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Lot 204: Victor Gabriel Gilbert (French, 1847-1933)

19th Century European Art and Orientalist Art

by Christie's

October 22, 2008

New York, NY, USA

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Description: Victor Gabriel Gilbert (French, 1847-1933)
The Lower Market, Paris
signed and dated 'Victor Gilbert 1881.' (lower left)
oil on canvas
31 x 47¾ in. (78.7 x 121.3 cm.)
Painted in 1881.

Notes: Sold to Benefit the Acquisition Fund of the Saint Louis Art Museum
No sales tax is due on the purchase price of this lot if it is picked up or delivered in the State of New York.
Victor Gilbert was considered the foremost painter of the place du marché during the final decades of the 19th Century. By the middle of the century there was a proliferation of daily markets throughout the French capital which were needed to both feed the growing city and cater to the whims of the growing middle and upper classes. Fresh fruits, vegetables and especially flowers flowed daily into Paris to please the tastes of its inhabitants.

The Lower Market, Paris captures all the hustle and bustle of one of the flower markets that sprang up across the city daily. Here the artist has adroitly illustrated the various strata of Parisian society who gathered to sell and to purchase fresh flowers. Local peasants have neatly arranged bright bouquets wrapped carefully in white paper to set off their brilliant colors. A group of elegant ladies chat in the center of the composition, oblivious to the attention of the handsome soldier and gentleman who look on. To the left, a peasant carts away a wheelbarrow full of blossoms, all against a background dense with the denizens of the city and framed by the elegant architecture of Paris.

Gilbert's vibrant image is enhanced by his virtuoso technique, his realistic sense of detail and close observation of nature. In The Lower Market, Paris, Gilbert weaves a dense tapestry of the vibrant life of Paris in the Belle Epoque and brings the viewer into a time gone by, where the fragrance of the flowers still lingers.

For further information on the artist, please see lot 128.

We would like to thank Mr. Noé Willer for confirming the authenticity of this work. It will be included in his forthcoming Gilbert catalogue raisonné.

Provenance: Daniel Catlin and Justina G. Catlin, St. Louis, Missouri, 1884-1917.

Exhibited: St. Louis, St. Louis Exposition and Music Hall Association, St. Louis Exhibition and Music Hall Association - First Annual Exhibition, 1884, p. 32. no 24.

Literature: The Daniel Catlin Memorial Collection of Paintings, Bulletin of the City Art Museum of St. Louis, City Art Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis, 1917, vol. 3, April Edition, no. 1.
Recent Accessions, Bulletin of the City Art Museum of St. Louis, City Art Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis, 1917, vol. 3, April Edition, No. 1, p. 12.
City Art Museum of St. Louis, Illustrated Catalogue of Paintings With Biographical Data and Descriptive Notes, City Art Museum of St. Louis, City Art Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis, 1918, no. G10, p. 60. City Art Museum of St. Louis, Illustrated Catalogue of Paintings With Biographical Data and Descriptive Notes, City Art Museum of St. Louis, City Art Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis, 1918, no. V10, p. 164.
City Art Museum Catalogue of Paintings, City Art Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis, 1924, 3rd edition, no. G10, p. 35.
City Art Museum Catalogue of Paintings, City Art Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis, 1924, 3rd edition, no. V10, p. 94.

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