The son of Jacob Grimmer, Abel Grimmer is primarily known for his small paintings of country scenes, which often form part of a series of the Four Seasons or the Twelve Months of the year. The tradition of these series can be traced to the cycle of The Months by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, dated 1565 (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum; Prague, Narodni Galerie; New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art). Killing the pigs would then have been associated either with winter, as it is in a cycle of four tondi illustrating the seasons, signed by Abel Grimmer and dated 1596 (private collection, Germany; see R. de Bertier de Sauvigny, Jacob et Abel Grimmer. Catalogue raisonné, Brussels, 1991, p. 202), or with the Month of December, as it is in a series of tondi depicting the twelve months signed by Abel Grimmer and dated 1606 (private collection, Belgium; op. cit., p. 214, pl. 22). This composition, with its high viewpoint, marked foreground and receding landscape behind, is characteristic of Abel Grimmer, as are the apparent naivety and the numerous scenes that depict, with great interest and humour, the peasants' life in the late sixteenth century.
René Smadja was a successful businessman in the Parisian après-guerre. Born in Tunis in 1901, he arrived to Paris in 1948 and quickly bought a Hôtel particulier on rue Adolphe Yvon, in the elegant area of La Muette. The house was filled with exceptional
French furniture from the 18th century stamped by Bernard van
Risenburgh (BVRB), Claude Chevigny, Charles Topino and Guillaume Beneman. René's brother, Henry, owned Combat, the famous intellectual newspaper in which Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, André Malraux and Raymond Aron contributed several articles.
The rest of the collection of the late René Smadja will be offered at Christie's, Paris, in Art Impressionniste et Moderne and Important Mobilier et Objets d'Art on 3 and 19 December 2007 respectively.