Antoine (Anto) Carte (Belgian, 1886-1954) Le village (triptych)
Lot 15AR
Antoine (Anto) Carte (Belgian, 1886-1954) Le village (triptych) central panel 100.5 x 105cm (39 9/16 x 41 5/16in);
side panels 100.5 x 50.2cm (39 9/16 x 19 3/4in) each.
Sold for £73,250 (US$ 123,003) inc. premium
Lot Details
Antoine (Anto) Carte (Belgian, 1886-1954)
Le village (triptych)
signed 'Anto Carte' (central panel, lower right; left panel, lower left; right panel, lower right)
oil on canvas
central panel 100.5 x 105cm (39 9/16 x 41 5/16in);
side panels 100.5 x 50.2cm (39 9/16 x 19 3/4in) each.

Painted circa 1925-26


    Charles Leysen, Brussels (acquired directly from the artist).
    Thence by descent to the present owner.

    Mons, Musée des Beaux-Arts, and Paris, Centre-Wallonie-Bruxelles, Anto-Carte: rétrospective (1886-1954), 1995-96, no.32.

    The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by Françoise Eeckman.

    Le Village stands at a key point in the development of Anto Carte's career. His work was first shown to the wider world at the pivotal exhibition of the Arts of Wallonia in Charleroi in 1911, which was designed to showcase the arts, industry and culture of the region. Carte spent part of the following decade in Paris, falling particularly under the influence of the symbolist poet Emile Verhaeren, and through him discovering the work of artists such as Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and Maurice Denis. Carte was represented in the Les Imagiers Belges exhibition in Paris in 1923, alongside Valerius de Saedeleer and Gustave van de Woestijne, and as a result of this in 1925 the Carnegie Institute in Phildelphia asked Carte to present a major retrospective of his work.

    By 1925-26, and Le Village, Carte had developed his fully mature style, combining the clarity of line and didactic strength of Puvis de Chavannes and Denis with the bold and expressionistic sense of Laethem-Saint-Martin artists such as Saedleer and van de Woestijne. To these however he added his own feeling for realism, with a particular focus on subjects depicting the travails of the working man, particularly agricultural labourers. Despite what is sometimes termed the 'neo-humanism' of these idealisations of peasant honesty and strength, Carte's compositions often carry a strong religious sense. This is particularly clear in Le Village, with the Harvester and Milkmaid as secular saints attendant on the central panel dominated by a church spire. The triptych form itself is an overt echo of the traditional altarpiece, a configuration also used in Carte's 1923 paean to fishing communities Les Offrandes (Mons and Paris, op. cit., no. 59; Sotheby's Paris, 30 May 2012, lot 38).

    The later part of Carte's career was dominated by his membership of the Groupe Nervia, which he founded with Léon Eeckman and Louis Buisseret in 1928 with the aim of promoting the art and artists of Wallonia, and specifically the Province of Hainault. To a certain extent this was a defence of Walloon art as distinct from the Flemish Expressionism of artists working around Laethem-Saint-Martin. As Josée Mambour notes, in a definition that could equally apply to Le Village, 'when comparing them to the Expressionist School, we can say that the Nervians preferred the chant to the cry, intelligence to instinct. A certain idealism contains their lyricism.' (J. Mambour, Nervia, Mons, 1978, quoted in, accessed 19 December 2012).
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