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Rare paintings from the collection of patrons Edouard Vuillard will go under the hammer

Auction house Christie's will put up for sale one of the rarest collections of paintings of the XX century. The central lots at the auction “A Tribute to the Hessel Family: Patrons and Models” will be the works of the French modernist painter Edouard Vuillard from the collection of art dealer Jos Hessel and his wife Lucy. The selection provides a unique insight into this pair and their close relationship with the painter.The Hessel couple first met Eduard Vuillard in 1895 and the next 40 years of an eclectic and fruitful career provided the artist with both financial and creative support. Belgian Jew Jos Hessel was the exclusive seller of his works, while Lucy was the muse and mistress.
  • Edouard Vuillard, "Jos Hessel before" Diana on vacation "Kera-Xavier Roussel" (1930s). Estimate - 20-30 thousand euros
  • Edouard Vuillard, "Madame Hessel Reading the Evening Newspaper" (1915-16). Estimate - 200-300 thousand euros
Edouard Vuillard, born in 1868, was a member of a group of young artists called “Nabi” (from the word “Navi” - “prophets” in Hebrew). His apartment was not far from the permanent place of their meetings - the cafe "Wipler" on the Place de Clichy. Vuillard lived there with his mother-dressmaker until her death, when the painter himself was 60 years old.
Trying to cope with financial difficulties, the woman organized a sewing workshop in the apartment. The combination of living and working space can be clearly seen in the painting “Sweeper. San Honore Street, 346 ”, written in the year of the meeting with Hessel. This makes work with works of Dutch artists, which Vuillard admired in the Louvre.Sweeper Rue Saint Honore, 346 Jean Edouard Vuillard 1895, 33 × 50.8 cm A tablecloth, thrown over the back of the chair in the foreground, is about to be spread on the table before a family dinner. This inner space, where the scenes of everyday life unfold, became the main theme of Vuillard's painting. In such interiors - with wallpaper and upholstery, tightly located near two-dimensional patterns - you can feel the influence of Japanese engravings.

At the same time, the Sweeper demonstrates Vuillard's gradual transition from the flat colors of the 1890s to more grouped colors, as well as to a more detailed depiction of the space in which a sense of depth is created. Colors are no longer used simply to describe, but convey emotions.
Young Henri Matisse (a big fan and collector of Vuillard), following in the footsteps of his predecessor, caught this delicate chromatic “mood” balance, which later led him to Fauvism.
Left: Edouard Vuillard, "Lucy Hessel" (1924). Estimate - 100−150 thousand euros

Scene “Sweeper. Street San Honore, 346 "will be the" star "sales at Christie's. However, it is not known how much the auction house plans to bail out for it: a picture is available upon request.
The Hessel couple were not only important patrons and loyal friends of Vuillard, but also his regular models. The artist reveals his proximity to the patron in an informal portrait, which is tentatively estimated at 80–120 thousand euros. Here the author allowed himself to add humorous touches to the image of a model with a cigarette, who was distracted from reading the newspaper. However, the strong, almost frightening look of Jos Hessel reminds of his status as a rich and powerful man, one of the most prominent collectors and dealers of works of art of the 20th century.Portrait of Jos Hessel Jean Edouard Vuillard 1905, 86.5 × 66.5 cm About Hessel’s occupation is said by the picture behind him - “Houses along the road” (1881) by Paul Cezanne. The art dealer bought the canvas at the beginning of his career, and now it is included in the Hermitage collection in St. Petersburg. In a sense, Vuillard pays tribute to Cezanne as the “father of modernism,” and to his patron and friend — as a supporter and connoisseur of avant-garde art. Perhaps this work most clearly illustrates the phrase of the artist: “I do not do portraits. I write people in their setting. ”
By the way, having sold one of the works of Cezanne, Hesseli bought the estate in Vaucresson, which was named after the artist - “Clos Cezanne” (Clos Cézanne). It is possible that we are talking about the "Houses along the road." The plot of the house and its owners are captured on the landscape "Morning in the garden" of Vuillard, which is also for sale with a preliminary estimate of 400-600 thousand euros.Morning in the garden, the estate "Claus Cezanne" Jean Edouard Vuillard1924, 129.7 × 134.5 cm Unfortunately, the patronage of Hessel and other patrons of art did not benefit Vuillard. Thanks to rich patrons, he did not have to sell his paintings in galleries, and in the 1900s the artist's productivity declined. Many years later, his name and work were not as well known as the names and works of his contemporary colleagues Gauguin, Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso, and popularity came only in the middle of the 20th century.

By the end of his life Edouard Vuillard was “stuck” and became increasingly gloomy. He died of a heart attack in the house of Hessel in 1940 - just a week before the Nazi occupation of France. By that time, the “decorative” paintings created by the artist had gone out of fashion - abstractionism had become increasingly important in the world of art. However, now, in our “torn and fragmented” era, the quiet worlds on Vuillard's canvases seem to be a refuge from noise and chaos.
Left: Edouard Vuillard, "Lucy Hessel and Lulu, or Telegram" (1924). Estimate - 100−150 thousand euros

On sale "Tribute to the family Hessel: patrons and models" will be exhibited 17 paintings by Edouard Vuillard - the most significant collection of works by the artist, which has ever appeared at auction. In addition, art lovers will be able to buy works by Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis and other modernists who were patronized by their spouses. Bidding will be held March 23 in Paris.The Legend of the Knight, or Three Young PrincessesMoris Deni1893, 45 × 40 cmPortrait of Madame Hessel, or the Lady in Red Pierre Bonnard, 1901, 110 × 79.9 cmThe artist's wife in the living roomPierre Laprad1900, 45.5 × 53 cmArthive: read us in the Telegram and see on Instagram
According to the materials of the official website of the auction house Christie's and a number of other sources