Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (French, Lyons 1824–1898 Paris)

ca. 1864
Oil on paper, laid down on canvas
51 x 99 1/4 in. (129.5 x 252.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1926
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    In a career that spanned fifty years, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes played a seminal role in the resurgence of mural painting in France during the nineteenth century. His first decorative paintings, "War" and "Peace," exhibited at the Salon of 1861, led to the 1864 commissioning of the monumental mural "Ave Picardia Nutrix" (Hail, Picardy the Nourisher) for a large stairwell in the newly constructed Musée de Picardie in Amiens. "Cider" and "The River," respectively, are studies for the left and right sides of the mural.

    "Cider" and "The River" present an idealized vision of Picardy's distant past, and their subjects would have resonated particularly in the 1860s, a time when each region of France was rediscovering its unique history, character, and culture as part of a broader movement toward decentralization.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed (lower right): P.Puvis de Chavannes

  • Provenance

    the artist (until 1893; sold on September 6, for Fr 10,000, to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1893–1906; stock no. 3121; sold on February 3, 1906 to Hébrard for Wagram]; Louis-Alexandre Berthier, prince de Wagram, Paris (1906–8); [possibly Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1908–at least 1909]; [Galerie Barbazanges, Paris, by 1912–13]; [Turner & Gardiner, London, 1913; sold on March 2, with "The River" (MMA 26.46.2) for $28,000, to Quinn]; John Quinn, New York (1913–d. 1924; his estate, 1924–26; sold to MMA; cat., 1926, p. 13)

  • Exhibition History

    Paris. Durand-Ruel. "Puvis de Chavannes," October–November 1894, no catalogue [see Riotor 1914 and Lemoine 2002].

    New York. Durand-Ruel. "Paintings, Pastels and Decorations by M. Puvis de Chavannes," December 15–31, 1894, no. 4 (as "Le Cidre [Project of decorative painting]").

    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Puvis de Chavannes," 1895, no. 3 [see Price 2010].

    Geneva. Musée Rath. "L'Exposition d'œuvres de MM. P. Puvis de Chavannes, Auguste Rodin, Eugène Carrière," January 1896, no. 2 (as "Le Cidre [panneau décoratif]").

    Paris. Durand-Ruel. "Exposition de tableaux, esquisses & dessins de Puvis de Chavannes," June–July 1899, no. 27 (as "Le Cidre," lent by MM. Durand-Ruel).

    Berlin. Bruno and Paul Cassirer. "Austellung von Werken von Edouard Manet, H.-G. E. Degas, P. Puvis de Chavannes, Max Slevogt," October 15–December 1, 1899, no. 31 (as "Der Most," probably this picture) [see Price 2010].

    St. Petersburg. Institut Français. "Exposition centennale de l'art français," January 28–?, 1912, no. 503 (as "Grande esquisse pour le musée d'Amiens," lent by Barbazanges).

    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 41.

    Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19.Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.

  • References

    "Exposition de M. Puvis de Chavannes." La Chronique des arts (October 20, 1894), p. 252, as "Le Cidre".

    Paintings, Pastels and Decorations by M. Puvis de Chavannes. Exh. cat., Durand-Ruel Galleries. New York, 1894, p. 17, no. 4, dates it 1893.

    Charles Yriarte. "Beaux-Arts: Six oeuvres de M. Puvis de Chavannes (Galerie Durand-Ruel)." Le Figaro (November 10, 1894), p. 1.

    Roger Fry. Letter to Bryson Burroughs. March 31, 1909 [published in Denys Sutton, ed., "Letters of Roger Fry," vol. 1, New York, 1972, letter no. 263, p. 319], reports that this picture and "The River" are available for purchase through Durand-Ruel.

    "Exhibition: One Hundred Years of French Painting 1812–1912." Apollon 3, part 1, no. 5 (1912), ill. between pp. 40 and 41.

    René Jean. L'Art français a Saint-Pétersbourg: Exposition centennale. Exh. cat.Paris, 1912, pp. 59–60, finds the landscape in this picture and its pendant reminiscent of Corot.

    François Monod. "L'Exposition centennale de l'art français à Saint-Pétersbourg (2e et dernier article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 4th ser., 7 (April 1912), p. 323, calls it "Automne".

    James Huneker. Letter to John Quinn. March 13, 1913 [published in Josephine Huneker, ed., "Letters of James Gibbons Huneker," New York, 1922, p. 154], congratulates Quinn on the purchase of "the various Puvises".

    Léon Riotor. Puvis de Chavannes. Paris, [1914], pp. 26, 66, mentions that two decorative sketches called "le Cidre" and "la Pêche" were exhibited at Durand-Ruel in October–November 1894.

    B[ryson]. B[urroughs]. "A Recent Loan of Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 10 (April 1915), p. 76, states that John Quinn has lent this picture to the MMA; describes it and "The River" as studies for an 1865 decoration at the head of the stairway on the second floor in the Picardy Museum, Amiens, noting that the Amiens installation is one continuous landscape, intersected by a central doorway.

    James Huneker. Ivory Apes and Peacocks. New York, 1915, p. 306, calls it "The Vintage" and dates it 1866.

    James Huneker. Letter to John Quinn. March 26, 1916 [published in Josephine Huneker, ed., "Letters of James Gibbons Huneker," New York, 1922, p. 206].

    John Quinn, 1870–1925: Collection of Paintings, Water Colors, Drawings & Sculpture. Huntington, N.Y., 1926, p. 13, as "Le Vendage".

    Léon Werth. Puvis de Chavannes. Paris, 1926, p. 125, pl. 10, dates it 1879.

    Camille Mauclair. Puvis de Chavannes. Paris, 1928, p. 162, erroneously calls it a sketch for the right side of the Amiens decoration.

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX Century." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, 1966, pp. 225–27, ill., remark that this composition was originally incomplete at the lower left corner, corresponding to where the architectural elements in Amiens intruded on the actual decoration; note that this picture was finished and signed at a later date when it was no longer needed as a study and could be sold.

    B[enjamin]. L[awrence]. Reid. The Man from New York: John Quinn and His Friends. New York, 1968, pp. 160–61, 197, 200, notes that Quinn paid $28,000 for this work and "The River," making this his costliest purchase to date; erroneously states that it was shown in the 1900 Paris Exposition.

    Richard J. Wattenmaker. Puvis de Chavannes and the Modern Tradition. Exh. cat., Art Gallery of Ontario. Toronto, 1975, pp. xxiv, 27–29, 58, 65.

    Jacques Foucart-Borville. La Genèse des peintures murales de Puvis de Chavannes au Musée de Picardie. Amiens, 1976, pp. 58–61, fig. 13, dates it just before November 1864, suggesting that it was retouched in 1893.

    Louise d'Argencourt in Puvis de Chavannes, 1824–1898. Exh. cat., Grand Palais, Paris. Ottawa, 1977, p. 64 [French ed., Paris, 1976, p. 67].

    Brice Rhyne. "John Quinn: The New York 'Stein'." Artforum 17 (October 1978), p. 59, notes that Quinn specified this picture and its companion be offered for sale to the MMA after his death.

    Judith Zilczer. "The Noble Buyer:" John Quinn, Patron of the Avant-Garde. Exh. cat., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. Washington, 1978, p. 179, as "The Grape Harvest (Le Vendange)".

    Claudine Mitchell. "Time and the Idea of Patriarchy in the Pastorals of Puvis de Chavannes." Art History 10 (June 1987), pp. 192–93, pl. 60, calls it a study for the left side of the decoration; discusses alterations Puvis made from an earlier drawing of the composition (Musée de Picardie) to our painting with its figures of an old man and woman looking at a young child; proposes that "as he worked on the canvas Puvis devised techniques to clarify the visual exchange between grandparents and grandson" to signify the cycle of life among the generations.

    Aimée Brown Price. Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. Exh. cat., Van Gogh Museum. Amsterdam, 1994, p. 104 n. 2, under no. 38, refers to the "Cider" composition as the left side of the decoration.

    Gary Tinterow. "Letters: The New Rooms at the Metropolitan Museum, New York." Burlington Magazine 136 (April 1994), p. 241.

    From Puvis de Chavannes to Matisse and Picasso: Toward Modern Art. Exh. cat., Palazzo Grassi, Venice. [Milan], 2002, p. 547, fig. 5 (color) and ill. p. 545.

    Kathryn Calley Galitz in Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 74–75, 293, no. 68, ill. (color and black and white).

    Kathryn Calley Galitz in The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 64, 248, no. 41, ill. (color and black and white).

    Aimée Brown Price. "A Catalogue Raisonné of the Painted Work." Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. 2, New Haven, 2010, pp. 99–100, 105, no. 129, ill., calls it "Le Cidre" or "Les Vendanges" or "Cueillette des pommes / Cider"; dates it about 1864, noting that the mural dates from 1864–65; observes that the colors in this picture are "lighter, narrower, and more subtle than those of the mural".

    Aimée Brown Price. "The Artist and His Art." Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. 1, New Haven, 2010, pp. 52, 222 n. 198.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History