LAMA BLOG

Peter’s Auction Pick of the Day: Artists of the Ecole de Paris

November 14, 2018

In the late 19th century Paris became the center of the Western art world. As a result, the turn of the century brought an influx of artists from all over the world to the city. Within the cafes, salons, and shared workspaces of Montmartre, these artists traded the influences of their diverse backgrounds and blended the techniques of their respective traditions. Amongst this fervor, a loose coalition of predominantly non-French artists united though their defiance of academicism and came to be known as the Ecole de Paris, or “School of Paris.” From 1900 up to World War II the School of Paris investigated a wide range of styles including Expressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism. While the group didn’t adhere to a particular style, it largely used conventional subjects such as still lifes, cityscapes, portraiture, and landscapes to communicate themes of “moral dissolution” and “personal alienation.” In our upcoming November 18th auction we are delighted to present a robust selection of works by prominent artists from the School of Paris, including Marc Chagall, Jules Cavaillès, Maurice Utrillo, and Jean Dufy.

Marc Chagall, La Fête à Saint-Paul1980-1982
November 18, 2018 Auction, The Collection of Gerard L. Cafesjian

Initially living in Paris between 1910 and 1914, the Russian artist Marc Chagall quickly became a leading figure in the school. Fellow School of Paris icon, and main rival, Picasso, routinely praised Chagall’s marvelous treatment of light and dubbed the painter a “master colorist.” Following Chagall’s participation in the renovation of the Paris Opera, the French press unanimously declared the artist’s oeuvre a national treasure, asserting that his works “[ranked] among the finest poetry of [their] time.” While Chagall was quick to absorb the various trends of modernism, he never fully conformed. Despite his stylistic forays, the artist clung to traditional, representational figures and has been credited with restoring “allegory and narrative” to European art. While La Fête à Saint Paul (1980-1982) was produced late in the artist’s career, the piece showcases Chagall’s signature iconography. Here the floating lovers and brightly colored livestock that first surfaced in Chagall’s early works, contribute to a mature demonstration of the painter’s abstraction and lyricism.

Jules Cavaillès, La baie de Saint Tropez, N.d.
November 18, 2018 Auction, The Collection of Gerard L. Cafesjian

After completing his training at the Académie Julian in 1926, Jules Cavaillès began exhibiting his paintings at salons across Paris. While Cavaillès initially struggled to support himself and operated a small pharmacy to get by, he was awarded a grant by the Fondation Blumenthal in 1936 that bolstered his visibility. As a result, Cavaillès was commissioned for several prominent public and commercial projects throughout the late 1930s. Working in oils, Cavaillès perfected a pastel color scheme in his rendering of still-lifes and landscapes. Within the School of Paris, Cavaillès, alongside André Planson and Maurice Brianchon, formed the group La rèalitè poètique, or “Painters of the Poetic Reality.” As a member of the group, Cavaillès created works noted for their soft light and leisurely atmospheres. Following WWII, during which he was an active member of the Resistance, Cavaillès took on a curatorial position at the Musée des Augustins and taught at the École des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Maurice Utrillo, Rue de Village Sous la Neige à Sannois, c. 1916
November 18, 2018 Auction, The Collection of Gerard L. Cafesjian

Maurice Utrillo, a close friend of Modigliani, made a splash in the Parisian art world at the tender age of 22. In 1909, Utrillo began showing his work at the famed Salon d’Automne. It was at this point that his works began to attract national attention and acclaim. Known for his cityscapes, such as Rue de Village Sous la Neige à Sannois (c. 1916), Utrillo developed a style that blended Impressionism and Cubism. The painter routinely captured Montparnasse and the other havens of his fellow artists, writers, and poets. While Utrillo spent much of his life on the fringes of polite society, in 1928 he was awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor by the French government and has come to be recognized a pioneer of the School of Paris.

Jean Dufy, L’église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre et le Sacré-Cœurc. 1954
November 18, 2018 Auction, The Collection of Gerard L. Cafesjian

In 1906 a young Jean Dufy discovered the works of Matisse, Picasso, and André Derain at an exhibition in his hometown of Le Havre and was swept away by their allure. After studying at Le Havre’s École des Beaux-Arts and completing his service with the French army, Dufy joined his brother, painter Raoul Dufy, in Montmartre in 1912. There he grew fond of the Post-Impressionist style and fell under the mentorship of his brother’s circle of friends, which included many well-established School of Paris painters such as Georges Braque. In 1914, Dufy’s watercolors were featured in his first exhibition at the Galerie Berthe Weill. Dufy enjoyed many early successes, but it wasn’t until after WWI that the artist developed the vibrant color palette and energized street scenes, as seen in L’église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre et le Sacré-Coeur (c. 1954), that would distinguish his career. While he explored both ceramic and textile design, it’s Dufy’s paintings that are celebrated for sensitively capturing the romanticism and vitality of Paris in the years leading up to WWII.


LOT INFORMATION

Lot 32
Marc Chagall
La Fête à Saint-Paul
1980-1982
Oil on canvas
Signed lower right edge of canvas
Together with copy of original invoice from O’Hara Gallery dated January 16, 2001, and certificate of authenticity from the Comité Marc Chagall
Canvas: 13.125″ x 7.5″; Frame: 20.875″ x 15.375″
Provenance:  O’Hara Gallery, New York, New York

Estimate: $300,000 – 500,000
November 18, 2018 Auction, The Collection of Gerard L. Cafesjian

Lot 24
Jules Cavaillès
La baie de Saint Tropez
N.d.
Oil on canvas
Signed lower left edge of canvas
Canvas: 21.75″ x 18.25″; Frame: 28″ x 24.375″
Provenance:  Tajan, Paris, France, June 8, 2011, lot 46

Estimate: $3,000 – 5,000
November 18, 2018 Auction, The Collection of Gerard L. Cafesjian

Lot 22
Maurice Utrillo
Rue de Village Sous la Neige à Sannois
c. 1916
Oil on canvas
Signed lower right edge of canvas; retains Galerie Daniel Malingue label canvas stretcher verso
Together with photocertificate from Jean Fabris and Galerie Gilbert & Paul Pétridès dated February 27, 1998, and photocertificate from Galerie Daniel Malingue dated February 20, 1987
Canvas (vis.): 17.5″ x 21″; Frame: 28.5″ x 33″
Provenance:  Galerie Daniel Malingue, Paris, France; Private Collection (acquired through Sotheby’s, London, United Kingdom, November 29, 1989, lot 273); Christie’s, London, United Kingdom, June 27, 2000, lot 263

Estimate: $40,000 – 60,000
November 18, 2018 Auction, The Collection of Gerard L. Cafesjian

Lot 28
Jean Dufy
L’église Saint-Pierre de Montmartre et le Sacré-Cœur
c. 1954
Oil on canvas
Signed lower right edge of canvas; retains Schoneman Galleries label canvas stretcher verso
Canvas: 15.125″ x 18.25″; Frame: 25.625″ x 28.75″
Provenance:  Bears Schoneman Galleries, New York, New York; Sotheby’s, London, United Kingdom, February 6, 2001, lot 264
Illustrated: Jean Dufy: 1888-1964. Vol I. J. Bailly. 2002. #B.349.

Estimate: $20,000 – 30,000
November 18, 2018 Auction, The Collection of Gerard L. Cafesjian

Lot 29
Jean Dufy
Village du Limousin
1928
Oil on canvas
Signed and dated lower right edge of canvas; inscribed “Le Limousin” to canvas stretcher verso
Canvas (vis.): 17.5″ x 23.375″; Frame: 24.25″ x 30.125″
Provenance:  Sotheby’s, London, United Kingdom, February 6, 2001, lot 268
Illustrated: Jean Dufy: 1888-1964. Vol I. J. Bailly. 2002. #B.141.

Estimate: $20,000 – 30,000
November 18, 2018 Auction, The Collection of Gerard L. Cafesjian

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