Property from a Distinguished Private Collection of Post-Impressionist Art
The following paintings by Armand Guillaumin, Henri Lebasque, Pierre Eugene Montézin, Henry Moret and Louis Valtat reflect the diverse artistic tendencies that characterize fin-de-siècle France. Assembled with great care and consideration, these works cover a key period in the development of modern art. Painted in 1889, Moret's charming view of bathers at the seaside town of Lomener in Britanny is the earliest of the group and Guillaumin's intimate portrait of his daughter which resonates with color and energy is the latest, dating from 1903.
John Rewald in his seminal text on the period states, "the term 'post impressionism' is not a very precise one, though it is certainly a very convenient one. In a broad sense it covers the period from about 1886, when the impressionists held their last and incomplete exhibition at which the neo-impressionists appeared for the first time, until some twenty years later, when cubism was born and with it a completely new era which ushered in what we may call contemporary art" (Post-Impressionism, From Van Gogh to Gauguin, New York, 1978, p. 9).
The collector's well-tuned eye and confident range of aesthetic interests is evident in the assembled works. Valtat's Jeux d'enfants of 1898 for example, is a vibrant and rich painting, and one of the most complex compositions among his early works, related to the highly important Jeune femme dans un jardin in the collection of The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Similarly, Lebasque's Madame Lebasque et sa fille au bord de la Marne (1899) is an accomplished early work that demonstrates the artist's acute sensitivity to light and texture.
While there is no formal relationship between these artists, they shared many mutual influences. Both Guillaumin and Lebasque knew and learned from the aging masters Camille Pissarro and Renoir, and Moret and Valtat were profoundly affected by the Pont-Aven School and Gauguin's use of bold, pure color. Their contemporary, the Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren, aptly observed that "there is no longer any single school, there are scarcely any groups, and those few are constantly splitting. All these tendencies make me think of moving and kaleidoscopic patterns, which clash at one moment only to unite at another, which now fuse and then separate and fly apart a little later but which nevertheless revolve within the same circle, that of the new art" ("Le Salon des Indépendents," La Nation, reproduced in L'Art Moderne, 5 April 1891).