Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
BERNARD BOUTET DE MONVEL (1881-1949)
BERNARD BOUTET DE MONVEL (1881-1949)
BERNARD BOUTET DE MONVEL (1881-1949)
BERNARD BOUTET DE MONVEL (1881-1949)
3 More
These lots have been imported from outside of the … Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT WEST COAST COLLECTION
BERNARD BOUTET DE MONVEL (1881-1949)

South Works Steel Mill in Chicago, Illinois

Details
BERNARD BOUTET DE MONVEL (1881-1949)
South Works Steel Mill in Chicago, Illinois
signed 'BERNARD B. DE MONVEL' (lower left); inscribed 'Garder' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
28 ¾ x 19 5/8 in. (73 x 50 cm.)
Painted in 1928
Provenance
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York (no. APG 18976D.02).
Galerie du Luxembourg, Paris.
Barry Friedman Ltd., New York, by whom acquired from the above in 1982.
Private collection, by whom acquired from the above in 2000.
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 8 November 2012.
Literature
E. Lucie-Smith, Art Deco Painting, London, 1990, no. 94, p. 132 (illustrated, titled 'Usine', dated circa 1928).
S.-J. Addade, Bernard Boutet de Monvel, Paris, 2001, p. 208 (titled 'Aciérie').
S.-J. Addade, Bernard Boutet de Monvel: At the Origins of Art Deco, Paris, 2016, p. 222 (illustrated p. 225, titled 'Steelworks').
Exhibited
Paris, Galerie du Luxembourg, Bernard Boutet de Monvel 1881-1949, June - October 1975, no. 47 (titled 'Usine').
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Cinquantenaire de l'Exposition de 1925, October 1976 - February 1977, no. 33, p. 23 (titled 'Usine', dated circa 1928).
Paris, Galerie Verneuil-Saint-Pères, Bernard Boutet de Monvel, October - December 1993 (titled 'Usine').
New York, Barry Friedman Ltd., Bernard Boutet de Monvel, November 1994 - January 1995, no. 26 (titled 'Factory (Usine)').
New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Streamlined: The Precisionist Impulse in American Art, November 1995 - January 1996, no. 9, p. 33 (titled 'Factory', dated circa 1928).
Paris, Mona Bismarck Foundation, Bernard Boutet de Monvel, April - July 2001.
Special Notice

These lots have been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Post Lot Text
Stéphane-Jacques Addade, member of the European Chamber of Art Experts and expert for the work of Bernard Boutet de Monvel, has confirmed the authenticity of these works.
Sale Room Notice
Please note the correct title for this work is South Works Steel Mill in Chicago, Illinois, and not as stated in the printed gallery guide.

Brought to you by

Annie Wallington
Annie Wallington Head of Day Sale

Lot essay

I have just spent half a day in an unimaginably cold but bright sunshine, going to visit a steelworks one hour away from the city. I needed it for one of my backdrops. It is truly, admirably picturesque …!”

Boutet de Monvel

Having found himself in Chicago for several months, the Arts Club in Chicago held a retrospective of Bernard Boutet de Monvel’s paintings and reliefs in November 1927, at the initiative of Rue W. Carpenter (1879-1931), following the January exhibition presenting the sculpture of Constantin Brancusi. Shortly thereafter, Boutet de Monvel received a commission for an important decorative painting from the director of A.G. Becker & Co., an investment banker on LaSalle street. Searching to focus his work on exonerating the industrial and urban modernity of triumphant, Jazz Age America, the architect Samuel A. Marx (1885-1964) advised him to visit South Works, a steelworks belonging to US Steel, located one hour from Chicago.


On the 28th January 1928, the painter, full of enthusiasm, wrote to his wife: ‘I have just spent half a day in an unimaginably cold but bright sunshine, going to visit a steelworks one hour away from the city. I needed it for one of my backdrops. It is truly, admirably picturesque: such is the life of a painter!’


Whilst there, with the help of his Kodak Brownie, the artist took astonishing photographs showing skips, gas pipes, support structures, walkways, cyclone filters, casting halls, cowper batteries, all emerging from a dramatic smoke in close-up and low-angled shots. Using these images of objectivity as a starting point, he painted even the summertime with an astounding photorealist precision, and for his own pleasure, two paintings which would serve as a foundation for his Precisionist works. Today, the first of these is in the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art – Centre Georges Pompidou; the second, the most important in terms of its size and the modernity of its composition, is presented here.

This major work is the first of Boutet de Monvel’s Precisionist canvases to ever be presented at auction. Its significance is revealed not only by its date of execution, 1928 – the artist made all his Precisionist works between 1928 and 1932 – but also by the dehumanising modernity of the industrial landscape it depicts. It presents a work of paramount importance, essential to American Art History as for example, Charles Sheeler’s American Landscape, 1930 at the MoMA, New York and My Egypt, 1929 by Charles Demuth which hangs in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. This work, still in possession of its original stretcher carries the inscription ‘garder’, a note written by the artist to mark that the painting was of importance and should never be destroyed.

We would like to thank Stéphane-Jacques Addade for his assistance in writing this catalogue note.

Lot Essay Header Image: Present lot illustrated (detail).

More from Impressionist and Modern Art Day and Works on Paper Sale

View All
View All