Sotheby's /May 16, 2017
€3,675,794.89 - €5,513,692.34
Artworks in Arcadja787
Some works of Claude MonetExtracted between 787 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Christie's -Jun 27, 2017 - LondonLot number: 14
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Claude Monet (1840-1926) Saule pleureur stamped with the signature 'Claude Monet' (Lugt 1819b; lower right); stamped again 'Claude Monet' (Lugt 1819b; on the reverse) oil on canvas 51 3/8 x 43 3/8 in. (130.5 x 110.2 cm.) Painted in 1918-1919 \‘No more earth, no more sky, no limits now.\’ (Claude Roger-Marx) Painted between 1918 and 1919, Saule pleureur (Weeping Willow) is one of a small series of ten monumental and powerfully emotive paintings, each of which depict one of the majestic weeping willow trees that lined the artist\’s famed water lily pond at his home in Giverny. Soaring ascendantly upwards to scale the entire height of the large canvas, the weeping willow is the sole protagonist of this scene, its tumbling foliage falling like a shimmering cascade of water from above. The sky and surroundings are eliminated, save for a small corner of the lily pond, visible at the lower right of the painting. Instead, colour, line and texture come to the fore as swirling, flickering brushstrokes charged with a feverish intensity dance and sway across the richly impastoed surface of the canvas. Layers and layers of paint of a multitude of tones – emerald greens, streaks of dazzling gold and orange, and flecks of deep blue and purple – electrify the composition, its surface pulsating and vibrating with vitality and emotion. Together with the monumental vistas of the water lily pond, known as the Grandes décorations, Saule pleureur dates from the late, great final flowering of Monet\’s oeuvre, a period that saw an extraordinary outpouring of creativity that now stands at the apex of his long and revolutionary career. Considered some of the most emotive and expressive paintings that Monet ever created, the Weeping Willow series was regarded in such high esteem by the artist that he intended to donate one of these works to the State following France\’s victory in the First World War; this donation never came to fruition. However, of the ten paintings in this groundbreaking series, five now reside in museum collections across the world, including the Musée Marmottan, Paris, Kimbell Art Museum, Texas and the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio. Remaining in the artist\’s collection until his death and never exhibited during his lifetime, Saule pleureur is thus one of the final five to remain in private hands. Monet began the Weeping Willow series in the spring of 1918. Since the middle of 1914, a year that had begun with immense personal tragedy in the artist\’s life due to the death of his eldest son Jean, Monet had been working with a fearsome resolve on what came to be known as his Grandes décorations. Born from an earlier idea to create an immersive decorative scheme based on his water lily paintings of the previous years, this ambitious, all-consuming and groundbreaking project consisted of paintings on a scale never before seen in the artist\’s career. On canvases five feet high and over six and a half feet wide, the artist had begun to paint close up visions of the shimmering, ephemeral reflections of his water lily pond. Densely worked over long periods of time, these canvases were executed in a new studio built especially for this purpose in the summer of 1915. Painting from dawn until dusk, Monet was completely absorbed with this pioneering project over the following years. By the opening months of 1918, a critic, François Thiébault-Sisson, visited Monet at Giverny and recalled that the artist had finished eight out of twelve of these enormous canvases, and that the final four would be completed imminently. Soon after this, however, the artist, for reasons unknown, decided to change direction and embarked upon a distinct project. He turned his gaze outwards once more, looking to the magical flower-filled gardens he had created and the vast water garden beyond, and began painting on smaller canvases – most likely en plein air at daybreak or at dusk – scenes of the wisteria-covered Japanese bridge, the lily pond and its banks, as well as one of the weeping willows that lined it. The most dramatic and striking paintings of this separate group of works are undoubtedly this series of ten Weeping Willows, of which Saule pleureur is one. Painted on an impressively large vertical scale, this bold series provided a refreshing contrast to the horizontal expanses of canvas that Monet had been working on up until this point. All ten of these notable paintings depict one of the two weeping willow trees that stood at the northern end of the lily pond. While the larger tree had appeared in a pair of earlier paintings (Wildenstein, nos. 1848-9), the smaller tree next to it served as the protagonist of this series, its statuesque presence and softly cascading foliage providing the inspiration for these works. The weeping willow trees that lined the pond in the water garden had often featured in Monet\’s paintings at Giverny. One, which stood on the southwest of the pond, next to the Japanese bridge, often appears in the earlier portrayals of this feature. Likewise, the trunk and tumbling leaves falling into the pond appear in myriad water lily compositions as reflections in the water, as well as in one of the triptychs of the Grandes décorations. Never before however had it taken such a prominent position in Monet\’s painting. In Saule pleureur, the willow tree appears as if slowly emerging or descending into velvety darkness, its foliage streaked with golden chasms and flickers of light as the sun casts its first, or indeed final, light over the water garden. Some works in the series – the Kimbell Art Museum and Musée Marmottan\’s Saule pleureurs (Wildenstein, nos. 1875-7), for example – show a more panoramic vista of the willow, its sea of overhanging branches creating a curtain of colour on each side of the serpentine trunk. The Columbus Museum\’s work (Wildenstein, no. 1869) has the same tightly cropped composition as the present work, yet the tendrils of foliage appear in streaks of lime green and yellow. In contrast to the endless, enveloping tranquillity of his concurrent water lilies, these paintings are arresting both in their sheer physicality and in their emotional impact. Eschewing the soft pastel tones that he used to render the ephemerality and iridescence of water, in Saule pleureur Monet has turned to darker, more intense tones applied with bold handling to create dramatic contrasts of light and a gestural almost tormented surface. Taking the newfound freedom of expression that he had discovered in the creation of the monumental Grandes décorations, Monet has distilled this increasingly abstract mode of painting onto a smaller scale, increasing the visual impact of this unbridled, expressionistic style. More than simply a motif for formal experimentation into colour and form, however, the weeping willow was imbued with a deep and powerful resonance for the artist. At the time that he began this series of paintings, the First World War had reached its final, climactic year. Since the outbreak of war, Monet had been engaged in the conflict on both a personal and public level. His younger son Michel and stepson Jean-Pierre Hoschedé had both been sent to the Front in the early years of the conflict, and though he was too old to fight, he felt an intense need to contribute to the war effort. Like Matisse, who had tried to enlist but had been turned away due to his age, Monet found refuge in his work. \‘It is the best way not to think too much about the sadness of the present,\’ he wrote to his friend, the critic and writer Gustave Geffroy, at the beginning of December 1914. Although, he added, \‘I should be a bit ashamed to think about little investigations into forms and colours while so many people suffer and die for us\’ (Monet, quoted in C. Stuckey, exh. cat., Claude Monet 1840-1926, Chicago, 1995, p. 246). For Monet, painting became fuelled by patriotic fervour, his Grandes décorations and concurrent work serving both as a personal refuge and a public testament of the resilience of French national culture and heritage. While his compatriots fought on the Front line, Monet waged his own battle within his secluded studio in rural France, seeking to create paintings that affirmed nature\’s immutable beauty and man\’s enduring spirit in the face of such horrifying violence. The Weeping Willow series has been described as Monet\’s most direct and poignant response to the war. Indeed, in March 1918, at the time he began this series, the Germans had mounted their most aggressive defensive on the Allied forces, bombarding Paris and breaking through British defences in the Somme valley. As the news from the Front grew ever worse, and the Germans captured Amiens, just 37 kilometres from Giverny itself, Monet was said at one point to have contemplated feeing his beloved home. \‘What an agonising life we all are living,\’ he wrote to his dealer Paul Durand-Ruel in June, \‘I continue…to work, although at times, I long to give it all up. Sometimes, I have to ask myself what I would do if a new surprise attack by the enemy occurred\’ (Monet, quoted in P. Tucker, Claude Monet: Life and Art, New Haven & London, 1995, p. 211). Just a week after he wrote these words, he changed his mind: he would stay in Giverny, together with his canvases, no matter what. As he had throughout the war, his reaction to his angst was to paint. He honed in on the motif of the willow and depicted it with deep, intense colours and agitated, feverish brushwork. In Saule pleureur, the quivering leaves and sinuous branches of the willow writhe with emotion and dynamism. This series, like many of Monet\’s paintings from the first half of 1918, is pervaded by a deeply elegiac mood, the previously peaceful motifs of the water garden now painted in mournful harmonies of deep blue and purple, or burning frenzied tones of orange and yellow, applied with thick, frenetic brushstrokes. As Paul Hayes Tucker has eloquently described, \‘With surfaces trowled by his heavily loaded brush and colours bordering on the brazen, these are some of the most highly charged canvases Monet ever produced… They are also some of the most dialectical. Nothing seems quite rational in them and yet everything appears palpable and keenly sensed. Light battles with dark, description grapples with expression, space combats surface. The scenes brim with emotion but of similarly contrasting kinds. There are cries of pain and shouts of ecstasy, shivers of fear and clamours of celebration. Doubt pervades all the pictures but determination seems to prevail\’ (ibid., pp. 209-210). Rising powerfully from the ground, single, steadfast and resolute, the weeping willow could within this context be regarded as a powerful image of hope and defiance in the midst of the seemingly interminable sorrow. Depicted in full leaf, its commanding presence serves as a picture of resilience despite the destruction of the world around it. Trees had long had a powerful personal symbolism for the artist: thirty years earlier, Monet had similarly made a powerful attachment to an oak tree in the Creuse valley. Depicting it in a painting that has since been lost or destroyed – Le vieil arbre à Fresselines (Wildenstein, no. 1229) – he wrote to his wife Alice that upon looking at this work she would see all \‘the rages and difficulties\’ that the artist had experienced (ibid., p. 210). At once enduring and vulnerable, elegant yet robust, tormented yet triumphant, sorrowful yet resolute, the weeping willow served as the perfect metaphor both for the artist\’s deeply felt emotions at this time as well as for France as a whole. This series, begun in the face of increasing doom at the fate of France, ended with triumphant victory. By the autumn of 1918, the tide had turned for the Allies, and the long awaited victory came soon after. A testament to the importance that the Weeping Willow series held for Monet is the fact that he agreed to leave one of these paintings to the French State. As soon as the Armistice was signed on 11 November 1918, Monet wrote to his old and very dear friend, who was at the time Prime Minister of France, Georges Clemenceau that he intended to donate two of his large panneaux décoratifs to the State, which he intended to \‘sign as of the day of the Victory\’. A few days later, on 18 November, Clemenceau visited Giverny and, deeply moved by the searing emotive power of the Weeping Willow paintings, requested that one of this series be added to Monet\’s donation. He proudly wrote to one of the Bernheim-Jeune brothers to tell them of his decision, explaining that this donation was his way of \‘taking part in the victory\’ (Letter 2290, in D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet: Biographie et Catalogue raisonné, vol. IV, Lausanne, 1985, p. 401). Ultimately this donation did not materialise in this form; instead it grew into something much larger. From the Armistice onwards, the pair agreed that the donation would consist not just of two decorative panels, but all twelve that Monet had been working on since the beginning of the war. A series of twenty-two large scale paintings were finally installed in Paris\’s Musée de l\’Orangerie years later, in 1927. With its richly impastoed, highly textured surface and gestural, unmixed strokes of a symphonic array of emerald tones, Saule pleureur is one of Monet\’s late, great works, the style and handling of which had a decisive impact and influence on successive generations of artists. A single field of luminous, vibrating and emotive colour, with these large, immersive paintings, Monet instigated what has become recognised as the genesis of \‘pure painting\’. Representation and illusionism are overwhelmed by an insistence on the physical qualities of the paint and its application. The resultant painting transcends the subject it depicts; no longer solely a portrayal of a willow tree, the painting becomes a dramatic, highly charged and evocative, expressionistic near-abstract painting. This stylistic development did not go unmissed by critics in Monet\’s own time; upon seeing the artist\’s Nymphéas series of 1909, Louis Gillet remarked, \‘the pure abstraction of art can go no further\’ (L. Gillet, quoted in R. King, Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Waterlilies, London, 2016, p. 44). It would take almost half a century, however, for the full impact of Monet\’s radical inventions at Giverny to become fully recognised. In the 1950s, the New York School of painters and critics alike found fresh and vital inspiration in Monet\’s late work, finding in these often large canvases the same preoccupations with surface, colour and handling as they were exploring in their own work. The enveloping colour fields of Rothko, \‘all-over\’ drip paintings of Pollock, and the gestural, impastoed canvases of Joan Mitchell could all be regarded as descendants of the revolutionary immersive, all-encompassing pictorial space created by the great leader of Impressionism in a beloved garden in a far-of corner of rural France. One of the leading critics of post-war American art, Thomas Hess, wrote in 1956, \‘In the past decade paintings by such artists as Pollock, Rothko, Still, Reinhardt, Tobey, and writings by such artists as André Masson and Barnett Newman have made us see in Monet\’s huge late pictures and in the smaller, wilder sketches he made for them a purity of image and concept of pictorial space that we now can recognise as greatly daring poetry\’ (T. Hess, quoted in M. Leja, \‘The Monet Revival and the New York School of Abstraction\’, in P. Tucker et al., exh. cat., Monet in the 20th Century, London & Boston, 1998-1999, pp. 100-101).
Auction: Pierre Berge -Jun 21, 2017 - ParisLot number: 10
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Claude monet (1840-1926) Plage et falaises de Pourville, 1882 Huile sur toile. Signée et datée en bas à gauche \\\“Claude Monet 1882\\\”. H_60 cm L_73 cm Provenance: - acheté à l'artiste par Durand-Ruel en 1882 - acquis auprès de Durand-Ruel par le sculpteur René de Saint-Marceaux, vers 1883 - collection Monsieur Tempelaere, Pays Bas, 1931 - acquis pour le compte de Monsieur Tempelaere à la Galerie Weil à Paris, par le grand-père de l'actuel propriétaire - resté dans la famille depuis - collection privée, France Expositons: - Galerie E.J. Van Wisseling, Amsterdam, 1935, exposition privée - Centenaire de Claude Monet, Galerie André Weil, Paris, février 1940 Bibliographie: - Daniel Wildenstein, 1979, Catalogue Raisonné, vol II, repr. p.60, 61 - Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet Catalogue Raisonné, vol II, repr. n° 710 CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926) Beach and Cliffs at Pourville, 1882 Oil on canvas. Signed and dated lower left \\\‘Claude Monet 1882'. H_60 cm L_73 cm Provenance: - Purchased from Claude Monet by Durand-Ruel in 1882 - Purchased from Durand-Ruel by the artist René de Saint-Marceaux, circa 1883 - Private collection Mr. Tempelaere, Netherlands, 1931 - Bought from the André Weil Gallery Paris for Mr. Tempelaere by the grand-father of the actual owner - Stayed in the same family - Private collection, France Exhibitions: - Galerie E.J. Van Wisseling, Amsterdam, 1935, private exhibition - Centenaire de Claude Monet, Galerie André Weil, Paris, February 1940 Literature: - Daniel Wildenstein, 1979, Catalogue Raisonné, vol II, ill. p.60, 61 - Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet Catalogue Raisonné, vol II, ill. n° 710 Claude Monet \\\“L'an dernier, (...) j'ai souvent suivi Claude Monet à la recherche d' impressions. Ce n' était plus un peintre, en vérité, mais un chasseur. Il allait, suivi d'enfants qui portaient ses toiles, cinq ou six toiles représentant le même sujet à des heures diverses et avec des effets différents. Il les prenait et les quittait tour à tour, suivant les changements du ciel\\\” Guy de Maupassant Pour Claude Monet les côtes normandes sont teintées de souvenir. Ayant passé son enfance au Havre, il a acquis une connaissance particulière des paysages et de l'atmosphère qui s'en dégage. Lorsqu'il retourne en Normandie, ses proches parlent d'un bouleversement chez le peintre, qui accentue son obsession de la lumière et de ses variations. Claude Monet nous raconte qu'il se lève à l'aube et travaille jusqu'au soir afin d'étudier encore et toujours les effets de la lumière sur la mer. En 1882, après quelques jours passés à Dieppe, Claude Monet s'installe à Pourville. «Je me suis installé ici depuis quelques jours, j'avais besoin de revoir la mer et suis enchanté de revoir tant de choses que j'ai faites il y a quinze années. Aussi me suis-je mis à l'ouvrage avec ardeur». Touché par les falaises et la lumière qui s'y baigne il dit «aimer la surface ondoyante» de ces falaises de la côte normande mais aussi «les angles de visions originaux qu'elle lui offre». Il a su capter et rendre sur la toile la matérialité des rochers, les traces d'érosion et la variation de couleurs. La réverbération de la lumière sur la paysage est déposée en une touche d'énergie qui captive le regard et confère à l'oeuvre un magnétisme de l'ordre du divin. Il y a dans son oeuvre une volonté d'exprimer, une manière de percevoir et de ressentir les choses plutôt que de restituer avec exactitude l'apparence objective et neutre. L'oeuvre apparaît ici, comme une impression, un moyen d'atteindre une vérité et de nous la dévoiler. De part le regard et le ressenti du peintre, la nature se dévoile à nous sous un jour nouveau, sous des couleurs que nous ne voyons pas et qui se révèlent grâce à la touche si particulière de l'artiste. Oscar Wilde l'exprime ainsi \\\‘ La vie imite l'art bien plus que l'art n'imite la vie». Il y a, ici, bien plus de réalité que dans la vie réelle. Il renouvèle ainsi la façon de représenter la nature et de la percevoir, pour lui le sujet n'est pas ce qu'il est mais ce que la lumière en fait. Son art est un langage, il cherche dans la réalité sensible les formes avec lesquelles, il exprime une idée, un ressenti, une impression esthétique. Ce paysage de Pourville colorié par des bleus, des verts et des roses, transcende les limites du beau et déborde sur le sublime indicible. La modulation de notre perception nous surprend, nous fascine et nous élève au delà du monde sensible. For Monet the coast of Normandy was tinged with memories. Having spent his childhood in Le Havre, he acquired a special knowledge of the landscape and the atmosphere particular to this place. When he returned to Normandy, his close relations talked of a major disruption in the painter, which accentuated his obsession with light and its variations. Monet tells us that he rose at dawn and worked till nightfall in order to study again and again the effects of light on the ocean. In 1882, after several days spent in Dieppe, Monet moved to Pourville. \\\“I moved there several days ago, I needed to see the sea again and am thrilled to see again so many of the things that I did fifteen years ago. I have hence started working with great ardor. Touched by the chalk cliffs and the light bathing them, he said how much he \\\“loved the undulating surface\\\” of those cliffs of the Norman coast but also \\\“the original perspectives they offered him.\\\” He knew how to capture and render on canvas the materiality of rocks, traces of erosion, variations in color. The reverberation of the light on the landscape is laid down as an energetic touch that captures the gaze and confers on the work a magnetism of a divine order. There are in his works a will to express, a way of perceiving and feeling things rather than exactly reproducing objective, neutral appearance. The work appears here as an impression, a way of attaining a truth and unveiling it to us. Through the painter's gaze and feeling, nature unveils itself to us under a new day, through colors that we never see and that reveal themselves thanks to the so-particular touch of the artist. Oscar Wilde expressed it thus: \\\“Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.\\\” There is, here, much more reality than in real life. He thus renewed the way of representing and perceiving nature: for him the subject is not what it is, but what the light makes of it. His art is a language, he seeks in perceivable reality the forms with which he expresses an idea, a feeling, an aesthetic impression. This landscape of Pourville colored by blues, greens, and pinks, transcends the boundaries of the beautiful and brims over into the inexpressible sublime. The modulation of our perception surprises us, fascinates us, and elevates us beyond the perceivable world. \\\“Last year (...) I often followed Claude Monet in his search for impressions. He was no longer a painter, in fact, but a hunter. He went about, followed by children who carried his canvases, five or six canvases depicting the same subject at different hours and with different effects. He took them and left them each in their turn, following the changes in the sky.\\\” Guy de Maupassant Les Falaises Normandes Grâce à son carnet de croquis, Monet peut prendre note de tous les lieux et étudier le meilleur cadrage. Les esquisses prises lors de ses pérégrinations se retrouvent souvent et assez fidèlement dans les marines de cette époque. Il est vrai que la composition de ses dessins, tout comme celle de ses peintures, est d'une grande simplicité: silhouette des falaises et ligne d'horizon. Les marines de Monet ne sont plus consacrées à la représentation de silhouettes parisiennes sur la plage, ni de régates sur les flots, comme celles qu'il exécutait lors de la décennie précédente. A l'instar de ses paysages de Vétheuil, ses paysages marins sont épurés à l'extrême. Extrait de l'ouvrage \\\“Claude Monet, son musée\\\”. éd. Musée Marmottan, Monet, Paris. éd. Editions Hazan, Paris, 2010. With his sketchbook, Monet can take note of all the places and study the best framing. The sketches drawn during his wanderings can often be identified, sometimes fairly accurately, in the marines painted at this period. It is true that the composition of his drawings, as well as those of his paintings, is very simple: the outlines of the cliffs and the horizon line. The marine paintings of Monet are no longer devoted to the representation of Parisian silhouettes on the beach, nor regattas on the waves like those painted during the previous decade. In the same way as the Vétheuil landscapes, Monet's seascapes are extremely refined. \\\“Je n'ai fait que regarder ce que m'a montré l'univers. La couleur est mon obsession quotidienne, ma joie et mon tourment.\\\” \\\“I did nothing but look at what the universe showed me. Color is my daily obsession, my joy and my torment.\\\”
Auction: Sotheby's -May 17, 2017 - New-yorkLot number: 382
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Claude Monet YPORT ET FALAISE D'AVAL 1840 - 1926 Stamped Claude Monet on the reverse Pastel heightened with gouache on paper 7 3/4 by 15 7/8 in. 19.5 by 40.5 cm Executed in 1861. Provenance Hôtel Drouot, Paris, February 17, 1884, lot 78 Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired at the above sale) Marcel Bernheim, Paris Camille Mauclair, Paris (a gift from the above in 1924) Wildenstein & Co., New York Private Collection, Toronto (acquired from the above and sold: Sotheby\\\’s New York, November 5, 2014, lot 392) Acquired at the above sale Exhibited Paris, Bernheim-Jeune, Claude Monet, 1906 Berlin, Paul Cassirer, VI Ausstellung, XI. Jahrgang, 1909 Dusseldorf, loan of works from Durand-Ruel, late 1911 Leipzig, Verein Lia, Leipziger Jahrausstellung, 1912, no. 496 Paris, Marcel Bernheim, Exposition de pastels et dessin, 1923-24 Rome, Complesso del Vittoriano, Monet il maestro della luce, 2000, no. 36, illustrated in color in the catalogue London, Royal Academy of Arts & Williamstown, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings, 2007, n.n., illustrated in color in the catalogue Literature Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet, Biographie et catalogue raisonné, vol. V, Lausanne, 1991, no. P4, illustrated in color pp. 20 & 156 Joseph Baillio & Cora Michael, \\\“Chronological and Pictorial Survey of the Life and Career of Claude Monet\\\” in Monet (1840-1926): Tribute to Daniel Wildenstein and Katia Granoff, New York, 2007, cited p. 154, illustrated in color fig. 5
Auction: Sotheby's -May 16, 2017 - New-yorkLot number: 8
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Claude Monet VÉTHEUIL Signed Claude Monet and dated 80 (lower right) Oil on canvas 23 5/8 by 31 1/2 in. 60 by 80 cm Painted in 1880. (probably) Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the artist in 1881) George N. Tyner, Holyoke, Massachusetts (sold: Waldorf-Astoria, New York, February 1, 1901, lot 67) Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired at the above sale) Montaignac, Paris (acquired from the above on March 11, 1903) Maurice Masson, Paris (sold: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, Vente M. Masson, June 22, 1911, no. 25) Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris & Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired at the above sale) Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris Margarethe Krupp, Villa Hügel, Essen, inventory KH 345 (acquired from the above in March 1914 for RM 22,000 on the advice of the director of the Kunstmuseum Essen, Ernst Gosebruch) Thence by descent Exhibited Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Collection Maurice Masson, 1911, no. 26 Essen, Villa Hügel, Aus der Gemäldesammlung der Familie Krupp, 1965, no. 65 Literature Daniel Wildenstein, Monet, Biographie et Catalogue raisonné, Lausanne & Paris, 1974, vol. I, no. 607, illustrated p. 375 Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet, Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1996, vol. II, no. 607, illustrated p. 232 Painted in 1880, Monet\’\’\’\’s stunning Vétheuil depicts the small village of Vétheuil situated along the Seine between the city of Mantes and the town of Vernon, which was the home to Monet and his family from September 1878 until December 1881. This picturesque location was the site of some of Monet\’\’\’\’s most successful Impressionist landscapes during this period and continued to fascinate him well into his late career. The natural beauty of the region appealed to the artist, as did the impressive medieval architecture that could be seen from many points in the surrounding area. Of particular interest to him were the rigid shapes of buildings, most noticeably that of the imposing tenth century church of Notre Dame de Vétheuil, juxtaposed against the patchwork of the landscape. In the two years that he made Vétheuil his home, Monet executed several views of the village as seen from across the river, with the fragmented reflection of the church and its environs appearing in the ripples of water. This was the view that attracted Monet\’\’\’\’s attention again in 1901, when he rented a house on the banks of Lavacourt that summer and, from his balcony overlooking the river, painted fifteen canvases of the view of Vétheuil. Monet\’\’\’\’s return to this subject over twenty years later demonstrates a shift in his aesthetic objectives. No longer was he concerned with the buildings as objects per se. Instead, his concentration now focused primarily on the effects of the natural light as it illuminated the region and on the atmospheric quality of the landscape as a whole. Monet's paintings from Vétheuil evidence a critical development in the evolution of his style, when he began to strike out from the already established techniques of the early Impressionist imagery that he had perfected while living in Argenteuil in the 1870s. Many of these canvases strike a balance between the naturalist-realist origins of Impressionism and a boldly experimental approach to capturing the changing qualities of light. This small stretch of the Seine provided innumerable opportunities for Monet to observe the same, or similar, views in different seasons and at different times of day and to explore the resulting nuances of light and color. Returning to the same stretch of river over a number of years allowed Monet to observe it in all its moods: capturing it bathed in the crisp, golden light of a warm afternoon as in the present work and by way of contrast, in the somber, muted tones that he used to evoke the particularly harsh winter of 1879-80. With regard to the artist's technique in the 1880s, Andrew Forge wrote: \“Color which he now learned to use with an unprecedented purity offers an infinitely subtle and flexible alternative to the traditional massing of light and shade. Systems of interlocking blues and oranges, for example, of lilacs and lemons will carry the eye across the whole surface of the canvas and these color structures, each marvelously turned to the particulars of light will be augmented by a vast range of accents of comma, slash, dot, flake, each attuned economically to its object that the eye is continually at work in its reading\” (A. Forge in Claude Monet (exhibition catalogue), Acquavella Galleries, New York, 1976, n.p.).
Auction: Christie's -May 15, 2017 - New-yorkLot number: 16A
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Claude Monet (1840-1926) La berge du Petit-Gennevilliers, soleil couchant signed 'Claude Monet' (lower right) oil on canvas 21 1/8 x 29 5/8 in. (55 x 73.9 cm.) Painted in 1875 The Seine-side enclave of Argenteuil, where Monet painted this convivial image of suburban leisure, is virtually synonymous today with the origins of Impressionism. \\\“I have been seeing Monet frequently these days,\\\” Boudin reported to his dealer in January 1872, a month after Monet moved to the town. \\\“He\\\’s settled in comfortably and seems to have a great desire to make a name for himself. I believe that he is destined to fill one of the most prominent positions in our school of painting\\\” (quoted in P. Tucker, Claude Monet: Life and Art, New Haven, 1995, p. 53). During the ensuing years, Monet rapidly consolidated the innovative formal vocabulary of Impressionism. Eschewing traditional modeling and laborious finish, he produced paintings with all the vitality and brio of sketches, their broken, transparent brushwork consciously signifying a fleeting moment before nature. As other progressive painters–Manet, Renoir, Sisley, and Caillebotte among them–joined Monet at Argenteuil, the town became the chief locus of the New Painting, with its daring subversion of long-standing Salon norms. When Monet moved to Argenteuil, it was a lively suburb of some eight thousand inhabitants, located on the right bank of the Seine just eleven kilometers west of the capital. Parisians knew it as an agréable petite ville, rapidly industrializing yet still postcard picturesque, and only fifteen minutes by rail from the Gare Saint-Lazare. The town was especially popular among leisure-seekers devoted to the newly fashionable sport of boating, since the Seine is deeper and broader here than anywhere else near Paris. From the mid-century onward, town leaders encouraged the development of Argenteuil as a sailing hub, permitting the establishment of mooring areas and boathouses along the banks and promoting the near-perfect conditions of the river among sports enthusiasts. The most stylish yacht club in Paris established its headquarters at Argenteuil, and the frequent sight of sailboats flying before the wind in regattas and fêtes nautiques attracted numerous spectators to its wooded banks. Although Monet explored a wide range of motifs during his years at Argenteuil, it was the river that provided him with the greatest wealth of pictorial enticements. Between 1872 and 1875, he created more than fifty paintings of this stretch of the Seine, focusing principally on three motifs: the boat rental area immediately downstream from the highway bridge; the wide basin of the river, with its sandy promenades; and the Petit Bras, a diversion of the Seine by the Île Marante where larger boats sometimes moored. Although they range in mood from reflective to high-spirited, these views all offered Monet the opportunity to paint essentially the same subject: a well-ordered, modern suburb where man and nature met in agreeable harmonies. \\\“Evocative and inviting, this is the suburban paradise that was sought after in the 1850s and 1860s but made all the more precious and desired after the disasters of 1870-1871,\\\” Paul Tucker has written, \\\“its calm the restorative balm for the nation as a whole\\\” (ibid., p. 61). Monet painted the present canvas during the late spring or summer of 1875, the year after the epoch-making First Impressionist Exhibition introduced the Salon-going public to the revolutionary, plein-air aesthetic and momentary, modern-life themes of the New Painting. On this particular day, beneath a cloud-streaked sky, he crossed the highway bridge from Argenteuil to the smaller village of Petit-Gennevilliers on the opposite bank of the Seine. He set up his easel on a relatively tranquil stretch of the river midway between the boat rental area and the boat basin, looking downstream toward neighboring Bézons. Twice in 1875, Monet depicted nearly the identical motif in mid-morning, when the sandy path in the foreground was dappled with golden light (Wildenstein, nos. 373 and 375; Christie\\\’s New York, 14 May 1997, Lot 20). Here, he captures a late afternoon effect instead, with the sun dipping low at the right and the light growing hazy. The overhanging tree branches are boldly silhouetted against the expansive sky, creating a dramatic contrast between light and dark zones in the painting. The small dock in the foreground of this scene is the same one that Monet and Renoir had depicted at close range the previous summer, working contentedly side-by-side as they had at La Grenouillère in the heady, formative years of Impressionism before the Franco-Prussian War (Wildenstein, no. 324; Dauberville, no. 126; Portland Art Museum). The dock appears as well in a view of this stretch of the Seine that Sisley painted during a visit with Monet in 1872 (Daulte, no. 30; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art). In the present painting, a bourgeois couple cautiously traverses the wooden mooring hand-in-hand, preparing to board a sailboat that waits at anchor, a canotier seated at the bow. A woman and child watch them from the grassy bank, while a third pair of figures stands together on the path, pausing mid-promenade to survey this appealing vista of leisurely, warm-weather sociability. Compositionally, the image is strikingly similar to Monet\\\’s glorious view of the main promenade at Argenteuil, painted during the first summer that he spent in the town (Wildenstein, no. 225; Musée d\\\’Orsay, Paris). \\\“Each element in the painting is painstakingly arranged and scrupulously rendered,\\\” Tucker has written about the Orsay canvas, \\\“underscoring Monet\\\’s powers as an artist and the humanly imposed rationale of the place\\\” (Impressionists at Argenteuil, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2000, p. 68). In both paintings, the towpath leads logically into the scene at the lower left, beckoning the viewer to enter this ideally constructed world. The masts of the sailboats that line the near bank in the present view punctuate the path\\\’s rapid recession into depth. The row of stately trees and the length of the river serve as counterbalancing triangular shapes, together with the path creating a pattern of interlocking parts, above which hangs a broad sky. In La berge du Petit-Gennevilliers, Monet has analyzed the various sections of the landscape through carefully differentiated zones of brushwork, heightening the sense of consummate order and emphasizing the variety of fugitive sensations that he experienced before the view. The arresting mass of dark foliage in the upper left, which serves as a repoussoir device to increase the illusion of depth in the painting, is rendered in small, dry touches of pigment through which the sky remains partially visible. More heavily loaded strokes describe the path and the damp grass at the water\\\’s edge. The afternoon sky, faintly tinged with gold and lilac beneath copious bands of cirrus, is rendered in long, loose strokes that conjure the effect of a swift breeze. Monet continued to revel in Argenteuil\\\’s suburban pleasures and pastimes through late 1875, but soon after his attitude toward the petite ville underwent a sea-change. A third iron works was set to open across the street from his house by that time, and plans were being made to bring a second railroad through town. Agrarian land was increasingly being converted for housing, and worst of all, pollution had begun to contaminate the Seine. The balance between the beauties of nature and the bounties of progress–the source of Argenteuil\\\’s appeal for Monet from the outset–had tipped too far to one side. Disheartened, the artist spent much of 1876 and 1877 away from home or sequestered within the walls of his own garden. In January 1878 he packed his bags for good, settling some sixty kilometers downriver in the remote hamlet of Vétheuil, as yet untouched by the encroachments of modernity. A new chapter in Impressionism had begun. Provenance Anon. sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 3 December 1910, lot 44. Alfred Strolin, Paris (acquired at the above sale); Estate sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 7 July 1921, lot 19. Prince Kojiro Matsukata, Paris and Tokyo. Jean Pacquement, Paris. Wildenstein & Co. Inc., New York. Colonel Daniel Sickles, Paris. Florence J. Gould, Cannes (acquired from the above, 1971); Estate sale, Sotheby's, New York, 24 April 1985, lot 43. Acquired at the above sale by the present owner. Pre-Lot Text PROPERTY OF A LADY Literature D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet, Biographie et catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1974, vol. 1, p. 274, no. 374 (illustrated). T. Yuzo, Kokuritsu Seiyo Bijutsukan Secchino Jokyo, Tokyo, 1989, vol. 3, list 1, no. 227. D. Wildenstein, Monet: Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1996, vol. II, p. 154, no. 374 (illustrated). Exhibited Paris, Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Tableaux de collections Parisiennes, 1850-1950, April-May 1955, no. 81 (titled Bords de la seine; with inverted dimensions). Tokyo, Seibu Gallery; Kyoto Municipal Museum and Fukuoka, Cultural Center, Claude Monet, March-July 1973, no. 10 (illustrated). Paris, Grand Palais, Hommage à Monet, February-May 1980, p. 131, no. 40 (illustrated).