Eva Gonzalès (1849-1883)
THE PERSONAL COLLECTION OF BARBARA LAMBRECHT, SOLD TO BENEFIT THE RUBENS PRIZE COLLECTION IN THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART IN SIEGENChristie’s is honoured to offer the following selection of works from the personal collection of the esteemed philanthropist and patron of the arts, Barbara Lambrecht. Assembled over the course of nearly four decades, Ms Lambrecht’s collection features works by a diverse range of artists, from early compositions by the great painters of Impressionism, to the refined techniques of the Pointillists, and the free, expressionist colours of the Fauves. In this way, the collection offers an intriguing insight into one of the most dynamic and exciting periods of the European artistic avant-garde. Ms Lambrecht’s collecting journey began in the 1970s, when an early interest in Impressionism encouraged her to purchase paintings by Eugène Boudin, Raoul Dufy and Berthe Morisot. From here, her treasured collection has grown and evolved to encompass works by some of the most influential artists of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee. This highly personal collection, shaped by Ms Lambrecht’s discerning vision and keen knowledge of art history, has filled the walls of the collector’s home for the past forty years. Considered together, the works reveal a series of intriguing connections to one another, their similarities and differences causing a dynamic dialogue to develop between each of the individual works in the collection. This is evident, for example, when Dufy’s portrayal of the northern coast of France is considered alongside Boudin’s painting of the same subject, or the contrasting painterly techniques of Monet’s loose, spontaneous compositions are observed beside Kees van Dongen’s highly saturated, impastoed areas of colour. One of the most striking features of the collection is the way in which the collection focuses on the pivotal periods in each artist’s career, often highlighting on a moment of transition as they begin to explore new, ground breaking techniques, subject matter or styles. Ms Lambrecht’s dedication to collecting has been paralleled by a prodigious journey in cultural philanthropy and patronage, as her passion for the arts has driven her to support a number of institutions in her native Siegen. Through her generous support, these bodies have become leaders in their respective fields, from the Philharmonic Orchestra Südwestfalen, to the city’s Apollo Theatre. Amongst her most remarkable and enduring charitable projects is her commitment to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Siegen, and her promotion of the Peter Paul Rubens Prize. Founded in 1955, the same year as the documenta in Kassel, this highly acclaimed international award is presented every five years to a contemporary artist living in Europe, to honour his or her lifetime achievements in art. Presented in remembrance of Peter Paul Rubens, who was born in Siegen, previous recipients include Giorgio Morandi, Francis Bacon, Antoni Tápies, Cy Twombly, Sigmar Polke, Lucian Freud, Maria Lassnig and Bridget Riley. To support the award, Ms Lambrecht founded the Rubens Prize Collection, acquiring comprehensive and exemplary groups of important paintings, sculptures and graphic pieces by each of the award’s former laureates, and then placing them on permanent loan to the Museum. Conceptually, the collection has been carefully curated so as to include works from each artist’s various creative phases, and continues to grow as it gathers examples from each new recipient of the prize. Creating an impressive survey of twentieth- and early twenty-first-century European art, from the quiet still-lifes of Morandi, and Riley’s iconic explorations of line and colour, to Bacon's emotionally charged figurative paintings and Maria Lassnig’s self-exploration of the human body, the Rubens Prize Collection offers visitors to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Siegen an in-depth look into the work of the acclaimed artists honoured by the city. With the sale of this outstanding group of impressionist and early modernist works, Ms Lambrecht plans to ensure the continued growth and evolution of the Rubens Prize Collection, and to secure its future for the enjoyment of subsequent generations in Siegen and throughout Europe.
Eva Gonzalès (1849-1883)

Portrait de Jeanne Gonzalès

Eva Gonzalès (1849-1883)
Portrait de Jeanne Gonzalès
stamped with the signature 'Eva Gonzalès' (lower right)
gouache and watercolour on paper
9 5/8 x 7 3/8 in. (24.3 x 18.6 cm.)
Executed circa 1870-1872
Philippe Burty, Paris, by 1885; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 2-3 March 1891, lot 94.
Anonymous sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 22 November 1982, lot 23.
Private collection, Paris.
Schröder und Leisewitz, Bremen.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1990.
S. Humair, 'Les femmes peintres: Du Réalisme à l'Impresssionnisme', in Gazette de l'Hôtel Drouot, no. 4, 23 January 1987 (illustrated p. 39).
M.C. Sainsaulieu & J. de Mons, Eva Gonzalès, 1849-1883, Étude critique et catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1990, no. 41, p. 116 (illustrated p. 117).
Paris, Musée Marmottan, Les femmes impressionnistes: Mary Cassatt, Eva Gonzalès, Berthe Morisot, October - December 1993, no. 51, p. 145 (illustrated).

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Lot Essay

Executed circa 1870-1872, Eva Gonzalès’ Portrait de Jeanne Gonzalès is a finely rendered and intimate portrait of the artist’s sister. Capturing the soft, diaphanous fabric of her subject’s dress, this gouache and watercolour on paper was the study for an oil painting of the same name (Sainsaulieu & de Mons, no. 42, private collection, New York). Although she did not exhibit with the Impressionists, preferring instead to pursue recognition and critical acclaim at the Salon exhibitions, Gonzalès’ dedication to the portrayal of modern life and her painterly style meant that she was often associated with this radical group of artists. In 1869, she had met Édouard Manet, modelling for him before becoming his only official pupil. She remained deeply devoted to her teacher and mentor for the duration of her tragically short life, adopting the artist’s striking use of tonal contrasts as well as his insistence on depicting the subjects of modern life. Executed soon after Gonzalès had begun studying under Manet, Portrait de Jeanne Gonzalès demonstrates his influence on her work. The soft brushstrokes, unadorned background and enigmatic gaze of the sitter are reminiscent of Manet’s striking female portraits, yet Gonzalès has infused this image of her sister with a sense of tenderness that is entirely her own, a reflection of the intimate kinship between the two.

The sitter of this portrait, Jeanne, was one of Gonzalès’ most frequent subjects. Like her female impressionist counterparts, Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot, Gonzalès most frequently depicted her family and close friends set within domestic settings or outside ‘en plein air’. Here, Jeanne is pictured wearing an elegant pale pink and black dress, her brunette hair swept into an elaborate style and adorned with a pink ribbon. Holding an open fan in her hand, she gazes out at the viewer with an enigmatic, almost quizzical gaze: with her head slightly tilted, she appears almost to smile, her large eyes looking knowingly from the picture plane. Her formal, elegant attire suggests that she is attending the opera or theatre, a motif that was enormously popular amongst the Impressionists. Renoir, Cassatt and Morisot all painted similar portraits, taking fashionably attired women as their subjects as they explored the new rituals, customs and fashions of contemporary life. Gonzalès herself would continue to pursue this theme in what has become one of her most famous works, Une loge aux italiens (Musée d’Orsay, Paris) of 1874, in which Jeanne is also the protagonist.

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