By Carter B. Horsley
day auction features several works by Odilon Redon (1840-1916),
Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) and Georges Roualt (1871-1958) as well
as a broad selection of Impressionist and Modern Art.
"Pégase blanc," is a 25 ¾-by-19 ¾-inch
oil on canvas, shown above, by Redon that has a conservative estimate
of $250,000 to $350,000. It sold for $292,000 including the buyer's
premium as do all results mentioned in this article. Redon enjoyed
fable from classical mythology and the catalogue notes that "the
mythical figure which Redon found most emblematic of his vision
of art and nature was neither human nor a god, but a fabulous
beast, the winged horse Pegasus." "In Greek mythology,
Pegasus was associated with the arts. He was born from sea-foamand
the blood of the slaughtered Medusa. Bellerophon tamed and rode
Pegasus using a golden bridle given him by Athena, goddess of
wisdom. Together they killed the fire-breathing serpent Chimaera.
Bellerophon then attempted to ride Pegasus into heaven, but was
thrown when Zeus sent a gadfly who bit Pegasus, yet another story
of human arrogance come to naught. Pegasus, untainted by such
human frailties, was alone allowed to rise to the heavens and
was made a constellation by the gods. The present work merges
two adventures from the career of this noble beast. In a battle
between the Muses and the daughters of Pieros, Mount Helicon (Parnassus)
was raised from the ground. Pegasus ascended to the summit and
gave the peak a kick, from which sprang the soothing waters of
the fountain Hippocrene.Twisting on the ground below is the serpent
Chimaera (sometimes misidentified as Hydra, which the hero Hercules
vanquished in another myth.) For Redon the white form of Pegasus
represented the human soul in its poetic purity and nobility existing
in a finely tuned balance with its fundamental animal nature.
Free, yet always attending to the welfare of humankind. Pegasus
rears up in triumph over baser passions and instincts.
work can often be pyrotechnical, but this painting is soft and
muted, albeit with the artist's customary wonderful painterliness
and Pegasus is shown in a lovely light against a very fine clouded
is a Redon floral still life entitled "Oeillets et gypsophile
dans un pichet vert." It has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.
It failed to sell. The 13 7/8-by-13 1/8-inch oil on canvas
departs a bit from the artist's typical still lifes in that it
seems to exist in a more hard-edged environment than his usual
rather gossamer worlds. The table on which the vase of flowers
sits is rendered with a great deal of texture and some of the
small flowers are quite lacey and delicate.
the table on which a vase of flowers sits in Lot 344, "Fleurs
dans un vase à motifs bleus," also by Redon, is hard
to discern and the vase almost appears to be floating and the
flowers are less sharply defined. This oil on canvas measures
18 1/8 by 21 ¾ inches and has an estimate of $250,000 to
$350,000 and was once in the Ian Woodner Family Collection. It
failed to sell.
provides the following commentary on this light:
began his series of flower paintings, both in oil and pastel,
after 1900,, when he was in his sixties. He seemed in the mood
to move away from the darkness of the troubling visions that had
preoccupied him in his earlier paintings, "noir"
drawings and lithographs. "The demons have retired.".Here
he has assembled poppies, anemones and geraniums in a stoneware
vase with an interlacing vine design, which, unlike other vases
he used, makes it sole appearance in this painting. The choice
of vase was important to Redon; many he used were produced by
his friend the Russian-born potter Marie Botkin. He was interested
in the decorative arts revival of the late 19th Century, which
sought sensitivity to materials and craft, preferred to work free
of literary references and looked to nature for inspiration.In
other works of this period Redon establishes a definite sense
of space by means of shadows and the hint of a horizontal tabletop.
The present painting looks forward to the next phase of flower
paintings, in which the vase appears to float in a vague, flattened
space. The flowers themselves, which Redon called `admirable prodigies
of light'.would soon be rendered in an increasingly decorative
and fantastical manner, showing the influence of Asian art.
"Nu rose se reflétant dans une glace," is a good
oil on canvas, 27 ¾ by 16 5/8 inches, by Pierre Bonnard.
Painted circa 1925, it has an estimate of $400,000 to $500,000.
It sold for $611,000. Another female nude by the artist
is Lot 325, "Femme nue à la lampe," an oil on
board laid down on cradled panel, 21 by 12 3/8 inches. It was
painted circa 1900 and is very nice and has a conservative estimate
of $100,000 to $150,000. It failed to sell. Lot 335, "La
femme à la rose ou Femme dans un intérieur,"
is a 24 ¾-by-18 7/8-inch oil on canvas, shown below, that
has an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000. It sold for $600,000.
It was once in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Edward G. Robinson.
and Bonnard works are rather typical of those artists' styles,
but some connoisseurs like atypical works.
is a 18 1/8-by-25 5/8-inch oil on canvas by Eugene Boudin (1824-1898)
that depicts a site that would be painted often by Monet, Etretat.
The 1890 work has an estimate of $80,000 to $100,000 and depicts
the interesting rock formation on the shore at sunset. Boudin,
who has become fairly "hot" in the current art market
is best known for his impressionistic marine and beach scenes
that have white clouds and blue skies as opposed to the rather
reddish palette of this work. It sold for $76,375.
(1872-1944) is best known of course for his abstractions, and
Lot 368, "Stammer Mill with Streaked Sky," shown above,
depicts a windmill in the early evening under dark clouds that
break horizontally near the horizon. The 29 ¼-by-38-inch
oil on canvas was painted in 1905-7 and the painting has a modest
estimate of $400,000 to $600,000 as it is very dramatic, although
dark, and very abstract and bold in its composition. It sold
rejection of narrative subject in favor of simplified outlines
and planar construction presage Mondrian's later abstract compositions,"
the catalogue observed.
"Petite banlieu (aux quatre cheminées), shown above,
is a very bold and striking cityscape of four, bright-red factory
chimneys by Georges Roualt, an artist better known for his depictions
of religious and circus subjects. It has a very conservative estimate
of $40,000 to $60,000 as it is probably the best painting in this
auction. It measures 18 by 25 ½ inches. It sold for
is another atypical and excellent Roualt. Entitled "Fleurs
décoratives," it is an oil on paper laid down on canvas,
shown above, that measures 44 5/8 by 30 ¾ inches and was
painted in 1937. It was once in the collection of Mr. and Mrs.
Edward G. Robinson and it has an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000
and it is very strong. It sold for $644,000. Another very
good Roualt is Lot 466, "Parade," a 25 1/8-by-19 ½-inch
oil and gouache on paper that was executed between 1931 and 1939
and has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000. It failed to sell.
"Le Pont-Neuf, La Seine. Petit bras," is a 25 5/8-by-36
14-inch oil on canvas of the famous bridge in Paris by Maximilien
Luce (1858-1941). The lovely early evening cityscape has an estimate
of $300,000 to $400,000. It sold for $270,000.
"Saint-Tropez, deux jeune filles à la fontaine,"
is the cover illustration of the catalogue. The 36 ¼-by-28
¾-inch oil on canvas, shown above, was painted by Henri
Lebasque (1865-1937) in 1906-7 and has a modest estimate of $120,000
to $160,000. It sold for $193,000.
"L'Istheme de Corinth," is a very nice oil on canvas,
28 ¾ by 21 ¼ inches, by Jean Metzinger (1883-1956).
It has an estimate of only $60,000 to $80,000. It sold for
"Nature morte devant la fenetre," is a oil on canvas,
39 ¼ by 28 3/8 inches, by Georges Valmier (1885-1937).
The attractive, Cubist-style work has an estimate of $80,000 to
$100,000 and was painted in 1925. It sold for $149,000.