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Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE AMERICAN COLLECTION
Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894)

L'Assiette de pêches

Details
Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894)
L'Assiette de pêches
signed by the estate 'G. Caillebotte' (lower left)
oil on canvas
15 x 18 1/8 in. (38 x 46 cm.)
Painted circa 1882
Provenance
Jules Dubois, Paris, a gift from the artist.
Ambroise Vollard, Paris (no. 5157), by circa 1893, until at least 1938, and probably thence by descent.
Anonymous sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 27 November 1940, lot 38 (incorrectly titled 'Les pommes').
Private collection, Paris, by whom acquired at the above sale.
Anonymous sale, Palais d’Orsay, Paris, 12 December 1979, lot 55.
Galerie Schmit, Paris (no. A.5829), by whom acquired at the above sale.
Private collection, Boston, by whom acquired from the above, in 1980.
Anonymous sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 10 December 1985, lot 51.
Private collection, Santa Monica, by 1995.
Martha Parrish & James Reinish, Inc., New York (no. PR1344A).
Private collection, United States, by whom acquired from the above, in 2000.
Literature
M. Berhaut, Caillebotte, sa vie et son oeuvre: Catalogue raisonné des peintures et pastels, Paris, 1978, no. 210, p. 152 (illustrated).
M. Berhaut, Caillebotte, Catalogue raisonné des peintures et pastels, Paris, 1994, no. 239, p. 163 (illustrated).
R. A. Rabinow & J. Warman, ‘Selected Chronology’, in exh. cat., Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2006, p. 275.
P. Wittmer, ‘Au temps de l’absinthe’, in exh. cat., Caillebotte, Au cœur de l’Impressionnisme, Fondation de L'Hermitage, Lausanne, 2005, p. 130 (note 44).
Exhibited
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gustave Caillebotte, Urban Impressionist, June - September 1995, no. 51, p. 11 (illustrated).
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.
Sale room notice
This painting has been requested for the forthcoming Gustave Caillebotte- Impressionist and Modern exhibition to be held at the Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny, June - November 2020.

Please note this work is signed by the estate 'G. Caillebotte' (lower left) and the provenance should read:

Jules Dubois, Paris, a gift from the artist.
Ambroise Vollard, Paris (no. 5157), by circa 1893, until at least 1938, and probably thence by descent.
Anonymous sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 27 November 1940, lot 38 (incorrectly titled 'Les pommes').
Private collection, Paris, by whom acquired at the above sale.
Anonymous sale, Palais d’Orsay, Paris, 12 December 1979, lot 55.
Galerie Schmit, Paris (no. A.5829), by whom acquired at the above sale.
Private collection, Boston, by whom acquired from the above, in 1980.
Anonymous sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 10 December 1985, lot 51.
Private collection, Santa Monica, by 1995.
Martha Parrish & James Reinish, Inc., New York (no. PR1344A).
Private collection, United States, by whom acquired from the above, in 2000.

Brought to you by

Keith Gill
Keith Gill

Lot Essay

The Comité Caillebotte has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

The radical series of still-life paintings created by Gustave Caillebotte at the dawn of the 1880s were an important undertaking for the artist, ushering in a period of exploration and experimentation in his painting that would see him take his distinctly modern vision to new heights. Typically focusing on objects which he encountered in his everyday life, from the stalls of carefully arranged fruit he passed on his strolls through the grand boulevards of Paris, to the elegantly dressed dishes and highly polished silverware of a dinner party he attended, these paintings chart not only the artist’s personal experiences through the city, but also the changing patterns of consumption that were making their mark on society during this period. From the growing presence of grands magasins (department stores) in the cityscape, to the rise of plate glass windows, a new emphasis on display pervaded the capital, and Caillebotte was fascinated by the effects this had on his experience of Paris.

Dating from this seminal period, L’assiette de pêches is an exquisite example of the striking originality of these still-life paintings. Eleven peaches crowd the plate, arranged in a haphazard jumble one atop another, each perfectly spherical piece of fruit nestled against their neighbour in a loose, casual configuration. Just one shy of a dozen, the painting suggests the arrangement has already been disturbed, a single peach removed by an unseen hand and eagerly feasted upon, perhaps on the return walk from the market, or moments after the fruit were removed from the shopping bag and placed in the curved plate. Focusing our attention on the subtle nuances of colour that dance across the surface of the soft peaches, Caillebotte captures each note of blush pink, rich gold and crimson red evident in the bowl of fruit, while touches of pale blue and mauve suggest the velvety texture of their skins. Their sumptuous colours are accentuated by the bright white table cloth that frames the dish, its pattern of crisp folds suggesting it has been freshly unfurled and laid upon the table. Rendered in a myriad of short, staccato brushstrokes that follow the natural curves of the fruit, Caillebotte’s vision of the ripe peaches contains echoes of Manet, Monet and Renoir’s still-lifes from the same period, while also anticipating the ground-breaking formal properties of Cézanne’s later studies of apples, pears and peaches.

In his highly focused analysis of the plate of peaches, Caillebotte may have been alluding to the subtle shifts occurring in the production and sale of the fruit at this time. Throughout much of the nineteenth century, Parisians had enjoyed ripe peaches each summer from the world-famous walled gardens of Montreuil-sous-Bois, a small suburb to the north of the French capital. Here, hundreds of hectares of specially-designed mûrs à pêches (peach walls) allowed the cultivation of this delicate fruit in the colder temperatures of Northern France by producing a micro-climate within the gardens. Arranged so that they would absorb as much solar energy during the daytime, the sun-drenched walls would retain their heat after night fall, thus ensuring the internal temperatures of these gardens remained several degrees higher than the rest of the city. This ingenious feat of engineering allowed Montreuil to become one of the leading producers of peaches in Europe – renowned for their quality and successful development of new species of the fruit, they counted English royalty and Russian Tsars amongst their customers, along with the well-to-do members of Parisian society. However, as the 1880s dawned, improvements in the country’s rail network brought fresh, ripe peaches from the South of France that were significantly cheaper than their Montreuil counterparts, a development which would eventually lead to the dissolution of the city’s network of orchards.

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