Fourteen paintings by the great names in modern art—including Bonnard, Pissarro, Dufy and Valtat—once belonging to the Moch collection open this early evening sale of 19th and 20th-century works.
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), Le Marché à Pontoise, 1884, gouache and watercolor on paper, 26.8 x 20.8 cm/10.5 x 8.2 in.
On May 22, 2012, in Paris, Christie's featured 26 works from the collection of Jeanne and Fernand Moch, a textile industrialist who died in 1945. They included a Gardeuse d'oies (Goose Keeper) by Camille Pissarro, and a Femme en rose dans un paysage à Cagnes (Woman in Pink, in Cagnes) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The Musée d'Orsay has an 1888 painting by Vincent Van Gogh, La Nuit étoilée (Starry Night) from the same collection. The fifteen-odd works sold today come from their direct descendants.
Paul Signac's Jardin (Saint-Tropez) (Garden, St Tropez: watercolor, pen and ink), c. 1909, illustrates his discovery of the light of Southern France and his move to the small port in the Var (€10,000/15,000). Raoul Dufy's gouaches Le Cirque (The Circus: €40,000/60,000), L'Escadre à Golfe-Juan (The Fleet, Gulf of St Juan: €15,000/20,000) and Visite de l'escadre anglaise au Havre (Visit to the British Fleet, Le Havre: €20,000/30,000) remind us of his obsession with blue, a shade he explored in all its variants starting in the mid-1920s: the famous "light-color" of sky and sea.
Maurice Utrillo enlivens the once-deserted streets of Montmartre with small silhouettes seen from behind, with their increasingly generous forms, at the foot of the Moulin de la Galette, Paris (canvas, c. 1925, €40,000/60,000). A well-known painting by Pierre Bonnard, Le Régime de dates (The Bunch of Dates), 1912, exhibited the same year at Bernheim-Jeune, is expected to fetch between €80,000 and €100,000.
Finally, though Pissarro quickly took a liking to the reflections of the Oise river when he moved to Pontoise in the 1870s, he retained a special affection for its rural landscapes and picturesque markets, where his wife Julie, who maintained the family vegetable garden, often went to sell vegetables. Two watercolors by Pissarro depicting Le Marché à Pontoise (The Market at Pontoise: see photo), from 1884, could well be pushed beyond their estimates of €30,000/40,000 (each), as works of this quality and period are almost impossible to find on the market.