Renoir from collection of former Washington Post President & COO to highlight Hindman American & European Art Auction
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Renoir from collection of former Washington Post President & COO to highlight Hindman American & European Art Auction
Pierre-Auguste Renoir La Baie de Villefranche-sur-Mer, 1899. Estimate: $400,000 - $600,000.

CHICAGO, IL.- Property from the Collection of Richard D. Simmons (Alexandria, VA), the President and Chief Operating Officer of The Washington Post from 1981 to 1991, will highlight Hindman’s May 10th American and European Art auction. Simmons played an integral role in the development of the Post into one of the nation’s leading newspapers. Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s 1899 oil on canvas titled La Baie de Villefranche-sur-Mer, which will be offered with an estimate of $400,000-600,000, will headline the collection. This magical landscape is exemplary of Renoir’s work at the time, with its rapid brushstrokes and naturalistic representation of the coastline.

The auction will offer over 100 paintings, works on paper and sculptures, with a strong selection of American and French Impressionist and Modernist works. Celebrated artists will include William Merritt Chase, Alfred Sisley, Robert Henri, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Montague Dawson, Wolf Kahn, Hale Woodruff, William Edouard Scott, Paul Klee and LeRoy Neiman.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s La Baie de Villefranche-sur-Mer

La Baie de Villefranche-sur-Mer (lot 10) is a quintessential example of Renoir’s landscapes, which illustrates his passion for depicting the south of France. Renoir first traveled to the region in 1882, to visit fellow artist and friend Paul Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence. His discovery of the region and its surroundings – including further south towards the French Riviera –had a strong impact on the artist’s palette and led him to employing a new range of luminous color tones. In these later years, Renoir devoted himself increasingly to landscapes, including experimenting more when depicting the countryside which offered him a greater ability to improvise.

With its expressive brushstrokes and sparkling color, La Baie de Villefranche-sur-Mer is suggestive of the artist’s fondness for the region. The sun-washed view is woven loosely together with variegated brushstrokes to form a colorful pattern, in which the clustered dwellings are overwhelmed by the sweeping sky and exuberant, untamed vegetation. The warm tone and radiant light beautifully capture the lush, serene environment. The present view is an evocative example of Renoir’s landscapes of the French Riviera and demonstrates Renoir’s mastery at capturing the subtleties of natural light, a central tenet of Impressionism.

Additional works from the Simmons collection include William Merritt Chase’s A Road to the Sea (Shinnecock Bay) (lot 58; estimate: $150,000-250,000) and Alfred Sisley’s pastel on paper La Seine à Saint-Mammès (lot 11; estimate: $50,000-70,000). Executed in 1902, A Road to the Sea (Shinnecock Bay) is one of many depictions Chase made of the sand roads of the Long Island region and perfectly captures a summer day and the artist’s en plein air style. Also on full display is Chase’s commitment to documenting the environment exactly as it was experienced, from the curving road that invites the viewer into the scene to the movement of the clouds.

Montague Dawson Paintings

The admired maritime artist Montague Dawson will be spotlighted through four of his paintings, three of which are from the Collection of James and Patrice Schoonmaker (Naples, Florida). The selection will be led by Dawson’s Onward-The Norman Court (lot 50; estimate: $50,000- $70,000) and The Surrender (lot 51; estimate: $40,000 - $60,000).

Wolf Kahn Works

Bidders will also have an opportunity to bid on a wide selection of works by German-born American artist Wolf Kahn, with eight brilliant works by the artist. The top lots of the group are Kahn’s Dark Beaver Pond (lot 80; estimate: $30,000 - $50,000) and Pink Sky (lot 81; estimate: $20,000-30,000), with all being consummate examples of Kahn’s vivid, abstract landscapes.

Hale Woodruff, William Edouard Scott and William Thompson Goss Paintings

Works by distinguished African American artists Hale Woodruff, William Edouard Scott and William Thompson Goss will be offered towards the conclusion of the auction. Known for his bold figurative style and murals, Woodruff also created stunning landscape paintings such as Windblown Trees (lot 91; estimate: $30,000-50,000) and Classical Landscape (lot 92; estimate: $30,000-50,000).

Another respected muralist who was also known for challenging the standard depictions of African American life in the beginning of the 20th Century, William Edouard Scott’s works are also among notable offerings, such as his Haitian Scene, 1952 (lot 96; estimate: $5,000 - $7,000).

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