Two studies by Georges Seurat that have been in private hands for almost a century will be auctioned at Christie’s next month during the house’s New York 20th century art evening sale on May 11. Paysage et personnages (La jupe rose), 1884 and Le Saint-Cyrien (1884) are together expected to fetch $10 million–$15 million.
Both done in Seurat’s signature pointillist style, the works are studies for his widely recognized painting A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (1884–86). The two studies are now being sold by the relatives of Robert Treat Paine II, a Boston-based collector and philanthropist, who amassed holdings of Impressionist and modern art with works by Monet, Degas and van Gogh, which he later gifted to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He is a descendant of Robert T. Paine I, an American politician and signatory of the Declaration of Independence.
According to Christie’s statement on the works, more than half of the oil studies Seurat produced for La Grande Jatte are in museums collections, including those of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and the National Gallery in London.
Both panels were in the artist’s possession until his death in 1890. Paysage et personnages (La jupe rose) was then acquired by Belgian painter Jean de Greef, and later, it would pass through the collection of Symbolist poet and art dealer Charles Vignier. Likewise, Le Saint-Cyrine was gifted from Seurat’s estate to painter Henri-Edmond Cross, who later passed it on to French art critic Félix Fénéon. The two studies were reunited to 1929, when an American dealer sold them to Paine.