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Lot 824
Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merprés (Belgian, 1880-1958) Garden Leisure in the Afternoon
HK$ 1.5 million - 2.5 million
US$ 190,000 - 320,000
withdrawn

Lot Details
Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merprés (Belgian, 1880-1958)
Garden Leisure in the Afternoon
Oil on canvas, framed
Signed J. Le Mayeur
99cm x 119cm (39in x 46¾in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Acquired directly from the artist by an Indonesian collector
    By descent to the Indonesian collector's daughter
    Private collection, France
    Private collection, Netherlands
    Another private collection, Netherlands

    勒邁耶 午後的花園 油彩畫布 木框

    簽名:J. Le Mayeur

    來源:
    印尼收藏家直接購自畫家
    印尼收藏家之女繼承
    法國私人收藏
    荷蘭私人收藏
    另一荷蘭私人收藏

    Born into an aristocratic family in Brussels, Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merprés was the son of a painter. Despite a degree in civil engineering, Le Mayeur found his passion in painting and studied under Ernest Blanc-Garin (1843-1916) and his father. Le Mayeur first depicted mainly Belgian landscapes; then during World War I, he served as an army painter, also taking battlefield photographs. After the war, he sought solace in his travels to places such as Morocco, Madagascar, India and Tahiti.

    Among his numerous journeys, his arrival into Bali in 1932 at age 52 proved to be pivotal. Attracted to the exuberant sunlight and unspoiled beauty of the Indonesian island as well as the Balinese way of life, including temple rituals and local dances, Le Mayeur rented a house at Banjar Kelandis, near the border of Bali's capital, Denpasar. What mesmerised Le Mayeur most was a beautiful Legong dancer 37 years his junior called Ni Wayan Pollok Tjoeglik (1917-1985) and nicknamed Ni Pollok. In 1933, a number of his paintings featuring Ni Pollok and Bali scenes were exhibited at the Singapore YMCA for the first time, which became a success. Not only were they all sold, Le Mayeur also won unanimous praise from the critics.

    After the exhibition, Le Mayeur returned to Bali to create an ethereal world of beauty to facilitate his painting. He bought a piece of land at Sanur Beach and built a Balinese-style home. Surrounding it was his lush garden where he constructed small temples of white coral, dug little ponds, planted blooming bougainvillea, frangipani and hibiscus as well as placed approximately two hundred statues of Hindu gods and goddesses around. In 1935, he married Ni Pollock who continued to pose for him at this house every day, for more than 25 years. Unsurprisingly, Le Mayeur was faithful to pictorial themes of daily Balinese life in and around his house: women weavers at the loom, women dancing around the lotus pond, women picking flowers or making offerings in the garden.

    The present work shows five bare-breasted women at leisure in his garden in the late afternoon. Le Mayeur focused on the two women in the foreground by means of figure size, prominent placement and clearer delineation of facial features. The large statue at the right edge leads the eye to the reclining figure. Covered by a green fabric and holding a yellow parasol, she bears the strongest resemblance to Ni Pollok. The yellow parasol, as an important decorative element, has appeared several times in Le Mayeur's other works, for example 'Balinese Weavers' and 'Ni Pollok' both sold at Christie's in Hong Kong on 30 November 2008 and 24 May 2009 respectively. As for the figure styling her hair, she could be Ni Reneng, another Legong dancer who posed for him previously. The other three female figures were most likely his kitchen maids and chambermaid as Le Mayeur once said, "I employed five house servants for Pollok. A couchman, a gardener, two kitchen maids and a chambermaid. Of course I have picked them myself and they were very beautiful girls in the first place. I didn't want them to be primarily servants. I wanted to have friends around us who took pleasure in their jobs. I forbade them to work in the late afternoon, during those hours I wanted them to sit around in their beautiful sarong..." (Drs. Jop Ubbens and Cathinka Huizing, Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merprés: Painter-Traveller, Wijken Aalburg, 1995, p. 119.) Le Mayeur's familiarity with his subjects imbued the work with unpretentious spontaneity.

    The Impressionist artist's approach to sunlight, foliage, naked skin and water is simple, yet effective. Deft dabs of cream and beige show figures and statues bathed in sunlight, complemented by shadows on the ground. Short, thick strokes of green and red suggest the luxuriant flora in the background, at the same time framing the scene. The extravagant showering of petals delicately dotted in red with a few fallen frangipani flowers in front of Ni Pollock and the expansive sea in the background all add to the colourful idyll.

    After the artist's death, his beach house was converted into a museum called the Museum Le Mayeur, now managed by the Indonesian government. La Mayeur's other romantic depictions of Balinese life are kept at the Museum Le Mayeur as well as in private collections.

    勒邁耶出生於比利時布魯塞爾一個貴族世家,為畫家之子。他雖擁有土木工程學位,卻在藝術創作中找到熱情,因而師從父親和Ernest Blanc-Garin (1843-1916) 。勒邁耶早年多半描繪比利時的風光,在第一次世界大戰期間,他成為軍隊畫家,並拍攝戰場照片。戰後,他為了尋求心靈上的慰籍,遊歷摩洛哥、馬達加斯加、印度和大溪地等多處。

    在眾多旅程當中,最具關鍵的是他於1932年,即五十二歲時,踏上峇里島土地。 這個印尼小島的燦爛陽光和原始之美,以及包含宗教儀式和民族舞蹈的風土民情,深深吸引着勒邁耶。於是,他在Banjar Kelandis,近峇里島首府登巴薩市的邊界租屋,定居下來。其中最令他著迷的是一位風情萬種,比他年輕三十七歲的黎弓舞者 (Legong Dancer),名叫Ni Wayan Pollok Tjoeglik (1917-1985),綽號尼 · 波洛克。1933年,他描繪尼 · 波洛克和峇里島景色的一批畫作,首次在新加坡基督教青年會展出,取得了圓滿的成功。作品不僅全數售出,還贏得藝評界一致的稱讚。

    展覽後,勒邁耶返回峇里島去打造一個利於創作的美麗天地。他在沙努爾海灘 (Sanur Beach) 買了一塊地,蓋了一間具有峇里島傳統風格的房子,並在花團錦簇的院子裡添加珊瑚小寺廟,挖掘池塘,種植九重葛、雞蛋花、芙蓉花,並在四周擺放約兩百尊印度神像。1935年,勒邁耶和尼 · 波洛克共結連理,婚後妻子持續每天在此海灘別墅為他擺姿勢,做模特兒,時間超過二十五年之久。很顯然,勒邁耶忠於表現圍繞在自己居家和四周的峇里島日常生活,如織機旁的女織工、蓮花池畔的女舞者、在花園採花或祭神的女郎。

    此作〈午後的花園〉呈現五位赤裸上身的女郎,午後在畫家花園休憩的景象。透過人物的大小比例、空間的佈局和較清晰的五官刻畫,勒邁耶將焦點放在前景的兩人。右側巨大的雕像將視線引到斜臥的女主人翁,蓋着一縷綠紗,手持著黃色的陽傘,她面貌神似尼 · 波洛克。而那黃色的陽傘,作為一個重要的裝飾性元素,曾多次出現在勒邁耶其他作品中,例如〈峇里島織工〉和〈尼 · 波洛克〉(二畫先後於2008年11月30日和2009年5月24日在香港佳士得拍賣會中售出)。至於那位整理秀髮的女郎可能是尼 · 惹能 (Ni Reneng),另一個常為勒邁耶擺姿勢的黎弓舞者。後面三位女人極有可能是為勒邁耶做菜和清掃的女傭,因為畫家曾經說過:「我為波洛克請了五個傭人:一個木工、一個園丁、兩個廚房女僕和一個清理臥室的女傭。當然他們都是我親自選的,而且這些女孩本來就非常美麗。我不願意他們僅僅是傭人。我希望我們周圍有朋友寓歡樂於工作,到了午後,我嚴禁他們工作。我要他們那段時間穿著美麗的莎籠(長布裹身做成的寬鬆裙子,即印尼男女的穿著)四處坐著......」(Drs. Jop Ubbens 和 Cathinka Huizing 合著,《Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merprés: Painter-Traveller》,Wijken Aalburg,1995年, 頁119。)勒邁耶對畫中人物的瞭解,為這幅作品添增了一種毫無矯揉造作的即興感。

    此印象派藝術家對於陽光、葉子、裸體和水面的處理雖簡單,卻傳神。他藉由靈巧、快速的奶油色和米色筆觸,來強調沈浸在陽光裡的人物和雕像,並以地上的影子來作呼應。短促、略厚的紅、綠線條,構成背景茂密的枝葉和花朵,同時框住這美麗的畫面。以紅點細心描繪,如雪花般飄落在地上和女主人翁前的花瓣,以及背景寬廣的海面,都讓這個世外桃源更加繽紛多彩。

    勒邁耶去世後,他的海灘別墅改裝成一間以他名字命名的美術館,現由印尼政府管理。藝術家其他以峇里島為主題的浪漫畫作,可在此間美術館和其他私人收藏中見到。

    Captions
    圖片說明

    Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merprés and his wife Ni Pollok
    勒邁耶和妻子尼 · 波洛克

    Ni Pollok as her husband's model
    尼 · 波洛克為丈夫的模特兒

    Interior of the artist's beach house, now a museum
    畫家海灘別墅室內一角,現為美術館

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