Through their paintings, Ladislas Slewinski and Roderic O'Conor illustrated their impassioned discovery of Pont-Aven, strongly marked by the influence of Paul Gauguin.
Ladislas Slewinski (1854-1918), Le Petit Port à Doëlan, c. 1916, oil on canvas, 55 x 73 cm/21.7 x 28.7 in.
Things had begun badly. A mediocre administrator, the young Polish nobleman Ladislas Slewinski was forced to flee from his father's rage after the seizure of his property. Totally penniless, he moved to Paris in 1888, attracted by the lights of a city that was also famous for its bohemian life, and enrolled at the Académie Julian. The art gods came to his rescue when he met Paul Gauguin. Totally fascinated by the master's work and personality, he decided to become a painter himself, and followed him to Pont-Aven in 1890. Slewinski returned to the region each year, ceaselessly painting the ocean and small coastal ports like the one in Doëlan, where he finally moved after 1910. Illustrating his calm, all-encompassing touch, this painting of the port in muted colors fetched €110,500.
It was followed by €55,900 for his 1902 Nature morte à la cruche verte (Still Life with Green Jug) and €32,900 for an Vieil homme au fond rose (Old Man Against a Pink Background: 60 x 48 cm/23.6 x 48 in) of 1899. His face finally appeared, at €16,900, in a Portrait au chapeau (Portrait with Hat: 62 x 42 cm/24.4 x 16.5 in) by a fellow countrywoman who had studied in Warsaw, Jadwiga Rybarska. In Pont-Aven, he got to know other members of the group, including the Irishman Roderic O'Conor (1860-1940), with whom he formed a deep friendship. Both produced their best work in Gauguin's wake, and mingled with other artists of the colony like Cuno Amiet, Charles Filiger and Armand Seguin, who taught O'Conor the etching technique. The latter's Paysage aux arbres (Landscape with Trees, 32.5 x 41 cm/12.8 x 16.1 in) of c. 1919-1920, depicting a landscape with trees against a delicate pink sky, garnered €75,400.
These fine results, and others, ensured the sale of a final total of €858,364. Also contributing to it were €62,400 for Roses jaunes dans un vase (Yellow Roses in a Vase: 31.3 x 38.3 cm/12.3 x 15. in) by Henri Fantin-Latour; €41,600 for a Scène dans un cabaret à La Havane (Scene in a Cabaret in Havana: 65 x 56 cm/25.6 x 22 in) by Jules Pascin, and €75,400 for a Pierrot assis (Seated Pierrot: 56 x 30 cm/22 x 11.8 in) by Georges Rouault in oil on paper laid on canvas.