Upcoming Auctions and Events

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947)
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF RONALD P. STANTONThe story of Ronald P. Stanton is an inspiring one. Having fled Germany as a boy prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Stanton embarked on an extraordinary life that epitomized the American Dream. It was, according to the collector, “a journey that brought us some hardship, tremendous good fortune, a wonderful family, many good friends, and ultimately a successful, rich life.” Stanton rose to become not merely one of the New York’s most successful entrepreneurs, but one of its most generous philanthropists—a man who dedicated his life to faith and community.Stanton was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1928. The collector’s early years were spent in the city of Mainz, where he was raised by his mother, Hedwig “Hedi” Kern, and by his maternal grandparents. Hedi’s example in family and philanthropy would leave an indelible mark on her son. In particular, it was her emphasis on the Jewish tradition of tzedakah—heartfelt, selfless giving—that, throughout his life, Stanton considered his guiding philosophy. As he wrote in his autobiography in 2010, “[t]o me, [tzedakah] was a familiar part of her...from my earliest days. Even when we had no money and very little to share, to give in this unasked way was the motivation of her life.”As the situation in Germany deteriorated throughout the early 1930s, Hedi began smuggling money to Switzerland in an attempt to safeguard her family’s future. In April 1937, Hedi and the nine-year-old Ronald escaped Europe for the United States. Preceded by what few possessions they could ship abroad—including a centuries-old Shabbat candelabra and a portrait of an ancestor—the pair would effectively begin life anew in New York City. Stanton later recalled his mother’s anxiety on their transatlantic voyage: “What awaited her in New York?” he asked. “She was a single mother.... She must have been petrified. But Hedi was tough, determined and, above all, hopeful.” “All my early striving,” he declared, “was inspired by her.”In 1950, Stanton was drafted into the United States Army during the conflict in Korea. Stanton would later admit that, cliché as it sounded, “spending two years in the U.S. Army made a man out of me.” Propelled beyond the geographic and social spheres of the Upper West Side and its Jewish community, Stanton found himself surrounded by young men from all walks of life—a formative, authentically American experience. “My sense of self, and of what I wanted to accomplish,” he later wrote, “... was heavily influenced by my short stint as a soldier.” While in Europe with the Army, Stanton even managed to travel to his native Germany. “I felt, for the first time, that I was an American,” he recalled proudly.After completing military service, Stanton returned to a job at International Ore and Fertilizer Company in Manhattan. At Interore, under the mentorship of a fellow escapee from Germany, Henry J. Leir, Stanton learned the ropes of chemical and fertilizer trading. In the booming post-war period, the collector traveled the world developing new business for the firm. By the age of thirty-seven, Stanton was an executive vice president at the company and eager to strike out on his own. In 1965, he founded Transammonia (now called Trammo). Originally, he concentrated on the nascent business of transporting and marketing anhydrous ammonia, one of the industrialized world’s key chemical components. Eventually, he expanded Transammonia into a company specializing in the international trade and distribution of not only ammonia, but also other fertilizers, petrochemicals, liquefied petroleum gases, coal, petroleum coke and other products. Under Stanton’s leadership, Trammo rose to become an international leader in the field. The company eventually became the largest privately owned firm in New York in terms of sales. Trammo solidified Stanton’s position as a respected business leader and global entrepreneur. “I suppose I could have worked for someone else,” Stanton said in his memoirs, “but that wouldn’t have been any fun. And the company is fun. I love working. I love the challenge.”Having established a strong position in international business, Stanton’s concern was how to live with the responsibility of wealth. “The success of [Trammo],” he wrote in his memoirs, “has afforded me the means to carry on the tradition of tzedakah I learned from my mother.” The collector saw philanthropy and service—from the smallest donation to a transformational bequest—as an essential, critical aspect of living. “We don’t always do what is right in this world,” he wrote, echoing the tenets of his faith, “but tzedakah helps us fulfill another basic Jewish obligation... tikkun olam, literally ‘repairing the world.’” Philanthropy, Stanton felt, was a simple, universal duty—to spread the same kindness that the collector had experienced from his earliest days. What was surprising to some, he believed that the more he was able to support charities financially, the more successful he would become. It seemed to work.Stanton dedicated much of his life to the continued vibrancy and vitality of New York, a city he credited with shaping his success. “I love this city,” he said. “Despite my travels to fascinating places, I have never wanted to live anywhere else.” An unwavering proponent of healthcare, the performing arts, education and Jewish causes, Stanton became one of the city’s most prolific philanthropists, providing significant financial support and leadership to organizations including the Congregation Shearith Israel, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Yeshiva University, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Abraham Joshua Heschel School and the Windward School. He served on many charitable boards, and Chairman of Yeshiva University. He contributed his business talents as well as his funds. In the arts, music, healthcare, and education, the collector’s largesse affected countless lives, and encompassed gifts ranging from the underwriting of a 2011 global tour of the Baroque opera Atys to funding a cancer infusion center used by tens of thousands of patients at New York Presbyterian Hospital.“I believe in giving to the arts, education, health care, and also my synagogue,” Stanton stated simply. “Instead of giving it in small bits and pieces, I believe in giving a lot to a few places so it has a definite impact.” A member of the French Legion of Honor and the recipient of the Museum of Modern Art’s David Rockefeller Award and an honorary degree from Yeshiva University, among other accolades, Stanton understood the importance of creating a standard of giving that would grow for generations to come. “Through philanthropy,” Stanton stressed, “we have the chance to create a just society by doing the right thing for others and ourselves.”Collecting was a natural extension of Stanton’s innate enthusiasm for beauty, knowledge, and inspiration. It was a passion cultivated during his boyhood in New York, when he would make regular visits to museums, the opera, and the ballet with friends. “We’d go to the Museum of Modern Art on 53rd Street every weekend,” Stanton laughed. “We would buy the family membership cards for $12.00. One of us would get the card, we’d place our thumb over the ‘Mrs.’ on the card as we walked past the guard and pay less per visit.” In later years, the collector would compensate for his adolescent thrift with generous gifts to institutions such as the Israel Museum, the Asia Society, the Museum of Modern Art, the Holocaust Museum and the Museum of Arts and Design, among others.At his residences on Fifth Avenue and in North Salem, New York, Stanton lived surrounded by a superb collection that included Impressionist and Modern art, Asian art, period European furniture, nineteenth-century painting, and Post-War and Contemporary sculpture. “I love the act of collecting,” he enthused; “it gives me a real kick.” Across his many years in collecting, Stanton was able to acquire choice works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Isamu Noguchi, Pierre Bonnard, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henry Moore and Henri Matisse.Today, Ronald Stanton lives on not only in the successful company he founded over half a century ago, but also in his influence on the institutions he supported and which his Estate will continue to support long into the future. In addition, Stanton was proud to “leave my family in a mode where they understand philanthropy [and] carry on philanthropy.... I want them to have the legacy that you have to give back, make a contribution to worthwhile things so your own existence has meaning.” It was a philosophy of living that informed his eighty-eight years—the demonstration of an inherent generosity of spirit.PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF RONALD P. STANTON
Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947)

Corbeille de fruits dans la salle à manger du cannet

Details
Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947)
Corbeille de fruits dans la salle à manger du cannet
signed 'Bonnard' (lower left)
oil on canvas
20 ¼ x 23 5/8 in. (51.3 x 60.1 cm.)
Painted in 1928
Provenance
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Paris (acquired from the artist, 1928).
Georges Renand, Paris (acquired from the above, by 1937).
Raphaël Gérard, Paris.
Jacques Lindon, New York.
Donald and Jean Stralem, New York (acquired from the above, 1947); sale, Sotheby's, New York, 8 May 1995, lot 30.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owner.
Literature
R. E´douard-Joseph, Dictionnaire biographique des artistes contemporains, 1910-1930, Paris, 1930, p. 158 (illustrated; titled Nature morte aux pommes rouges).
L. Werth, T. Natanson, L. Gischia and G. Diehl, "Pierre Bonnard" in Les publications techniques et artistiques, 1945 (illustrated in color; titled Corbeille de fruits).
J. and H. Dauberville, Bonnard: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, 1920-1939, Paris, 1973, vol. III, p. 323, no. 1401 (illustrated).
M. Terrasse, Bonnard at Le Cannet, New York, 1988, p. 124.
Exhibited
Paris, Petit-Palais, Les Mai^tres de l'art inde´pendant, 1895-1937, June-October 1937, p. 60, no. 28 (titled Corbeilles de fruits).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1949 (on loan).
New York, Paul Rosenberg & Co., Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Pierre Bonnard, March-April 1956, p. 4, no. 10 (illustrated, p. 13; titled Basket of Fruit and dated 1925).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition, 1960, p. 1, no. 3 (titled Basket of Fruit).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Collects: Paintings, Watercolors and Sculpture from Private Collections, July-September, 1968, p. 4, no. 12 (titled Basket of Fruit).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1990-1991 (on extended loan).
London, Tate Gallery and New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Bonnard, February-October 1998, p. 168, no. 58 (illustrated in color, p. 169).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Pierre Bonnard: The Late Still Lifes and Interiors, January-April 2009, p. 103, no. 19 (illustrated in color).

Brought to you by

Jessica Fertig
Jessica Fertig

Lot Essay

“I have all my subjects at hand. I go visit them. I take notes. And before I start to paint, I meditate, daydream,” Bonnard once stated. “It is the things close at hand that give an idea of the universe as the human eye sees it...” (quoted in exh. cat., op. cit., 2009, pp. 61 and 122).
True to his word, Bonnard drew his most profound and enduring creative inspiration from the hushed and modest spaces of Le Bosquet, his long-time home in the south of France, overlooking the bay of Cannes. In the spacious dining room on the ground floor, the intimate sitting area upstairs, or the glittering jewel-chamber of a bathroom where his wife Marthe lingered in the tub, Bonnard made notes in his journal of color patterns or fleeting observations that sparked his impulse to begin a picture. He then painted from memory back in his studio, on lengths of canvas tacked directly to the wall, transforming his initial visual experiences into variegated tapestries of brilliant color. “The principal subject is the surface,” he maintained, “which has its laws over and above those of objects. It’s not a matter of painting life, it’s a matter of giving life to painting” (quoted in N. Watkins, Bonnard, London, 1994, p. 171).
Bonnard painted the present still-life in 1928, the year after he and Marthe moved to Le Bosquet; Bernheim-Jeune acquired the canvas within months of its creation and subsequently sold it to Georges Renand, then co-owner of the iconic Parisian department store La Samaritaine. The painting depicts a sensuous bounty of ripe Mediterranean fruits, the spherical forms piled high in a shallow wicker basket, one of Bonnard’s favorite still-life props; two chairs with woven rush seats, recognizable from photographs of the artist’s dining room, are visible in the background. “On the dining room table stood baskets with tall handles of plaited osier or raffia,” recalled Bonnard’s grand-nephew Michel Terrasse, a frequent visitor to Le Bosquet, “somewhere to put the peonies and mimosa, the oranges, lemons, and persimmons gathered, with the figs, from the garden” (op. cit., 1988, p. 14).
Departing from the Impressionists’ deftly rendered succession of fleeting moments, Bonnard has imbued these familiar and unassuming still-life objects, the stuff of his everyday life, with an unexpected air of enchantment–un arrêt du temps (“a stilling of time”), he called it. Light enters the room from an unseen window at the left and suffuses the fruit, lending a velvety radiance to peaches and pears alike. The white tablecloth acts as a staging ground for a full spectrum of other colors, from fiery gold to deep magenta and teal. In the background, the white wall beneath the chair rail has become an ocean of cool tones, while the upper portion–in reality painted Naples yellow–is like a blazing orange sunset. “Bonnard’s colors came to embody the emerging, meeting, and passing of forms in the transient world,” Dita Amory has written, “His Mediterranean palette and dazzling light added further abstraction to a corpus of paintings that became less obviously descriptive and more metaphoric over time” (exh. cat., op. cit., 2009, pp. 22-23).

More from Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale

View All
View All