Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
PROPERTY FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF HUNT HENDERSON, NEW ORLEANSDuring the opening years of the twentieth century, New Orleans was more artistically engaged than any other city in the American South, owing to its well-established urban cosmopolitanism and its historical and cultural ties to France. It boasted a flourishing opera scene, an estimable School of Art at Newcomb College, and as of 1911, its own art museum, the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art. Yet the city had only one art collector of truly national standing–the sugar magnate Hunt Henderson, who assembled a world-class collection of avant-garde art, from Impressionism through early modernism, well before it was fashionable among his peers.“Undoubtedly Henderson was the most formidable collector of paintings and prints to live in New Orleans, in fact in the South,” Prescott Dunbar has written, “until the post-World War II period” (The New Orleans Museum of Art: The First Seventy-Five Years, Baton Rouge, 1990, p. 60). The exceptional group of works presented here on behalf of Henderson’s descendants, which this most prescient and discerning collector acquired during the opening decades of the twentieth century, represents a rare and remarkable chapter in the chronicle of modernism in the United States.By all accounts, Hunt Henderson enjoyed a rich and varied life. His father William had founded the Henderson Sugar Refinery in 1876, and Hunt assumed control of the prosperous enterprise after William’s death in 1900. He and his wife Jeanne divided their time between a town house at 1410 2nd Street in the Garden District of New Orleans and a country retreat at 829 East Beach in Biloxi, overlooking the Mississippi Sound. He traveled widely through Europe with Jeanne and their son Charles; he fished regularly, was active in the Carnival clubs of New Orleans, and “read more than do some who make a career of it,” according to a childhood friend.Yet his abiding passion was modern art. He bought his first Impressionist paintings from Durand-Ruel in New York no later than 1908, and more purchases followed in rapid succession. Well-represented among these acquisitions was the work of Degas, whose mother was from New Orleans and who had himself visited the city, the only French Impressionist ever to travel to America. A delicately rendered pencil drawing of a horse and jockey by Degas is among the works now offered for sale, as is an important canvas by Whistler, another of Henderson’s favorite artists. Henderson also accumulated dozens of Japanese prints, of the variety that had served as inspiration to the Impressionists themselves in forging their new, modern mode of painting. Nor did he shy away from the artists’ most recent and experimental efforts, acquiring examples from Monet’s London, Venice, and nearly abstract Nymphéas series shortly after their creation.The five paintings presented in the evening sale of Impressionist and Modern art, all but one purchased in 1913, reflect the scope and quality of Henderson’s early collecting. The two Monets are both quintessentially Impressionist in their focus on the artist’s fleeting sensations before nature. One depicts with exquisite subtlety a frosty road beneath a snow-laden sky, while the other captures the bolder effects of an orchard awash in late afternoon sun. The remaining three canvases show the Impressionists moving beyond the ephemeral moment, each in his own way. Renoir’s Femme lisant is soft and idealized, intimate and dreamy. Cézanne’s Côte Saint-Denis, with its geometric latticework of trees, reflects an increasingly abstract conception of the landscape, while Gauguin has wholly transmuted his Breton vista into flat zones of brilliant color.When the Isaac Delgado Museum, the first art museum in New Orleans, opened its doors in 1911, Hunt Henderson was a founding trustee as well as a generous lender of his exceptional holdings. “These pictures [have] given me a world of pleasure,” he wrote when his Whistler collection was exhibited there in 1917, “and I hope that this show will justify my enthusiasm” (ibid., p. 60). The only painting that Henderson’s descendants added to the family collection is a Daumier that depicts an art enthusiast raptly examining a folio of prints at a gallery–a selection that very likely speaks to the joy that Hunt Henderson himself took in the act of collecting.By the early 1920s, Henderson had expanded his aesthetic interests to incorporate the very latest directions in European modernism, which had received its sensational introduction in America not long before, at the 1913 Armory Show. Likely taking advice from the pioneering photographer and New York gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, who was instrumental in promoting modernism to American audiences, Henderson acquired work by the most avant-garde artists of the day from both sides of the Atlantic–Picasso and Braque, Matisse and Derain, Georgia O’Keeffe and Marsden Hartley, among others. An ebullient gouache by Raoul Dufy now on offer represents this important stage in Henderson’s collecting, which put him well ahead of his time. “A modernist was not easy to find in the New Orleans of the 1920s,” Louise Hoffman has written (Josephine Crawford: An Artist’s Vision, New Orleans, 2009, p. 101).Indeed, Henderson’s deep commitment to modern art brought him into direct conflict with other powerful figures in the New Orleans art world–most notably Ellsworth Woodward, the founder of the Southern States Art League and director of the Delgado Museum from 1925 until 1939. Woodward was staunchly conservative in his artistic tastes and values, dismissing Picasso and his ilk as “charlatans” and their work as mere “daubs”. He saw the mission of the Delgado as the promotion of regional artists with a traditional, realist bent. Vexed by Woodward’s intransigent attitude toward modernism, the aesthetically adventurous Henderson eventually withdrew his support from the museum in protest, officially resigning from the board in 1928.Hunt was not the only Henderson with a passion for avant-garde art. His sister Sarah was the co-founder and chief financial backer of the Arts and Crafts Club, which introduced innovative ideas about art to the New Orleans community through classes, exhibitions, and lectures. No less an avant-garde luminary than Gertrude Stein spoke at the Club in 1935, at Sarah’s invitation. Hunt’s sister-in-law Josephine Crawford studied at the Club until 1927, when she moved to Paris–very likely at Hunt and Sarah’s suggestion–to finish her training at the cubist painter André Lhote’s academy. Upon Josephine’s return, Hunt used his connections in New York to enable her and several other Club artists to exhibit at the influential Montross Gallery, which had helped to spread the gospel of modernism in the years after the Armory Show.When Hunt Henderson passed away in 1939, the lion’s share of his collection remained with his wife Jeanne and their son Charles; only a group of works by Whistler left the family, bequeathed to Tulane University. In 1959, highlights from the Henderson collection were exhibited at the Delgado Museum and subsequently at the Knoedler Gallery in New York. This marked the first time that so many of Henderson’s paintings, drawings, and prints–fifty-six in all–had been shown as an ensemble outside of his hometown. “Many are the hidden treasures, yet few are those who have known about them,” wrote John Rewald in the exhibition catalogue. “My hope is that there will be many visitors, for the occasion is unique and the offering exceptional.”After Jeanne Henderson’s death in 1970, the collection was partially dispersed. In 1974, Charles Henderson donated a Degas pastel, Danseuse en vert, to the New Orleans Museum of Art (as the Delgado was known by then) in memory of his first wife Nancy, who had served as a long-term trustee of that institution. A gift of a Renoir, Ravaudeuse à la fenêtre, followed in 1980, while a magnificent Red Poppy by Georgia O’Keeffe and one of Monet’s ethereal late views of London Parliament went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg, Florida. The works presented here have all remained in the family until the present day, an enduring testament to Hunt Henderson’s discerning and enlightened taste. Christie’s is delighted to offer Property formerly in the Collection of Hunt Henderson in our Impressionist & Modern Art Evening and Day sales on May 15-16, and in our American Art sale on May 23.PROPERTY FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF HUNT HENDERSON, NEW ORLEANS
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)

La côte Saint-Denis à Pontoise

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
La côte Saint-Denis à Pontoise
signed 'P. Cezanne' (lower left)
oil on canvas
25 ¾ x 21 3/8 in. (65.4 x 54.2 cm.)
Painted circa 1877
Victor Chocquet, Paris.
Marie Chocquet, Paris (by bequest from the above, 1891); Estate sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 3 July 1899, lot 9.
Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Paris (acquired at the above sale).
Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York (acquired from the above, 1928).
Hunt and Jeanne Henderson, New Orleans (acquired from the above, 10 December 1928).
By descent from the above to the present owners.
V. Pica, Gl'Impressionisti Francesi, Bergamo, 1908 (illustrated, p. 199; titled Un angolo di bosco).
N. Iavorskaia, Paul Cézanne, Moscow, 1935 (illustrated, pl. 16).
L. Venturi, Cézanne: son artson oeuvre, Paris, 1936, vol. I, p. 105, no. 173 (illustrated, vol. II, pl. 47; titled La côte des boeufs (Pontoise); dated 1875-1877).
R. Goldwater, "Cézanne in America: The Master's Paintings in American Collections" in Art News Annual, 1938, p. 152 (illustrated).
J. Rewald, "Chocquet and Cézanne" in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, vol. 74, July-August 1969, p. 82, no. 9 (titled Un coin de bois).
R. Brettell, "The Third Exhibition 1877" in The New Painting: Impressionism 1874-1886, exh. cat., Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1984, pp. 196 and 203.
J. Rewald, The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1996, vol. 1, p. 213, no. 312 (illustrated, vol. 2, pl. 101; titled La côte des boeufs, Pontoise).
B.E. White, Impressionists Side by Side: Their Friendships, Rivalries, and Artistic Exchanges, New York, 1996, pp. 132-133 (illustrated in color, p. 132; titled Oxen Hill at the Hermitage, Pointoise).
F. Cachin, I. Cahn, W. Feilchenfeldt, H. Loyrette and J.J. Rishel, Cézanne, exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, 1995, p. 380 (illustrated, fig. 1; titled The Côte des Boeufs in Pontoise; dated 1875-1877).
J. Pissarro and C. Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, Pissarro: Catalogue critique des peintures, Paris, 2005, vol. II, p. 345 (illustrated; titled La côte des boeufs, Pontoise).
A. Mothe, Ce que voyait Cézanne: Les paysages impressionnistes à la lumière des cartes postales, Paris, 2011, p. 54 (illustrated in color).
W. Feilchenfeldt and B. Echte, Kunstsalon Bruno & Paul Cassirer, Wädenswil, 2011, vol. 1, p. 343 (illustrated).
K. Koji and I. Keiko, eds., Cézanne: Pioneer of Modern Art, exh. cat., Pola Museum of Art, Kahagawa, 2015, p. 45 (illustrated in color, fig. 7; titled The Côte des Boeufs, Pontoise).
W. Feilchenfeldt, J. Warman and D. Nash, The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: An Online Catalogue Raisonné (, no. 107 (illustrated in color).
Berlin, Galerie Paul Cassirer, III Jahrgang der Kunst-Austellungen, Winter 1900-1901, no. 9 (titled Winkel im gehölz).
London, Grafton Galleries, A Selection from the Pictures by Boudin, Manet, Pissarro, Cézanne, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Morisot and Sisley, 1905, no. 44 (illustrated, p. 7; titled In the Woods and dated 1883).
Kunsthaus Zürich, Französische Kunst des XIX und XX Jahrhunderts, October-November 1917, p. 16, no. 23 (titled Un coin de bois and dated 1883).
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Cézanne, December 1920, no. 4 (titled Un coin de bois).
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Inc., Masterpieces by Cézanne, March-April 1938, no. 7.
New Orleans, Isaac Delgado Museum of Art and New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., Early Masters of Modern Art: A Local Collection Exhibited Anonymously, November 1959-June 1961, no. 5 (illustrated; titled Un coin de bois and dated 1883).
New York, The Museum of Modern Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Paris, Musée d'Orsay, Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne and Pissarro, 1865-1885, June 2005-May 2006, p. 175, no. 77 (illustrated in color; titled Orchard, Côte Saint-Denis, at Pontoise).
St. Petersburg, Florida, Museum of Fine Arts, 1970-2017 (on extended loan).
Sale room notice
Please note that this work is displayed with a loaner frame for the exhibition, which is available for purchase.

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Jessica Fertig
Jessica Fertig

Lot Essay

In 1895, when the shrewd young dealer Ambroise Vollard mounted the first solo exhibition of Cézanne’s work, catapulting the fifty-six year old artist out of relative obscurity with a single stroke, few visitors were as pleased as Cézanne’s old Impressionist mentor Pissarro, who had been instrumental in persuading Vollard to proceed with the show. “What is curious in that Cézanne exhibition at Vollard’s,” Pissarro wrote to his son Lucien, “is that you can see the kinship there between some works he did at Auvers or Pontoise, and mine. What do you expect! We were always together!” (quoted in exh. cat., op. cit., 2005, p. 113).
The present landscape, which Cézanne painted during a visit with Pissarro at Pontoise, very likely in 1877, bears witness to the extraordinary creative partnership that the older artist nostalgically recalled some two decades later. Pissarro produced a view of the identical motif in that year as well, the two artists very possibly setting up their easels side-by-side (Pissarro and Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, no. 488; National Gallery, London). The paintings both depict a cluster of red- and blue-roofed houses on the rue Vieille-de-l’Hermitage, just a short walk from Pissarro’s home. The two artists selected an elevated vantage point on the hillside above the houses, alternately known as the Côte Saint-Denis or the Côte des Boeufs, looking down through a dense stand of poplar trees. They both worked on upright canvases, the vertical format–atypical for a landscape–heightening the effect of the screen of trees and creating a forcefully compressed space.
Equally significant, however, are the differences between the two artists’ interpretations of their shared motif. While Pissarro continued to work squarely within the Impressionist idiom, Cézanne had already begun to experiment with an increasingly abstract construction of the landscape, transmuting the vagaries of the natural world into the forms of an ideal order. His tree trunks, which are starker and more rigorously vertical than Pissarro’s, are juxtaposed against the horizontal rooftops and diagonal branches in a regular, lattice-like pattern. In place of the rapid, delicate touch that Pissarro used to signify a fleeting moment en plein air, Cézanne has laid down pigment with a palette knife in roughly square patches, the rectilinear edges of which reinforce the geometry of the composition and largely block the sky. Finally, while the foreground path in Pissarro’s painting offers a point of entry into the landscape, with two tiny figures gazing out at the bottom left, Cézanne has placed a large tree at this juncture instead, barring the viewer’s access into depth and thus flattening the spatial aspect of the pictorial vista.
“In his composition, Pissarro applied layer after layer of paint to the canvas with a dry brush, building up a rich and intricate network of granular brushstrokes that corresponds to the contours of the land,” Jennifer Field has written. “Cézanne, on the other hand, carved his landscape out of thick swathes of paint with a palette knife and highlighted the natural boundaries of the trees using strong, dark contours. He emphasized the inherent structure of the landscape, applying a kind of geometric formula to the natural world” (ibid., p. 163). This boldly inventive canvas represents one of Cézanne’s earliest thorough-going efforts to forge a new pictorial language that would “make of Impressionism”–so he later explained–“something solid and enduring like the art in museums” (quoted in P.M. Doran, ed., Conversations with Cézanne, Berkeley, 2001, p. 169).
Although Cézanne and Pissarro met in 1861 at the Académie Suisse in Paris, their immensely fruitful, decade-long artistic dialogue began only in the summer of 1872, when Cézanne came to the Oise valley–some twenty-five miles northwest of Paris–to work from nature alongside his friend, who had recently moved there from Louveciennes. Together with his mistress Hortense Fiquet and their infant son Paul, born that January, Cézanne settled in the rural hamlet of Auvers-sur-Oise, walking an hour to Pontoise most days to meet Pissarro. Under the tutelage of the senior member of the Impressionist group, Cézanne abandoned the moody tonalities and rough, impetuous handling of his youthful work, adopting instead the light, varied palette and nimble touch of his mentor. “Our Cézanne gives us hope,” Pissarro wrote proudly to the painter Antoine Guillemet. “If, as I hope, he stays some time in Auvers, he will astonish quite a few artists who were all too quick to condemn him” (quoted in B.E. White, op. cit., 1996, p. 117).
By early 1874, though, Cézanne yearned for the landscape of his native Provence, as well as for an escape from domestic life. He installed Hortense and Paul–whose existence he anxiously kept secret from his domineering father–in Paris and returned to the haven of the Jas de Bouffan, his parents’ estate near Aix. Over the next three years, he found respite from his personal ordeals in plein-air painting, making his first exploratory moves toward a more structured, synthetic treatment of the landscape. When the separation from his son and the strain of hiding his liaison grew too painful, he ventured north to stay with them; when his craving for solitude and the familiar landscape motifs of the Jas gained the upper hand, he returned south once again. It was not until late 1876 that he returned to Paris for an extended period, remaining with Hortense and Paul at 67, rue de l’Ouest for well over a year.
Back in the Île-de-France, Cézanne lost no time in re-kindling his working relationship with Pissarro, making several trips to Pontoise during 1877. In addition to painting side-by-side on the Côte Saint-Denis, the two artists set up their easels together at the Jardin de Maubisson, a cluster of kitchen gardens that lay just behind Pissarro’s home (Pissarro and Durand-Ruel Snollaerts, no. 494, and Rewald, no. 311). Whereas Pissarro focused on the burgeoning natural forms of the flowering trees in the foreground, Cézanne–as he did in present canvas–abstracted the landscape into a series of strict horizontals and verticals, which repeat the architectonic forms of the houses on the hillside. “At the beginning, the sage Pissarro endeavored to calm the ferocious young Cézanne,” Joseph Rishel has written, “but, as time passed, the pupil progressively found himself in the lead, encouraging the older artist to follow his example in testing the limits of Impressionist landscape painting” (exh. cat., op. cit., 1995, p. 229).
Along with Pissarro, another key figure in Cézanne’s small circle of intimates during the later 1870s was the now-legendary collector Victor Chocquet, the first owner of the present canvas. A customs clerk with modest means but an abiding passion for art, Chocquet had collected the work of Delacroix for nearly two decades by the time that the Impressionists burst onto the Parisian stage. He discovered their work in March 1875–a year after the controversial First Impressionist Exhibition, which well-meaning friends dissuaded him from attending–and never looked back, quickly becoming an irrepressible champion of the New Painting. He purchased his first Cézanne from père Tanguy that autumn and finagled an introduction to the reticent artist soon after. “For the Impressionists, Chocquet appeared on the scene at a highly critical moment,” John Rewald has written, “when their pockets were empty and the outlook seemed particularly grim” (op. cit., 1996, p. 195).
By early 1877, Cézanne and Chocquet had grown close enough for the artist to enlist his friend’s assistance in selecting his contributions for the Third Impressionist Exhibition, to open on April 4th. It is difficult to determine exactly which paintings they chose, as the titles in exhibition catalogue are very general. Several scholars have suggested that the present canvas may have been included in the exhibition, which definitely featured Pissarro’s view of the same motif (see especially R. Brettell, op. cit., 1984, p. 196, and J. Pissarro, op. cit., 2006, p. 163). “Pissarro and Cézanne, who have supporters, together form a school apart, and even two schools within one,” noted one contemporary reviewer (quoted in B.E. White, op. cit., 1996, p. 132). Rewald and Feilchenfeldt et al., however, disagree that the present painting was exhibited on this occasion, since it does not bear a red signature like many of Cézanne’s submissions to the 1877 show. The trees in the painting are shown in full leaf, suggesting that it may not have been complete yet in March, when Cézanne would have had to make his selections.
Having resigned his customs post earlier in the year, Chocquet spent long hours at the Third Impressionist Exhibition, challenging anyone–and there were many–who derided the work on view, including his own portrait by Cézanne (Rewald, no. 292). “He was something to see, standing up to hostile crowds at the exhibition during the first years of Impressionism,” the critic Georges Rivière later recalled, “leading a reluctant connoisseur, almost by force, up to canvases by Renoir, Monet, or Cézanne, doing his utmost to make the man share his admiration for these reviled artists” (quoted in A. Distel, Impressionism: The First Collectors, New York, 1990, p. 137).
Chocquet remained one of Cézanne’s principal buyers, as well as a close friend and frequent correspondent, throughout the ensuing decade. He died in 1891, just a year after commissioning the artist to paint a group of decorative panels for his new home (Rewald, nos. 643-644). When his widow passed away eight years later, Chocquet’s collection was put on the block at Galerie Georges Petit. “Great artistic event in view,” Pissarro wrote to his son Lucien. “Père Chocquet as well as his wife having died, his collection is going to be sold at auction. There are thirty-two first-rate Cézannes, which will sell for high prices” (ibid., p. 128). As Pissarro had predicted, the sale was a stellar success, with spirited bidding spurring record results. Durand-Ruel acquired La côte Saint-Denis for 1450 francs and later sold it to Hunt Henderson, who thus became only the second private owner of this canvas in its long history.

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