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    Sale 11964

    Prints & Multiples

    15 March 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 44

    Pierre Bonnard

    Quelques aspects de la vie de Paris

    Price Realised  


    Pierre Bonnard
    Quelques aspects de la vie de Paris
    the complete set of 13 lithographs in colours including the title, 1895-98, the title on China paper, otherwise on fine wove paper, the colours exceptionally fresh and bright, four signed or initialled in pencil and variably numbered from the edition of one hundred, printed by A. Clot, published by A. Vollard, Paris, 1899, the full sheets, generally in very good condition, all within the original card mounts, loose within the original half-vellum and batik-printed paper-covered folder

    600 x 450 x 25 mm. (overall)

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    'No one better captures the look of the street, the coloured patch seen through the Parisian mist, the passing silhouettes, a young girl's frail grace. A searching hand moving with simian pliancy seizes the passing gesture, the evanescent faces of the street, born and vanished on the instant. It is the poetry of life that is gone, a remembrance of things, of animals, of human beings'. Gustave Geffroy (1855-1926) (quoted in: Rediscovered Printmakers of the 19th Century, Merrill Chase Gallery, Chicago, 1978).

    Quelques Aspects de la vie de Paris is regarded as Bonnard’s tour de force in printmaking. Commissioned by Ambroise Vollard in 1895, the suite was displayed for the first time in Vollard’s gallery at No. 6 Rue Lafitte in March 1899, along with other new lithographic commissions, including Edouard Vuillard’s Paysages et intérieurs (see lot 45) and Maurice Denis’s Amour (see lot 46). Eschewing the popular taste at the time for views of famous Parisian landmarks, Bonnard chose to depict a more personal experience of city; the view from his studio window in Montmartre, or the commonplace sights of urban life. The only identifiable sights are incidental, the Moulin de la Galette, just visible in the middle distance of the title-page (Bouvet 58), and the Arc de Triomphe (B. 69), at the far end of the avenue du Bois de Boulogne. A formative precedent for Bonnard was Hiroshige’s famous series of Ukiyo-e woodcuts One Hundred Famous Views of Edo; especially the use of the elevated vantage point, which Bonnard found well suited to the depiction of Paris’s wide boulevards, and the masterful evocation of the effects of weather. Taking his cue from Hiroshige, Bonnard’s series of lithographs wonderfully displays the life of the city and its passing seasons; bustling streets with people, dogs, carriages, bicycles, top hats and parasols, in bright sunshine, mist, or the moment before a storm.

    Only four of the prints appear to have been systematically signed and numbered (B. 61, 63, 68 and 70) and in many cases the numbering within the albums is not consistent, as is the case in the present example. Complete series of Quelques Aspects de la vie de Paris are not unobtainable, however, this set is perhaps one of the finest to have appeared in recent years. We are not aware of any other sets which have been offered at auction with the original batik printed boards.

    Special Notice

    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
    These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. This VAT is not shown separately on the invoice. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.


    Acquired in Paris in the late 1920's; then by descent.

    Pre-Lot Text



    Roger-Marx 56-68; Bouvet 58-70
    C. Ives, H. Giambruni, S. M. Newman, Pierre Bonnard: The Graphic Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, (exh. cat.), p. 120-140.
    U. E. Johnson, Ambroise Vollard Editeur, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1977, cat. no. 10 (another example cited).