Lot 122. Ladislaus Bakalowicz
1833 – 1904
A FLOWER MARKET AT LA MADELEINE, PARIS
signed Bakalowicz and inscribed Paris (lower right)
oil on canvas
32 by 59 3/4 in.
81.3 by 151.8 cm
Estimate $200,000-300,000. Sothebys. 11/21/17
La place de la Madeleine is named after the nineteenth century neoclassical church at the center of Paris. Since its consecration in 1845, its monumental steps have afforded one of the city’s most famous panoramas. While today La place de la Madeleine is most notable for its gourmet food shops, its famous flower market has attracted crowds since its establishment in 1832. One such flower stall, set below the massive Corinthian columns of the Madeleine, is depicted in Bakalowicz’s present work. Shelves full of various arranged bouquets and groups of vibrant potted plants draw the attention of fashionably dressed shoppers. Bakalowicz sets the scene in a low, long horizontal composition, allowing a series of vignettes to play out among the blooms: a couple’s quiet courtship at the left, the aggressive hand of a bargaining flower seller at center, and a smoking street urchin at the right. The present work has a kinship with the historical and literary paintings that first brought fame to Bakalowicz after his 1863 debut at the Paris Salon. Just as Bakalowicz had described each detail of sixteenth century lavish royal dress and the intricate social graces of courtly life with works like Henri III, His Favorites, and Bussy D’Ambrose Attending the Wedding of Saint Luc (sold in these rooms November 3, 1999, lot 90), A Flower Market at La Madeleine, Paris reveals the social norms of Paris via contemporary fashion and subtle gestures.
Lot sold on November 4, 2010 for $422,500 at Sothebys