ANDRE DERAIN (1880-1954)
ANDRE DERAIN (1880-1954)
ANDRE DERAIN (1880-1954)
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ANDRE DERAIN (1880-1954)
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The Artistic Journey – A Distinguished West Coast Collection
ANDRE DERAIN (1880-1954)

Barques amarrées à l’Estaque

Details
ANDRE DERAIN (1880-1954)
Barques amarrées à l’Estaque
signed 'a. Derain' (lower left)
oil on canvas
15 1/8 x 18 1/8 in. (38.3 x 46 cm.)
Painted circa 1905-1906
Provenance
René Jean, Paris.
Sylvie Maignan, Paris (by descent from the above, circa 1951).
Galerie Brame et Lorenceau, Paris (acquired from the above, circa 2014).
Acquired from the above by the late owners, May 2015.
Literature
B. Dorival, "Un chef d’œuvre fauve Derain" in La Revue du Louvre, vol. 17, nos. 4-5, 1967, p. 288 (illustrated, fig. 5).
M. Kellerman, André Derain: Catalogue raisonné de l’œuvre peint, Paris, 1992, vol. I, p. 43, no. 70 (illustrated; titled Barques au port de Collioure and dated circa 1905).
J. Matamoros and D. Szymusiak, Matisse-Derain: Collioure 1905, un été fauve, exh. cat., Musée départemental d'art moderne, Céret, 2005, p. 61 (illustrated, fig. 49; titled Barques au port de Collioure).
Exhibited
Paris, Musée national d’art moderne and Munich, Haus der Kunst, Le Fauvisme français et les débuts de l’Expressionnisme allemand, January-May 1966, p. 65, no. 24 (illustrated; titled Boote von Anker).
Hamburg, Kunstverein, Matisse: Und seine Freunde-les Fauves, May-July 1966, no. 18 (illustrated in color, pl. 5; titled Boote von Anker).
Paris, Musée de l’Orangerie, Les Fauves autour de Derain, May-September 1987.
Sale room notice
Please note the updated provenance which is accessible online.

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Lot Essay

The painters André Derain and Henri Matisse, who would come to be known as the founders of Fauvism, spent the transformative summer of 1905 in Collioure in the south of France. Together, they painted similar views of the coastal village, encouraging one another to adopt brighter colors, bolder brushstrokes, and flatter compositions in their depictions of the surrounding landscape. As J.D. Herbert famously declared, “This manner of painting, subsequently known as the Fauve style, reached its first fruition—and perhaps its fullest realization—in the paintings Matisse and Derain executed in Collioure in the summer of 1905” (Fauve Painting: The Making of Cultural Politics, New Haven and London, 1992, p. 89). In the first week of September 1905, Matisse and his family returned back to Paris; Derain, a bachelor nearly eleven years younger than Matisse, took a more circuitous route home, stopping in the Mediterranean port town of L’Estaque along the way. It was possibly there and then that he painted the present work, a radically abstract vision of fishing boats moored in the harbor.
Barques amarrées à l’Estaque was undoubtedly informed by his close alliance with the older artist. The paintings that Matisse produced that summer (for example, Paysage de Collioure, The Museum of Modern Art, New York) possess similarly energetic surfaces. Like Matisse, Derain totally abandoned illusionistic modeling; subtle tonal gradations of black and white are absent from Barques amarrées à l’Estaque. So too did he largely eliminate traditional notions of line and form, in pursuit of a more sensational and expressive use of color.
Indeed, in Derain’s work, brilliant color alone stands for objects in space. Horizontal strokes of light and dark blues are loosely knitted together to form the impression of gentle waves. Staccato dashes of emerald, moss, mustard and tangerine represent the reflections of the nearby boats and beach on the water. These bold primary and secondary hues were applied bluntly to the canvas, revealing large swathes of the white primer layer. These "empty" interstices stand for the refraction of sparkling beams of light upon the surface of the sea. In this way, Derain invoked the dynamic, luminous effects of glittering sunlight and rippling waves, which had captivated and frustrated him all summer long. As the artist wrote to his friend Maurice de Vlaminck that summer, “Here in this region there are boats, white sails, multicolored rowboats. But above all, it is the light. A blonde, golden light that suppresses shadows. It's maddening work. Everything I've done so far seems stupid to me” (quoted in B. Dorival, “Un chef-d’oeuvre fauve de Derain,” in La Revue du Louvre, Paris, 1967, pp. 286-287).
Derain was not the first nor last French artist to pursue the light of L’Estaque. Between 1870 and 1885, the Post-Impressionist Paul Cezanne painted at least twenty works in the coastal town, most of them depicting an elevated view looking over the gulf of Marseilles. The resulting canvases are like delicate mosaics, with translucent fragments of color coalescing to form a coherent whole. Cezanne’s first major retrospective was staged in Paris in 1895; thereafter his work became a major source of inspiration for Derain, as well as an entire generation of avant-garde artists.
Ultimately, however, Derain adopted a wildly different approach to the same landscape. Barques amarrées à l’Estaque is a more confident, schematic and abstract rendering than any land- or seascape produced by Cezanne. Derain also assumed a novel vantage point; his work completely destabilizes the viewer, situating them as if floating on a rowing boat in the middle of the water, looking back towards the shore. Derain returned to L’Estaque in 1906 to experiment with sensational new techniques and non-mimetic color, and he was soon followed by the the proto-Cubists Georges Braque and Raoul Dufy—making this small town a crucible for some of the most explosive stylistic developments in the history of modern painting.
Since its execution around 1905, Barques amarrées à l’Estaque has been exchanged between a few European private collections, from Paris to Brussels. The work appeared in several museum exhibitions devoted to the subject of Fauvism in France and Germany throughout the 1960s. The canvas was also later featured in a 1987 installation at the Musée de l’Orangerie, which placed Derain at the center of the Fauvist movement, but it has largely remained out of public view since then.
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