With Boudin and Renoir, like a longing for the sea, changing skies and light

On 04 March 2020, by Anne Doridou-Heim

Drouot’s first major event of the season lived up to expectations with a total result of €1,430,508.

This delightful Baigneuse assise (Seated Bather) (35,3 x27,2 cm), painted ca. 1905 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), is perfectly traceable. It comes from the collection of Maurice Gangnat, who acquired it directly from the Impressionist master.
Result: €492,120

The voluptuous curves of a Baigneuse assise (Seated Bather)by Renoir, which fetched €492,120, and three oils on canvas by Eugène Boudin (1824-1898) powered this sale’s results. The Boudin works are quite characteristic of his experiments with changing skies. All three were recognised for their true value: Berck, le chargement du poisson (Berck, Loading Fish) netted €183,576, and Scène de plage (Beach Scene) and Le Passage, embouchure de la rivière de Landerneau (Finistère) (The Passage, Mouth of the Landerneau River (Finistère)) €177,246 each. The same quest for light always guided Boudin, whose paintings have an unmistakable mood that makes them instantly identifiable—and highly desirable. In 1859, Charles Baudelaire was the first to mention this, speaking of "several hundred improvised pastel studies of the sea and sky", already described as "prodigious magical scenes of air and water". He must have enjoyed looking at them as much as the works’ owner, whose estate was dispersed.

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