reference Mongan/Kornfeld 34, second state of three Provenance Sagot-Le Garrec in 1905 (see below); Private collection, France.
A very rare and fascinating impression of the second state of three. According the catalogue raisonné and to our knowledge, there is one impression of the first state (Chicago), five impressions of the second state including this one (Chicago x2, Paris (ex-Petiet) and Northampton), and one impression of a so-called third state (now at the MET). The ex-Petiet copy (now BnF, Paris) was the only one on the market for twenty-five years and was actually weaker than the present copy. All impressions of the first and second state have been printed with irregular stippled undertone of orange-yellow oil paint. It is pretty unclear what Gauguin wanted but it gives a mysterious atmosphere to the composition. Gauguin liked printing experimentations much more than reworked the plate like precedents of Degas or Pissarro for instance.
publish ten of them (not this one) with a text written together by him and Charles Morice, each composition illustrating a chapter, but it never came out. He then exhibited his news works in December 1894 in his studio. The ensemble had technically and aesthetically nothing to do with his early lithographs and etchings, and there was no precedent of working woodblocks with such power and vitally, that makes comparison with contemporary Henri Rivière or Lucien Pissarro absurd. Alfred Jarry and Rémy de Gourmont mentioned the exhibition in the L’Ymagier, the journal devoted entirely to the woodcut revival, and both Julien Leclercq and Charles Morice wrote rhapsodically about the prints, 1 considering them as “a revolution in the art of printmaking. ” About the provenance, the original frame bears the following : “Échangé contre deux toiles de A. Beaufrère / chez SAGOT LE GARREC 24 rue du Four / en 1905.” [Exchanged for two oils by A. Beaufrère / at SAGOT LE GARREC 24 rue du Four / in 1905].
Gauguin cut this block during his return in France, after the first Tahitian years between 1891 and 1893; most probably on the recto of the block of Idole Tahitienne (Mongan/Kornfeld 32). The work is in line with the Noa-Noa project, compositions of figures and landscapes from Tahiti. He finally intended to
In very good condition.
Charles Morice, « Le Départ de Paul Gauguin », in Le Soir, 29 Juin 1895, p. 2.
Henri de Toulouse Lautrec 1864 Albi – Malromé 1901 La Revue Blanche
Color lithograph printed in olive green, blue, red and black inks, with brush and spaying techniques, on two joined wove sheets, linen-backed, 1895 Sheet 1289 x 927 mm Reference Delteil 355; Adriani 130; Wittrock P16, first state of three Provenance Sagot-Le Garrec, Paris, sold in 1937 (ink stamp in the bottom margin); Mr. Swope, purchased from the above; Peter Bartlett, New-York; thence by descent.
A superb and extremely rare impression of the first state, with the image of the skater woman (the remarque) on the lower left, before letter and with the monogram, the date and the printer’s name. According to La Revue Blanche archives, an art and literary magazine, it has been published at fifty copies, may be for the subscribers. However, as it was usual at that time, the announced printing might not have be completed as only four impressions are known in public collections following Wittrock entry, to which we can add the present one and one in a private collection, Japan. Even the BnF in Paris does not have it in its collection. The second state does not have the remarque; the third state has the letter and the address of La Revue Blanche.
The present copy of the first state has been sold to Mr. Swope, most probably an American collector, on the 14th of December 1937 by the Galerie Sagot-Le Garec in Paris. According to the Galerie archives (kept since 1903), this was the only one impression before letter that they had got, providing another proof of its rarity. It came later in the hands of Peter Bartlett, who began collecting paintings, prints and posters in the early 1990s. What started as a hobby quickly became a true passion for late 19th century artists. Over time though, Barlett’s passion became focused on the life and works of Toulouse-Lautrec, and his collection became one of the finest at the end of the twentieth century. In fine condition. The colors between the two sheets varies slightly as usual, because the sheets were not pulled at exactly the same time.
With Le Divan Japonais, La Revue Blanche of 1896 was certainly the most famous Lautrec poster, very elegant and Nabis, and a sign of his great panache as lithograph-maker. It had been ordered by the Revue as its annual poster. It is the portrait of Misia Natanson, most likely skating. She was the wife of Thadée Natanson, co-editor of La Revue Blanche. Marcel Proust said that Misia’s salon was the epitome of society life; she succeeded in winning numerous avant-garde writers, composers and artists for the magazine. Lautrec was a frequent visitor to the Natanson home from 1893, as were Valéry, Mirbeau, Jarry, Bonnard, Vuillard, Vallotton, Debussy and Terrasse, and, later, Gide and the young Colette. The remarque of the poster probably shows Liane de Lancy skating, at the Palais de Glace which was opened in 1884 (see Wittrock 144).
Odilon Redon The Spider lithograph 1887 (sold)
Index of artist names Bresdin, Rodolphe Daumier, Honoré Degouve de Nuncques, William de Gauguin, Paul Goltzius, Hendrick Holst, Richard Nicolaus Roland Minne, George Rembrandt, Harmensz. Van Rijn Schongauer, Martin Seguin, Armand Seurat, Georges Spilliaert, Leon Stevens, Alfred Toulouse, Lautrec Henri de Vuillard, Edouard
30 10, 16 24 34 6 22 26 8 4 32 12 28 20 36 14
Front cover Alfred Stevens, Camille Lemonnier in the painter’s studio, cat. 8 (detail) Left Odilon Redon, The Spider (sold) George Minne, Female bather, cat. 11 (detail) Next page Honoré Daumier, Celebrities of the Juste Milieu, cat. 7 (détail) Back cover Francisco Goya y Lucientes, Bajan riñendo - They go down quarrelling (sold)
Catalogue entries Translation/Editing Photographs Photogravure Design Printed by
Eric Gillis Mathieu Neouze Jean-Marie Gillis Soraya Zaumeyer L’Atelier de L’Imagier Luc Schrobiltgen Florent Dumas Olivier Dengis, Mistral Bvba Arthur Calame Impressor Pauwels Sprl printed in Brussels in June 2014 �Eric Gillis Fine Art – June 2014
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