1872 Impression Soleil Levant by Monet
The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1872 Le Berceau by Morisot
1872 Les Courses au Bois de Boulogne by Manet
2004 SOLD 26.3 M$ including premium by Sotheby's
narrated in 2020
Manet easily entered into artist circles. He enjoys social life and does not wait for the recognition of the Salons. His themes are unlimited. Before him, Courbet went already complacently up to the scandal. Baudelaire and then Zola recognize the originality of his approach.
On May 5, 2004, Sotheby's sold for $ 26.3M including premium Les Courses au Bois de Boulogne, oil on canvas 73 x 94 cm painted in 1872 by Manet, lot 13, from the collection of one of the most famous owners of racehorses, John Hay Whitney. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
The artist skillfully mixed observation and imitation. It seems that the topography of the Longchamp racecourse was painted on the spot.
Manet had demonstrated a few years earlier in his first bullfighting scenes that a direct participation in the event was not essential, since he could rely on Goya. Here the horses in full gallop all fly with their four legs lifted, as in the Epsom Derby painted by Géricault in 1821, acquired by the Louvre in 1866. The imperturbable position of the jockeys in full race is not realistic : the sporting effort was obviously not appreciated by Manet.
Manet's painting is however very modern. The track and the lawn are aquamarine blue, highlighting the contrasts in a freedom of colors that anticipates expressionism for several decades. The distance of the subjects is marked by an increasing blur, as if it were a photograph focused on the action in progress in the foreground. This artifice provides the whole composition with an effect of depth, different from the solutions sought by his impressionist friends.
1873 Railway Bridge at Argenteuil by Monet
2008 SOLD for $ 41.5M including premium by Christie's
narrated in 2020
Monet is one of the very first artists to take an interest in the railway as a symbol of modern life. The train comfortably carries the boaters, and its smoke enlivens the landscape. Until his series of views of the Gare Saint-Lazare in 1877, the artist expresses his enthusiasm for this new industry.
Le Pont du chemin de fer à Argenteuil is an oil on canvas 60 x 98 cm painted in 1873. The bridge mounted on four pairs of pillars goes through the image over its entire length. Two trains are crossing one another, one of them being mostly noticeable by the smoke of its locomotive in the blue summer sky. Two small sailboats pass under the bridge, and two men on the quay look peacefully at the river.
The bridge is the main theme of the picture thanks to the absence of details on the two banks. It is the only view in which Monet uses this specific bridge as a symbol of modernism. In the following year his paintings on the same site are to study the variation of light.
Le Pont du chemin de fer à Argenteuil was sold for $ 41.5M including premium by Christie's on May 6, 2008, lot 21. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
Renoir put his easel at the same place, probably side by side with his friend. Compared to the clarity of Monet's drawing, this sketch by Renoir is too tormented and not spacious enough. One year before the first impressionist exhibition, Monet appears here as a master of the expression of modern life in a classic style.
Le Grand Canal à Venise by Manet
2022 SOLD for $ 52M by Christie's
Venice was another influence to Manet. In a first visit in 1853 while he was a student, he had admired Titian's Venus of Urbino that directly inspired his own Olympia in 1863.
Manet made his second visit to Venice in the fall of 1874. During his one month stay, he disregarded the monuments for appreciating the details that brought that amazing atmosphere to the city. He had spent the previous summer in his family home in Gennevilliers in the vicinity of Monet's Argenteuil and both artists had worked side by side and shared thoughts.
Manet painted only two views during that trip, both of the Gran Canale. Their unprecedented style to represent Venice certainly influenced Monet's views of the canal 34 years later.
Le Grand Canal à Venise, oil on canvas 58 x 48 cm, is a daring composition that could please Degas. The focusing point is a misaligned group of humble masts whose blue and white stripes make a bright contrast over the rest of the scenery including a half hidden soft pink Santa Maria della Salute. He added a cropped gondola at both sides of the picture. The reflections in the rippling water are inspired by Monet's views of the Seine.
It was sold for $ 52M by Christie's on November 9, 2022, lot 27. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1874 Le Bassin d'Argenteuil by Monet
2021 SOLD for $ 28M by Christie's
Monet takes many views in Argenteuil from his new process of outdoor painting to which he adds the use of a bespoke studio boat. He keeps in touch on the site with the other avant-garde painters including Manet, Renoir and soon Caillebotte.
On November 11, 2021, Christie's sold for $ 28M from a lower estimate of $ 15M Le Bassin d'Argenteuil, oil on canvas 54 x 73 cm painted in late spring or summer 1874 in the wake of the first Impressionist exhibition, lot 15C. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
In a pleasant weather, there is busy boating on the river. White sails provide a striking contrast. A bearded man and his wife are standing on the jetty. The interplay of glowing colors in thick brush strokes is superseding lines and sharpness for sharing a sensation of quiet leisure.
#AuctionUpdate: 'Le bassin d'Argenteuil' by Claude Monet (1840-1926) achieved $27,840,000 at auction. Painted in 1874, the year of the landmark First Impressionist Exhibition, 'Le bassin d'Argenteuil' is a quintessential landscape of modernity in form and in subject.⠀ pic.twitter.com/TG8kKHSxmA— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) November 12, 2021
1876 Bal du Moulin de la Galette by RENOIR
Their temperaments are different. They are young and tempted by the good life of dancing balls. While Monet is overtaken by his wife, Renoir expresses the carefree joie de vivre of the groups to which he applies the impressionist style. Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette in 1876 and Le Déjeuner des Canotiers, exhibited in 1882, are among the most important masterpieces of painting.
Renoir painted two identical versions of the Moulin de la Galette. The largest, 131 x 175 cm, became the property of the French State through the Caillebotte bequest and is currently at the Musée d'Orsay. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1990 SOLD for $ 78 M by Sotheby's
The buyer was a Japanese collector named Ryoei Saito, who had acquired the Portrait of Dr Gachet by Van Gogh two days earlier at Christies for $ 82M. Saito creates some terror in the art world by announcing that at his death he will be cremated with the two paintings to avoid that enormous inheritance rights are required to his heirs.
Saito died in 1996. His threat was not carried out because his wealth had turned down and the artworks were sequestered by his creditors, but the two paintings were never seen again. The Van Gogh was reportedly located in 2007 in the collection of an Austrian financier who has since gone bankrupt.
1876 Jeune Homme à sa Fenêtre by Caillebotte
2021 SOLD for $ 53M by Christie's
The young artists were innovating in the brush stroke, but also in the themes. Monet managed to display some instantaneous views of daily realism that went against the expectations of the official Salons. Un Coin d'appartement, painted by Monet in 1875, was acquired by Caillebotte whom it certainly deeply influenced.
In 1876 Caillebotte is invited to participate in the Seconde exposition des peintres impressionnistes. He hangs eight paintings including his masterpiece Les Raboteurs de parquet that does not feature the bourgeois but an instantaneous of three workers preparing the floor in a bourgeois apartment. This picture had of course been refused by the Salon for its ordinary theme in the previous year.
Another scene exhibited by Caillebotte at the Seconde exposition is Jeune Homme à sa fenêtre, mingling the keen interests of the artist for his family and for the bourgeois comfort of the districts recently rebuilt by Haussmann. It features his younger brother René from back, standing at the balcony of the family's apartment to have a look towards the rue de Miromesnil and its sparse pedestrians.
This oil on canvas 116 x 81 cm painted in 1876 was sold for $ 53M by Christie's on November 11, 2021, lot 23C. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
The sun bathed rue de Miromesnil is rendered here in a highly realistic brush stroke. Now entered in the Impressionniste group, Caillebotte will then keenly use their style of painting and be instrumental in promoting their exhibitions.
L'Homme au balcon boulevard Haussmann, oil on canvas 117 x 90 cm painted in 1880, is a similar composition from an elevated point executed with an impressionist brushstroke in the trees. It has been sold for $ 14.3M by Christie's on May 8, 2000, lot 8.
1877 The Great Station of Modernism
2018 SOLD for £ 25M including premium
Argenteuil decidedly does not inspire him any more. Just back from Montgeron he left for Paris with an authorization from the railway administration to work inside the Gare Saint-Lazare.
From January to March 1877 he made a sort of report composed of twelve artworks, four inside the station and eight outside, in varied weather conditions. A passer-by narrated that he saw Claude Monet perched on a stack of crates with his brush in his hand, feverishly waiting for the ambient light to match his expectations.
The choice of this theme is unexpected for this artist but is certainly not a self attempt to be disgusted from the smokes of the city. A better hypothesis is that Monet considered himself as a leader of the new outdoor painting and did not want to be overcome by the urban pictures of Caillebotte and Manet.
Indeed when the third exhibition of the Impressionnistes opened in April 1877 his Saint-Lazare series was already completed and it featured prominently in his selection. The rejection of modernist themes by Monet comes one year later when Camille fails to recover from a child birth. Life and work in the countryside become indispensable for Monet and his family. His Gares Saint-Lazare will remain forever an unparalleled set.
On May 8, 2018 Christie's sold for $ 33M including premium the only sunny image of the group, 61 x 81 cm.
On June 20 in London, Christie's sells another outdoor view, oil on canvas of the same size, lot 25 B estimated £ 22M. The foreground is intentionally empty to draw a better attention to the background where the thick steam from the trains mingle in a cloudy sky. The two locomotives and the tall arches of the glass roofs of the station provide the illusion of a picturesque instantaneous.
The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1877 The Ultimate Train of Claude Monet
2018 SOLD for $ 33M including premium
In January 1877 Monet spends a few days in Paris for a series on the Gare Saint-Lazare, one of the best symbols of modernism. He paints twelve canvases showing the interior with the platforms or the outside with trains coming or leaving. The result of this creativity is significant. The nauseating smoke of trains mingles with a heavily loaded sky and makes you want to run away.
Only one of the twelve paintings, 61 x 81 cm, escapes this pessimism thanks to a bright sunshine. The view is taken towards the double tunnel of the Batignolles. On the left the smoke is a fairly sharp cone. On the right the train has not yet come out and its smoke is diffused in all directions in the square, creating a veil in the atmosphere of clear weather.
In the best tradition of early Impressionnisme, this painting offers an ambience through which we can almost perceive heat and smell. Rockefeller did not make a mistake when he bought it. He liked this artwork very much while noting that the asking price had seemed high. It is for sale by Christie's in New York on May 8, lot 26.
This series marks a decisive turning point in Claude Monet's career. For the very last time he had tried to illustrate the progress. For nearly half a century he will stubbornly devote to landscapes, to monuments and to his garden.
The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1878-1879 Self Portrait by MANET
2010 SOLD for £ 22.4M by Sotheby's
Manet is not a rapin. This colloquial term used in Paris at that time applied to partygoer artists who courted easy milliners who were known as grisettes. Instead, his elegant jacket and hat, and his full and forked beard provided the image of a grand bourgeois.
The oil on canvas 85 x 71 cm reinforces the quest for respectability by including the professional attributes of the artist: his brushes and palette. There is however an obstacle to the social success of Manet : he stares into space, sadly. Aged 47, he is already sick.
Manet is often classified among the Impressionists, whom he was one of the first to support. He was rather a great experimenter of the artistic language, and each of his paintings is a bit unique. This one is among the most prestigious. It was sold for £ 22.4M on June 22, 2010 by Sotheby's. The image is shared by Wikimedia :
Bridgestone Museum, Tokyo
1879 Danseuse au Repos, pastel by Degas
2008 SOLD 37 M$ including premium by Sotheby's
narrated in 2020
The "petits rats" are of great interest to him. These very young women do not have that need for sexual activity which masks the psychological authenticity of the prostitutes. Their lives are exhausting, in training and on stage, but the glory may reward their efforts.
Degas did not rule out any technique. In 1875 he was seduced by the use of pastel enhanced with gouache on paper. Unlike oil and watercolor, this opaque material very easily allows the many reworks desired by the artist throughout the execution of an artwork.
In 1880 at the 5th impressionist exhibition, Degas displays a pastel and gouache 46 x 67 cm titled Deux danseuses, probably made in 1879. After an exhausting exercise, two ballerinas in tutu are seated side by side on a bench. They ignore each other, only trying to catch their breath, the body leaning forward.
The artist painted in the same technique another work, 59 x 64 cm, titled Danseuse au repos. It was sold for $ 37M including premium by Sotheby's on November 3, 2008, lot 14.
The girl on the right side in Deux Danseuses is in exactly the same attitude as before, with the left hand massaging the painful ankle and the other hand resting on the other knee. With her frail limbs and her upturned nose, this young woman has a resemblance to Marie, the model of the sculpture titled Petite danseuse de quatorze ans made by Degas around the same time. In a bold composition as Degas liked, her partner is almost entirely out of field