Roger De La Fresnaye (1885-1925)
Roger De La Fresnaye (1885-1925)

La cheminée d’usine

Roger De La Fresnaye (1885-1925)
La cheminée d’usine
signed 'R de la Fresnaye' (lower right)
oil on canvas
23 5/8 x 28 ¾ in. (60 x 73.1 cm.)
Painted in 1912
Carrol Galleries, New York (1912).
John Quinn, New York (acquired from the above, April 1917).
Marcel Kapferer, Paris (1926 until at least 1953).
Carstairs Gallery, New York.
Ralph and Georgia Colin, New York (acquired from the above, October 1953); sale, Christie’s, New York, 10 May 1995, lot 49.
Acquired at the above sale by Achim Moeller Fine Art on behalf of John C. Whitehead.
J. Zilczer, John Quinn, Catalogue of Collection of Paintings, Water Colors, Drawings & Sculpture, Huntington, 1926, p. 10 (illustrated, p. 54; titled Landscape with Chimney).
The Bulletin of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, vol. XXXIV, Minneapolis, 1946, p. 37, no. 30 (illustrated).
G. Habasque, Cubism, Geneva, 1959, p. 115 (illustrated in color, p. 114; titled Landscape at Meulan).
G. Seligman, Roger de la Fresnaye, With a Catalogue Raisonné, London, 1969, p. 146, no. 106 (illustrated).
Santa Fe, Museum of New Mexico; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center; Tulsa, Philbrook Art Center; Dallas Museum of Fine Arts; The Museum of Fine Arts of Houston; Milwaukee Art Museum; Memphis, Brooks Memorial Art Gallery; Kansas City, William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art; Omaha, The Joslyn Memorial Museum; The Denver Art Museum; Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Milwaukee Art Institute, Ecole de peinture franc¸aise d'avant guerre en 1939, September 1945-May 1946, p. 36, no. 29.
Omaha, Joslyn Museum and The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, January-March 1946, no. 30.
Paris, Musée national d'art moderne, Le Cubisme, 1907-1914, January-April 1953, p. 42, no. 91 (titled Paysage de Meulen).
New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., The Colin Collection, Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture, April-May 1960, no. 57 (illustrated; titled Paysage de Meulan).
Buffalo, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Painters of the Section D'Or, The Alternatives to Cubism, September-October 1967, pp. 28 and 31 (illustrated, p. 29, fig. 14; titled Landscape at Meulan).
Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, "The Noble Buyer," John Quinn, Patron of the Avant-Garde, June-September 1978, pp. 110 and 169, no. 40 (illustrated in color; titled Landscape with Chimney).
New York, Achim Moeller Fine Art, The Whitehead Collection, Late 19th and 20th Century French Masters, 1997, p. 158, no. 93 (illustrated in color, p. 159).

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Morgan Schoonhoven
Morgan Schoonhoven

Lot Essay

A disciple of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, De la Fresnaye joined the burgeoning Cubist movement in 1911. He had begun experimenting with this new idiom as early as 1910 and soon became an avid promoter of the Cubist cause. However, the artist was soon disillusioned with the static nature of Cubism's rigorous systems and the denial of color and the human presence. His vision of nature was much more lyrical, appealing to his classical and poetic spirit. What he did garner from Cubism was an overall sense of discipline and a way of working that allowed him to abstract and distill the essence of his subject matter.
Painted in 1912, La cheminée d'usine is one of a series of about fifteen landscapes De la Fresnaye executed between 1911 and 1912. It depicts the gently sloping hills on the outskirts of the town of Meulan. The chimney that gives the painting its name billows gray smoke which echoes the stylized clouds. Germain Seligman notes: "Now the landscape is organized in geometric masses, impressive in power and weight. Though the lyric or bucolic aspects of the lovely countryside are never entirely ignored, it is significant that the artist usually chooses a distant viewpoint, as though from a dominating hill…There is an increased sense of action, a suggestion of a human movement, still viewed from afar, but one senses it in the greater diversification of color and in the less static atmosphere suggested by the rising smoke and the moving clouds" (op. cit., p. 32).
One of the first owners of the present painting was John Quinn, a New York lawyer and prominent patron of twentieth century art. A baker's son from a small provincial town in Ohio, Quinn became a champion of the avant-garde. By the time he died, his collection included major works by Constantin Brancusi, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso and had blossomed to over one thousand works of art. Following his death in 1924, his collection was sold in two auctions; one in Paris in 1926 and the other in New York in 1927.

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