Accompanied by Patek Philippe Certificate of Origin and Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with polychrome enamel miniature painting "Déjeuner des Canotiers" in 1990 and its subsequent sale on 12 June 1991. It has never been offered in public before.
For over 3,000 years, fine enamelling has decorated and enriched watches, jewellery and objets d'art. Patek Philippe maintains this rare craft of miniature enamelling, traditionally associated with the finest Geneva timepieces, and in many ways the most difficult of the decorative arts.
Nowadays, only few artists such as G. Menni and Suzanne Rohr (see lot 427 in this auction) still master this art, more commonly found in openface watches. Hunter case examples, such as the present watch, are exceedingly rare. These fine Patek Philippe timepieces are, in general, made to special order with the subject matter to be represented chosen by the client. They often include famous landscape and portrait paintings, celebrities or even family members of the future owner.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) "Le Déjeuner des Canotiers" or "Luncheon of the Boating Party", Oil on canvas, 1881, 129 x 173 (51 x 68 ins), The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
One of Renoir's most renowned works, the "Déjeuner des Canotiers" is a wonderful portrayal of a relaxed summer gathering of his friends. In 1881, Renoir travelled to Algiers and then returned to France where he painted at Chatou and Bougival. At the Restaurant Fournaise on the island of Chatou he painted this scene of holidaymakers, featuring a number of friends, including his future wife Aline Charigot to the left.
Gustave Caillebotte, one of Renoir's wealthy clients, is shown in the foreground wearing a straw hat. Among others he owned his famous work "Le Moulin de la Galette". Caillebotte helped organise the seventh Impressionist exhibition in 1882, at which Le Déjeuner des Canotiers was shown and admired by many, including Eugene Manet who wrote to his wife Berthe Morisot that "the picture of rowers by Renoir looks very well".
The theme was one to which the Impressionists often returned. As the critic Rene Gimpel commented: "The Impressionists show their particular talent and attain the summit of their art when they paint our French Sundays... kisses in the sun, picnics, complete rest, not a thought about work, unashamed relaxation".