• Impressionist and Modern Art auction at Christies

    Sale 5485

    Impressionist and Modern Art

    21 April 2010, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 76

    Henri Hayden (1883-1970)

    Composition cubiste

    Price Realised  


    Henri Hayden (1883-1970)
    Composition cubiste
    signed and dated 'Hayden/5 - 1913' (lower right)
    oil, gouache and pencil on paper
    29 x 22in. (73.7 x 55.9cm.)

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    Henri Hayden made the journey from Warsaw to Paris in 1907 - he had finally arrived in the city he knew held the promise of artistic zeitgeist. Unbeknownst to him his arrival coincided with one of the great turning points in the history of Art. This was the year in which Picasso, after a number of studies grasping ever closer to the primitive shattered finale, produced his seminal work Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. The combination of this painting, the 1907 Paris retrospective of Cézanne's work and Georges Braque's L'Estaque landscapes the year after conspired to kick-start Cubism as a movement in earnest.
    Paris, and in particular the areas of Montmartre and Montparnasse, became the epicentre of this ground-breaking new style. Taking its inspiration from Paul Cézanne's experimentation with spatial ambiguity, formal manipulation and simultaneity of perspective, Cubism found its champions in the circle of artists working around Picasso and Georges Braque. Hayden fell easily into this mêlée which included fellow Poles Alice Halicka, Moise Kisling, Louis Marcoussis, and Elie Nadelman.
    Hayden especially felt drawn to Cézanne's style, and from 1912 onwards he explored the synthetic construction of the earlier master's Mont Sainte-Victoire period. It is generally accepted that Hayden did not begin to fully embrace the Cubist vocabulary until 1915, when he signed a contract with the prominent Cubist dealer Léonce Rosenberg. However, Composition cubiste of 1913 (lot 75A) challenges this conception and shows that he was indeed producing work that communicated with that of Braque, Picasso and Gris during the movement's peak years.
    This powerful study adheres to Cézanne's principle of form over subject, examining the interplays of shape and volume, whilst featuring the staple motifs found in Analytic and Synthentic Cubism: geometric cones and triangles, the violin, wood grain and text. The 'JOLIE' that features in this composition is surely homage to Picasso's famous Cubist work, Ma Jolie of 1911-12 (Museum of Modern Art, New York). With its annotations of tone and texture, one can imagine the final incarnation of Composition cubiste as an exemplary piece of Synthetic Cubism, yet the muted monochrome of this study, however preparatory, immediately conjures those ground-breaking works of the early 1910's, like Braque's La tasse of 1911 (Anon. sale, Christie's New York, 2 May 2006, lot 42) which changed the course of Art in the 20th Century.

    Sold with a photo-certificate from Mr. Pierre Celice, dated Malakoff - le 11 Mars 2010.

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