ANDRÉ DERAIN (1880-1954)
ANDRÉ DERAIN (1880-1954)
ANDRÉ DERAIN (1880-1954)
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Property Formerly in the Collection of René Gimpel
ANDRÉ DERAIN (1880-1954)

Paysage à Cassis

ANDRÉ DERAIN (1880-1954)
Paysage à Cassis
signed 'a Derain' (lower right)
oil on canvas
21 ¼ x 25 5/8 in. (53.9 x 65 cm.)
Painted in 1907
Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris (acquired from the artist); second sale of sequestered art, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 17-18 November 1921, lot 58.
René Gimpel, Paris (acquired at the above sale).
Pierre and Denise Lévy, Troyes (acquired circa 1948).
French State (gift from the above, 1976; on extended loan to the Musée d’Art Moderne, Troyes).
Restituted to the Gimpel Family in November 2020 further to the Paris Court of Appeal decision dated 30 September 2020.
Toison d'Or, 1909, nos. 2-3, p. 29 (illustrated in situ at the 1909 exhibition, fig. III).
G. Hilaire, Derain, Geneva, 1959, p. 195 (illustrated in color, pl. 126; dated 1910 and with inverted dimensions).
D. Sutton, André Derain, London, 1959, p. 148 (illustrated in color, no. 18).
S. Faunce, "Derain: Illusion and Disillusion" in Art News, November 1964, p. 67.
H. Demoriane, "Portrait d'un collectionneur: M. Pierre Levy de Troyes" in Connaissance des Arts, December 1965, no. 166, p. 133 (illustrated in color).
N. Kalitina, André Derain, Leningrad, 1976, p. 127 (illustrated).
R. Warren, "A Metaphysic of Painting: The Notes of André Derain" in The Georgia Review, spring 1978, vol. 32, no. 1, p. 116 (illustrated, fig. 4).
M. Giry, Fauvism: Origins and Development, New York, 1982, p. 215 (illustrated in color, pl. 112).
Musée d'art moderne: Donation Pierre et Denise Lévy, Troyes, Troyes, 1982, p. 44, no. 58 (illustrated).
H. Düchting, Apollinaire zur Kunst, Texte und Kritiken, 1905-1918, Cologne, 1989, p. 358 (illustrated, fig. 7).
P. Cabanne, A. Derain, Paris, 1990, p. 142 (illustrated in color, p. 46; dated circa 1906).
Annuaire du Musée royal des beaux-arts de Copenhague, 1990, p. 151 (illustrated, fig. 17).
G. Diehl, Derain, Vaduz, 1991, p. 35 (illustrated in color).
M. Kellermann, André Derain: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Paris, 1992, vol. I, p. 80, no. 127 (illustrated).
D.J. Kostyrko, The Journal of a Transatlantic Art Dealer: René Gimpel, 1918-1939, London, 2017, pp. 290-291.
Moscow, Toison d'Or, 1909, p. 6, no. 13, 14 or 15 (titled Landscape).
Paris, Musée national d'art moderne, Derain, December 1954-January 1955, no. 17.
London, Wildenstein & Co., Ltd., André Derain, April-May 1957, no. 15.
Paris, Galerie Knoedler, Les soirées de Paris, May-June 1958, no. 10 (illustrated; dated 1910).
Paris, Salon d'Asnières, Derain, October 1958, p. 12, no. 4 (illustrated).
Geneva, Musée de l'Athénée, Derain, July-October 1959, no. 15 (illustrated; dated 1910).
Nice, Palais de la Méditerranée, Peintres à Nice et sur la Côte d'Azur, 1860-1960, July-September 1960, p. 10, no. 34.
Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Derain Before 1915, November 1961-January 1962 (dated 1913).
Marseille, Musée Cantini, Derain, June-September 1964, no. 30 (illustrated in color).
New York, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., André Derain, October-November 1964, no. 12 (with incorrect cataloguing).
Malines, Centre Culturel, Le Fauvisme en France, 1969, no. 62.
Edinburgh, Royal Scottish Academy and London, The Royal Academy, Derain, August-September 1967, p. 33, no. 29 (illustrated).
Paris, Galerie Knoedler, Derain, 1971.
Paris, Galerie Schmit, Exposition Derain, May-June 1976, p. 30, no. 15 (illustrated, p. 31).
Rome, Villa Medici and Paris, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, André Derain, November 1976-April 1977, pp. 47-48, no. 9 (illustrated).
Paris, Musée de l'Orangerie, Donation Pierre Lévy, 1978, pp. 64-65, no, 40 (illustrated, p. 64).
Paris, Centre national d'art et de culture Georges Pompidou, Paris-Moscou, May-November 1979, p. 524 (illustrated, p. 90).
Paris, Pavillon des Arts, Apollinaire: Critique d'art, February-May 1993, p. 250, no. 36 (illustrated in color, p. 47).
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, André Derain, November 1994-March 1995, p. 473, no. 64 (illustrated in color, p. 42).
Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno and Lausanne, Fondation de l'Hermitage, André Derain, December 2002-June 2003, p .75 (illustrated in color).
Paris, Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, André Derain: 1904-1914, la décennie radicale, October 2017-January 2018, p. 170 (illustrated in color, p. 171).

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Lot Essay

In the first decade of his career, André Derain embraced the landscape of rural France—as had the Barbizon school and Impressionist painters who came before him. Derain distinguished himself from his predecessors, however, in his dramatically simplified compositions and color palettes. Rather than capturing the ephemeral atmospheric effects of sun, cloud, wind or rain, Derain distilled the most essential colors and shapes. In his 1907 Paysage à Cassis, for example, Derain observed the swelling topography of Cassis, a small fishing village near the city of Marseilles. Those forested hills, quirky pine trees and yellow limestone cliffs, gilded by sunset, are all reduced to colorful silhouettes.
In reducing volumetric forms into two-dimensional shapes, Derain generalized the specific landscape of Cassis, investing the scene with a timeless universality and eternal stillness. As Christopher Green noted of French modernist landscapes, “the places they painted are treated not as important in their own right, but merely as points of departure for those new ways of seeing and painting” (“A Denationalized Landscape? Braque's Early Cubist Landscapes and Nationalist Geography” in Studies in the History of Art, 2005, vol. 68, p. 243). It was this flattening of the landscape that would similarly come to define the work of Richard Diebenkorn. Enormously inspired by Derain’s fauvist comrade, Henri Matisse, Diebenkorn frequently explored the abstract potential of the landscape. In a work such as the 1957 Freeway and Aqueduct, Diebenkorn has treated the landscape in a similar way to Derain, structuring it as planes of color, which serve to invest the scene with same sense of stillness and monumentality as the present work.
For Derain, bold colors and simple, organic shapes were the primary lenses through which he saw the world and reinvented it in paint. As the artist later reflected, “Fauvism was our ordeal by fire… It was the era of photography. This may have influenced us and played a part in our reaction against anything resembling a snapshot of life. No matter how far we moved away from things, it was never far enough. Colors became charges of dynamite” (quoted in G. Duthuit, The Fauvist Painters, New York, 1950, p. 29).
As well as the work of Paul Cézanne, Derain’s highly original painting style was somewhat indebted to the stylized landscapes of Georges Seurat and Vincent van Gogh. While his predecessors applied pigment in meticulous dots or voluptuous waves, Derain favored a bolder, blockier approach in Paysage à Cassis. His blues, yellows and greens are modulated by thick, painterly brushstrokes, the raw edges of which Derain did not bother to disguise. These shards of color are further outlined in black, mimicking the effect of cloisonné—a decorative technique in which segments of colored glass are arranged in figurative shapes or abstract patterns, delineated by thin metal wires. Around 1907, Derain’s Fauvist contemporary, Matisse, was experimenting with a similar composition: his Paysage de Collioure, now at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, was widely referred to as Le Vitrail (The Stained Glass).
With its near total collapse of three-dimensional space into flat planes of color, Paysage à Cassis prefigured the more rigid geometricity of Cubism—notably, the work of Georges Braque, with whom Derain was well acquainted. As with the cubist painters who would follow in his wake, Derain clearly understood the abstract potential of the landscape, and was unafraid to bend nature to suit his artistic aims. The critic François Crucy observed that among the new crop of avant-garde painters who exhibited their work at the 1906 Salon des Indépendants, two distinct groups emerged: “those who ask of the spectacle of nature pretexts to realize decorative compositions and those who try and directly fix…the impressions the spectacle makes on them” (quoted in R. Benjamin, “The Decorative Landscape, Fauvism, and the Arabesque of Observation” in The Art Bulletin, June 1993, vol. 75, no. 2, pp. 295-296). Derain undoubtedly belonged to the former category.
Paysage à Cassis has been widely exhibited, featured in a number of shows dedicated to the artist and to the Fauvist movement throughout the twentieth century. This work was acquired by René Gimpel from Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler via Hôtel Drouot in 1921. In June 1940, when the Germans entered Paris, Gimpel fled to the south of France. He was forced to sell the work between 1940 and 1942; and was later deported to the German concentration camp at Neuengamme and died there in 1945. This painting remained in a private collection until it was gifted to the French state in 1976. Paysage à Cassis was on long-term loan to the Musée d’Art Moderne in Troyes, until it was restituted to the family of René Gimpel in November 2020.

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