Internationell Kvalitetsauktion 14 – 18 Juni 2022
To be sold at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale Week 14 – 18 June 2022
Lot 812 Theodore Earl Butler (USA 1861-1936). The dining room in Giverny with the artist’s wife Marthe embroidering. Signed and dated T E Butler 01. Oil on canvas, 66 x 54 cm.
100.000 – 125.000 SEK
€ 10.000 – 12.000
This work will be included in the forthcoming Theodore E Butler catalogue raisonné being prepared by Patrick Bertrand.
We would like to thank Patrick Bertrand for his kind help in cataloguing this lot.
A Swedish private collection.
The American impressionist Theodore E Butler born in Columbus, Ohio in 1861 moved to France to continue his art studies in 1885. The ambitious young painter enrolled at all the major private art schools in the French capital Paris; La Grande-Chaumière, Académie Colarossi and Académie Julien. During his studies at Emile Carolus Duran’s studio in Montparnasse he was first introduced to the work of Claude Monet and in the summer of 1888, Butler stayed in Giverny for the first time. On July 3, Butler and his friend Theodore Robinson had dinner at Monet’s house. This was the beginning of a close friendship between Butler and Monet. Alongside other American painters he stayed at the Hotel Baudy the following years, forming an American colony. On the 20th of July 1892 Butler married Monet’s stepdaughter Suzanne Hoschedé. Together with Suzanne he had two children; Jimmy and Lilly. He developed his own impressionist style, with a light palette and loose brushstrokes, freely associated with works by Édouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard. He painted his family, including the children and also views from his garden as well as landscapes from the surroundings. Sadly Suzanne passed away in 1899. Her sister Marthe helped Butler with the children as he decided to return to the United States for a while. After six months he came back to Giverny and married Marthe in October 1900.
Butler became a link between the American colony of painters and Claude Monet. Monet, considered the first Impressionist painter, had a big influence not only on the American painters in Giverny, but many other artists would follow his ideas. A comparison between Butler and Monet’s palettes can be made in the 1890s. The influence is obvious. However Butler did develop his own technique with simple forms, striking colours and saturated pigment. The lines were fluid and sometimes the forms were almost abstract. Butler did work in the shadows and footsteps of his celebrated father-in-law, but is now considered a leading American Post-Impressionist.
The painting included in this sale dated 1901 is showing Butler’s second wife Marthe. She was the younger step-daughter of Monet and even before their marriage she was included in the Butler-Hoschedé-Monet household. His beloved wife is here seen sitting with an embroidery in the dining room at Monet’s house in Giverny. In the light of an oil lamp she is occupied with her careful work. It is an intimate scene captured in a soft colour scheme with pastel tones of purple, blue, green, pink and yellow. Monet had the dining room painted in two shades of yellow. On the walls he had his collection of Japanese engravings. Also the furniture was painted in yellow, which was considered very modern at the time.
Butler would capture these domestic and caring depictions of his wife, family and friends during the coming years. Later the family moved to the United States, where Butler had been commissioned to paint mural panels for William Payne, he also founded the Society of Independent Artists. After the first World War the Butler family could return back to their much cherished life and home in Giverny. ■