• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 12147

    Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

    17 November 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1305

    Henri Lebasque (1865-1937)

    La sieste à Saint-Tropez

    Price Realised  


    Henri Lebasque (1865-1937)
    La sieste à Saint-Tropez
    signed ‘H. Lebasque’ (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    35 x 45 5/8 in. (88.8 x 115.8 cm.)
    Painted in 1906

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Christine Lenoir and Maria de la Ville Fromoit have confirmed the authenticity of this work.

    La sieste à Saint-Tropez was painted in 1906, at an important juncture in the career of Lebasque. The artist had already been a presence in the Parisian art world for some time, having participated repeatedly in various exhibitions. He was a friend of the Neo-Impressionists and the Nabis alike, and was rumored to have had his first art lesson from Camille Pissarro. He was already held in high regard for his lyrical images of family life or children playing. However, from 1906 onwards, these subjects started to gain a new luster thanks to his exposure to the South of France. Until that point, Lebasque had seldom traveled, aside from brief trips to London, Madrid and Venice. When he went to Saint-Tropez in 1906, by contrast, this marked the beginning of a love affair which would continue for much of the rest of his life. In 1924, he moved to Le Cannet, where his friend Pierre Bonnard would buy a house two years later.
    Lebasque had initially traveled to the South to stay with Henri Manguin, who was working in close contact with Henri Matisse at the time. From the present work it is clear that Lebasque shared some of the ideas that these artists were exploring during that period, at the high point of Fauvism. In this picture, the near-Pointillist manner that had characterized some of his earlier works has given way to a freer use of paint and color that is more expressive and expressionistic, recalling the brushwork of Vincent van Gogh more than his old mentor Pissarro. Lebasque has given a sense of life through the vitality of his brushwork to this scene of a beautiful reclining nude relaxing in a meadow. The olive trees and other foliage have been brought to life through the use of purples, pinks, and greens, while the dappled ground has been rendered using a rich tapestry of juxtaposed colors which shows a freedom that surpasses even the later works of Lebasque's friend Paul Signac.


    Mme Henri Lebasque, Paris (until at least 1957).
    Anon. sale, Musée Galliéra, Paris, 6 December 1963, lot 41.
    Hammer Galleries, New York (1981).
    Anon. sale, Sotheby's, London, 26 March 1986, lot 179.
    Anon. sale, Hôtel Rameau, Versailles, 7 December 1986, lot 128.
    Anon. sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 29 October 1999, lot 55.
    Anon. sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 22 June 2016, lot 63.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.


    D. Bazetoux, Henri Lebasque, Catalogue raisonné, Neuilly-sur-Marne, 2008, vol. I, p. 240, no. 923 (illustrated; with incorrect dimensions).


    (probably) Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Henri Lebasque, February 1907, no. 2 (titled Nu, en plein air).
    Nice, Musée d'art moderne des Ponchettes, H. Lebasque, July-September 1957, p. 12, no. 22.
    New York, Hammer Galleries, 19th & 20th Century European & American Paintings, The Gallery Collection, January-February 1983, p. 9, no. 24571-4 (illustrated in color; titled Nu).