Bernard Boutet de Monvel (1881 - 1949) Exceptional... - Lot 423 - Osenat

Lot 423
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Result : 600 000EUR
Bernard Boutet de Monvel (1881 - 1949) Exceptional... - Lot 423 - Osenat
Bernard Boutet de Monvel (1881 - 1949) Exceptional study of Three tanks at 55 West 39th Street from the Radiator Building in New York. 1932 Watercolor and black pencil on strong monogrammed paper in the lower left corner: "BMB" 35.7 x 24.3 cm This rare watercolour in an impeccable state of conservation - we know of only four others to date dealing with cityscapes, none of which has yet been submitted to public auction - was produced by the artist in January or December 1932, while working from the black brick bell tower of the Radiator Building to views of Fifth Avenue on the one hand and Thirty-Ninth and Fortieth Street on the other, the latter perspective having given rise, in addition to two watercolours including our own, to photographic snapshots and a large oil on canvas entitled Fortieth Street from the Radiator building (private collection). Bernard Boutet de Monvel wrote to his wife on January 13, 1932, when the Great Depression was raging and several of his portrait commissions had been cancelled: "However, yesterday I went to the top of the Radiator Building to take [photographic] documents [photographs], where I had gone when I arrived [in November 1926] with Roger [Boutet de Monvel, the artist's brother]. I could work there any day of the week and on Sundays on Wall Street because I want to at least take advantage of my inaction, which I think is temporary, to continue my series of buildings." Entirely centered on the volume and curves of the three reservoirs on the snow-covered roof of 55 West 39th Street, reservoirs nestled on their promontories of steel girders like modern totem poles, a kind of abstract, secular, protective idol overlooking the city, echoed by those, in pairs, of 109 West 38th Street, The abrupt composition of this watercolour contrasts in the background with the rectilinear flatness of a facade of the Millinery Building, whose juxtaposition of narrow, long rectangles, like the light, almost salmon-coloured bricks, is so characteri
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