(Mâcon 1854 - Paris 1929)
Signed hipp Petitjean in violet ink at the lower left.
388 x 587 mm. (15 1/4 x 23 1/8 in.)
In a letter dated 1 September 1893, Petitjean wrote to Camille Pissarro: ‘I worked more than usual, but nothing important, pochades, sketches, watercolours, a genre in which I am not very skilled but which I find very good for taking quick colour notes and which interests me a lot. In front of nature, it seems to me that instinctively I feel more and more the need to grasp the side of decorative simplicity but still a lot of indecision. I am also required by the diversity of tones and here is the difficulty: variety in unity. This is what I find is good in watercolour which, by its manner, forces you to a synthetic interpretation...’
The range and variety of Hippolyte Petitjean’s watercolours were only rediscovered several years after his death, at a centenary exhibition of his work at the Galerie de l’Institut in Paris in 1955. As one modern scholar has noted of these Neo-Impressionist watercolours, ‘All executed in pointillist style, they reveal a very individual side of his talent which fully justifies the collectors’ interest in them.’
Almost certainly intended as a finished work of art for sale, this very large sheet is a fine example of Petitjean’s mature pointillist technique as a watercolourist. Among stylistically comparable and sizeable watercolours by the artist is a view of A Broad Valley at Sunset in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and The Seine at Mantes-la-Jolie in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, as well as A Boat on a Pond in the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid. Another closely comparable pointillist watercolour of sailboats in a bay by Petitjean, of similar dimensions to the present sheet and signed in the same way, is in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby’s, 22 April 1971, lot 37 (bt. Marinoni)
Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s, 2 April 1974, lot 29 (bt. Johnson)
Anonymous sale, Los Angeles, Sotheby Parke-Bernet, 6 June 1978, lot 618
Bel Fine Art, New York
Acquired from them a private collector.