Résultats de vente

James Wilson Morrice
Printemps 2015 - 2e séance Vente en salle

Lot # 144

James Wilson Morrice
CAC RCA 1865 - 1924 Canadian

The Pasture
oil on canvas circa 1894 ~ 1896
on verso titled on the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts label and titled Spring Day, Brittany, inscribed "M231" / "$85.00" and "1949" on the Continental Galleries label and stamped with the F.R. Heaton Estate stamp
15 x 18 pouces  38.1 x 45.7cm

Estate of F.R. Heaton, Montreal
Continental Galleries of Fine Art, Montreal
Acquired from the above by the present Private Estate, Ontario

J.W. Morrice: 1865 - 1924, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1965, reproduced page 39 and listed page 67
Lucie Dorais, James Wilson Morrice, peintre canadien (1865-1924) : les années de formations, M.A. thesis, Université de Montréal, 1980, page 152

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, J.W. Morrice: 1865 - 1924, September 30 - October 31, 1965, traveling to the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, November 12 - December 5, 1965, titled as The Pasture and Paturage, catalogue #63

This bucolic landscape was acquired by its present owner in 1949. James Wilson Morrice's early landscapes prove that he, as the Impressionists had done, enjoyed painting en plein air around Paris. As these excursions were mere day outings, they were not recorded in any document, save in the paintings themselves and the drawings in his sketchbooks.
No exact drawing corresponds to The Pasture, but two works in Sketchbook #13 (in the collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Dr.1973.36), executed in Dieppe and Normandy from mid-1894 to early 1896, are close: on page 17 is a nervous drawing of a woman bending over in a field, a tree in winter, a river and its opposite bank in the background, and with what is perhaps a cow at lower left. On page 22 is a more quiet field with tree silhouettes (winter again) between two fences with a forest vaguely suggested at the back, but no river, figure or cow. An inscription on page 46 of this sketchbook, “St Pierre Vouvray / Normandie / Rouen” (referring to Saint-Pierre-du-Vauvray, a train stop on the Paris-Rouen-Le Havre line), confirms that Morrice spent some time in Normandy; it is under the drawing of a woman's head, suggesting a nice lunch with a friend. Similarly, the two field drawings and The Pasture might record a picnic, but this is less likely, given the season. But Normandy is definitely the location: we are in an apple tree orchard, faced by a typically red and white vache normande, giver of the best milk in the world. The owner of the painting also thought it represented Normandy (from a conversation, June 1978).
Morrice was often described as a flâneur walking around Paris in search of a suitable subject - he would then sit down at a nearby café to quickly jot down his vision of urban life. But this Morrice was just emerging in 1895. Until then, his main subjects were mainly empty fields or the quays and bridges of Paris, painted on the spot on small canvas boards. The grass was green, the water blue, the sky reflected the weather and the perspective was normal. But this is not what we have here: the background has been brought forward and the sky is almost hidden by the (remove: flat) expanse of the wood on the left. The grass is a soft green colour field, with fallen leaves evenly distributed on its surface and some light and dark brush-strokes to delineate the land spatially. Morrice had first used the natural colours of the scene, but he had decided at some point to change his composition by overpainting most of it; brighter sections, like the grass or the cow, were toned down, while darker ones, like the skirt of the woman, were brought one tone higher. The dark silhouettes of the trees, which add quite a lot to the decorative effect, have been pushed back to the surface with lighter brown highlights.
This composition evokes the Japonisme so much in vogue in Paris at the time, and we wonder whether Morrice was already aware of the young Nabis artists Édouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard, then just starting their careers, who were very influenced by Japanese prints. These were mainly promoted by the oriental art dealer Siegfried Bing; in December 1895, he opened the gallery Maison de l'Art Nouveau, and Morrice noted its address in his Sketchbook #13 (page 60). The Pasture, probably painted around that time, is unique in that it is quite “Japanese”; it is an important step between Morrice’s early landscapes and the next phase of his art, dominated by the “art for art’s sake” philosophy of Whistler.
We thank Lucie Dorais for her assistance in researching this lot and for contributing the above essay. Dorais is currently compiling a catalogue raisonné on the artist’s works.

Estimation: 150,000 $ ~ 200,000 $ CAN

S'est vendu pour: 106,200.00 $ CAN (prime d'achat incluse)

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