Léon Augustin Lhermitte (French, 1844-1925)
Property of a New England Collector
Léon Augustin Lhermitte (French, 1844-1925)

La vendange à Mont-Saint-Père

Léon Augustin Lhermitte (French, 1844-1925)
La vendange à Mont-Saint-Père
signed 'L. Lhermitte' (lower left)
oil on canvas
40 x 58 ¼ in. (101.6 x 148 cm.)
Painted in 1876.
The artist.
with Charles William Deschamps (1848-1908), London and Paris, acquired directly from the above.
Joseph H. Lang, Toronto.
His sale; Christie's, New York, 24 May 1989, lot 305, as Vendange, effet du soir.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Illustrated London News, London, 28 April 1888, p. 464, as Grape-Harvest.
Christie's International Magazine, London, May-June 1989, p. 23.
M. Le Pelley Fonteney, Léon Augustin Lhermitte, catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1991, pp. 22, 128, no. 127, illustrated.
Paris, Salon, 1876, no. 1326, as La vendange.
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Monet to Matisse: A Century of Art in France from Southern California Collections, 9 June-11 August 1991, p. 24, illustrated.

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Lot Essay

La vendange à Mont-Saint-Père effectively combines all of the hallmarks of Lhermitte’s most sought-after works: peasants at work in an expansive landscape with multiple figures at various stages of the labor involved in bringing in a harvest of grapes. The composition is complex, with the placement of the figures carefully arranged in order to lead the viewer back through the diagonal that runs through the painting to the furthest reaches of the landscape. The landscape is presented in the darkened tones of autumn, while the figures are highlighted by the brighter pastel tones of their clothing, executed in broader brushstrokes or with the use of a palette knife. The landscape is composed to rise up around the figures rather than move progressively backwards. The result is an integrated composition which emphasizes the connection between the peasants, their work and the landscape that provides their livelihood, and remains true to the artistic vision which sustained Lhermitte throughout his long, successful career.

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