The vitality and excitement of Belle Époque France, with its emphasis on elegance and fashion, modernity, urbanization, consumerism, color and creativity, is expressed in a host of masterworks by a fine array of blue-chip artists represented in Heritage Auctions
' Fine European Art Auction Dec. 7 in Dallas.
"Whether it's the urban landscape with its dramatic boulevards, sophisticated portraits or depictions of daily life in Paris, Heritage Auctions' Fine European Art auction has something for every collector," said Ariana Hartsock, Consignment Director for European Art at Heritage Auctions. "The energy of this lively time in the 'City of Light' between the Franco-Prussian War and the beginning of World War I can be seen in the auction's top lots by Louis Marie de Schryver, Jean Béraud, Paul Helleu and Edgar Degas."
De Schryver's tour de force (est. $200,000-$300,000) is an astonishingly naturalistic scene of women purchasing a blaze of floral bouquets from a vendor outside the recently renovated Gare Saint-Lazare, the largest and busiest railway station in France. Here, modern life is beautiful and genteel, but also fast-moving. Jean Béraud's luminous view down the Champs-Elysées is full of spirited brushwork emphasizing the brisk pace of city life, its clattering carriages, and bustling pedestrians (est. $250,000-$350,000).
According to Dr. Marianne Berardi, Senior Fine Art Expert for Heritage Auctions, "Béraud achieved a cinematic quality in this and his other major scenes of the Parisian capital by painting from a custom-made carriage which served as a mobile painting studio. He was thus able to drive straight into the action, and record what was going on all around him."
Portraits by Paul Helleu and Edgar Degas are fine examples of an Impressionistic approach to modern subjects from the period. Helleu's Madame Helleu aboard the yacht 'Bird' (est. $200,000-300,000) portrays his wife Alice, lounging gracefully on the deck of her husband's yacht, protected from the sun by her parasol. As Heritage Auctions' European Art specialist Janell Snape notes, "Helleu's financial success as a painter enabled him to indulge in a luxurious lifestyle which included yachting. In the present work, the cool palette and the quick, loose brushstrokes create a sense of a quick breeze filling the yacht's sails." The auction includes a historically-important pastel portrait by Degas from 1904 of the artist's friends, Monsieur and Madame Louis Rouart (est. $100,000-$150,000). It is one of the last portraits Degas ever created, and explores the tension in the Rouarts' relationship as well as a new portrait formula for a married couple.
The French academic tradition was a mainstay of the Belle Époque, and is also highlighted in the auction with two works by William Adolphe Bouguereau: Bohemienne au tambor de Basque (est. $300,000-$500,000) and the charming La frileuse (est. $100,000-150,000), as well as an exquisite life-size painting of a beautiful young woman in classical garb seated in a garden by Charles Amable Lenoir (est. $300,000-$500,000).
Other highlights include but are not limited to:
· Laveuses au bord de la Touques, 1894, by Eugène Louis Boudin (est. $80,000-$120,000)
· L'entrée du village by Maurice de Vlaminck (est. $50,000-$70,000)
· Cupid and Venus by Guillaume Seignac (est. $50,000-$70,000)
· Portrait d'Alfred Isaacson, circa 1883, by Camille Pissarro (est. $40,000-$60,000)
· Le Lavoir (Vue et ruines du Château de Scey-en-Varais), circa 1872, by Gustave Courbet (est. $40,000-$60,000)