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Le Passeur

Le Passeur
signed, titled and dated 'Claire TABOURET 2011 "Le Passeur"' (on the overlap)
acrylic on canvas
78 3⁄4 x 98 5⁄8in. (200 x 250.5cm.)
Painted in 2011
Private Collection, France (acquired directly from the artist).
A. Brodbeck and A. Teneze, Claire Tabouret, Paris 2020 (illustrated in colour, unpaged).
Paris, Galerie Isabelle Gounod, Claire Tabouret. L'île, 2012.
Marseille, Friche la Belle de Mai, Claire Tabouret + Cash for Gold like Smoke for Mirrors and Land for Sea, 2017.
Theirs, Le Creux de l'Enfer, Claire Tabouret: Neptune, 2017.
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
A portion of Christie's buyer's premium on this lot will be donated to Choose Love. Choose Love does whatever it takes to provide refugees and displaced people with everything from lifesaving search and rescue boats to food and legal advice. They elevate the voices and visibility of refugees and galvanise public support for agile community organisations providing vital support to refugees along migration routes globally. Choose Love is a restricted fund under the auspices of Prism the Gift Fund charity number 109968.


Anna Touzin
Anna Touzin Specialist, Head of Day Sale


A boat moves slowly through a shadowy sea in Claire Tabouret’s Le Passeur. Alone on the water, people huddle together in the small vessel. Several gaze bravely towards an unseen horizon, towards the future. Le Passeur was painted in 2011, the year the artist spent in residency in Marseille. While there, she spent two weeks traversing the stretch of the Mediterranean separating France and Algeria and from these boat journeys, Tabouret found inspiration for a new series evoking refugee crossings. If her earliest paintings were spare, almost abstract creations, Tabouret’s Migrants foregrounded the figure. For these works, she painted people in search of new beginnings, their boats floating atop darkly sinister seas. This sense of apprehension permeates Tabouret’s practice more generally: her fluctuating images recall the ghostly shadows of early photographs whose muted, unstable tonalities seem almost unmoored from reality. She often draws from archival imagery to begin her paintings, yet this ambiguity extends beyond the content of the work itself to encompass her methods and application. In Le Passeur, the impenetrable greys and aqueous brushwork reveal an uncertainty. ‘Paintings are not dead objects,’ Tabouret has observed. ‘[They] actually evolve—the way you look at it—because you’re going to change … It can be this dialogue that teaches you things your whole life. A good painting for me should be that’ (C. Tabouret, quoted in J. Palumbo, ‘Claire Tabouret’s New Self-Portraits Capture the Fragility of Solitude’, Artsy, 26 October 2020). Indeed, Le Passeur suggests a similar impermanence. The sea brings constant change, the boat moves ceaselessly, the fates of her subjects remain open and in the process of becoming.

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