From Vétheuil to Giverny
See also : Monet France Landscape
Chronology : 19th century 1888 1890-1899 1890 1892
1881 Alice au Jardin
2014 SOLD for $ 34M by Sotheby's
In 1881 he features Alice in the garden of Vétheuil. He remembers the time when the white dress of Camille was expressing purity. Alice is quietly sewing in a rich surrounding of foliage. The sunlight filtering through a large tree provides a continuity in texture between the green and the woman in light blue.
This oil on canvas 81 x 65 cm was sold for $ 34M from a lower estimate of $ 25M by Sotheby's on November 4, 2014, lot 29.
That year marks the peak and the end of the first impressionist period of Monet. He is watched by scandal when he can no longer hide his affair with Alice, a married woman. In the following year, his long lonesome trip in Normandy makes him wish to express the variations of light in the landscape at various times of the day.
Claude married Alice in 1892, after the death of Hoschedé.
1888 Le Moulin de Limetz
2023 SOLD for $ 25.6M by Sotheby's
In 1888 Monet executed two similar paintings in oil on canvas 92 x 73 cm of the mill of Limetz, differentiated by the colors, probably executed simultaneously in Summer. The artist desired to express the dense foliage of the willow tree beside the rippling water, while the downsized mill blurred by the Impressionist touch is hardly visible. Monet's nature is made of light, air and water.
One of them, painted in a green and yellow palette, is kept at the Nelson-Atkins museum.
The other view of the Moulin de Limetz is luminous with bursts of red within a symphony of greens, purples and pinks. It was sold for $ 25.6M from a lower estimate of $ 12M by Sotheby's on November 13, 2023, lot 13. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
He had been very active throughout that period. His paintings of the Gare St Lazare in 1877 constituted a series that displayed the variations in color depending on the intensity of sunlight and on the thickness of smoke from the trains. His solitary travel in Normandy in 1882 for comforting after the death of Camille is very important : Monet demonstrates to himself that lighting is better than topography for expressing a mood.
1890 W1273 Meules
2019 SOLD for $ 110M by Sotheby's
Monet loves this theme that is typical of country life without the need to add humans or birds. He begins at the end of summer 1890 with five landscapes in which two haystacks are distant from each other.
According to the sequence established by Wildenstein, the next sub-series is composed of two oil paintings on canvas 73 x 93 cm executed during the autumn of 1890. The alignment of two haystacks leads to the tall trees on the horizon, against the light in the last rays of sunset. For the first time the rest of the image is minimized. The predominance of the expression of colors over theme and form opens the way to modern art.
The second of these pictures, W1273, goes even further by managing to avoid the shadows of the two stacks. All that remains is the light that plays with the contours of stacks and trees and reveals the shimmering colors of the field. It was dated 1891 by the artist, certainly by reference to the year of the first public exhibition of the series, in the gallery of Durand-Ruel.
W1273 was sold for $ 110M from a lower estimate of $ 55M by Sotheby's on May 14, 2019, lot 8. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
An enduring symbol of Impressionism from Claude Monet's iconic Haystacks series will lead an important private collection of 8 Impressionist works on offer in #SothebysImpMod Evening Sale on 14 May in #NYC. Learn more: https://t.co/B4xVl8QWFA pic.twitter.com/SMDorfOowE— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) March 15, 2019
1891 W1290 Meule
2016 SOLD for $ 81M by Christie's
Three of them have been specifically grouped as a ultimate achievement of the Meules in the catalogue raisonné prepared by Daniel Wildenstein. Only one stack is visible in front of a retracted landscape. It is truncated either from top or from one side. The color emotion is not challenged by that figurative feature reduced to nothing more than a bulky triangle. In 1896, in front of one of these paintings, Kandinsky was dazzled.
Another Meule from that group of three, oil on canvas 73 x 92 cm painted in 1891, reference Wildenstein 1290 pictured at sunset, was sold for $ 12M by Sotheby's on May 11 1999 and for $ 81M by Christie's on November 16, 2016, lot 9 B. Please watch the video shared by Christie's. The image below is shared by Wikimedia.
1891 Peupliers au Bord de l'Epte
2011 SOLD for $ 22.5M by Christie's
The artist created a first series of thirteen paintings, viewed from one single point angled to the left from the other bank of the river or from his bateau atelier. He was working on all these canvases in parallel, changing the palette for the whole variety of light through the trees.
His working day was punctiliously managed without fancy, as he will do in London in the next decade. He was often accompanied by his stepdaughter Blanche Hoschedé. The canvases were carried in wheelbarrow from his home two kilometers away.
The tall trees of the nearer row are reflected in the foreground water. The decorative pattern of their regularly spaced vertical trunks was possibly influenced by Japanese woodcuts. The banality of the horizon made suitable the vertical format for this scenery viewed upwards.
The largest opus from that set, oil on canvas 117 x 73 cm, was sold for $ 22.5M by Christie's on May 4, 2011, lot 16. It is in its original condition, having never been varnished.
2022 SOLD for $ 36.5M by Christie's
During summer Monet had to purchase temporarily these fully grown trees for avoiding their falling before he completed his series.
Peupliers au bord de l'Epte, automne, oil on canvas 100 x 66 cm painted in 1891, was sold for $ 36.5M by Christie's on May 12, 2022, lot 11C. The image is shared by Wikimedia. This piece displays the beautiful reddish gold of the autumn leaves.
After this exciting self training, the artist was ready for his systematic study of light effects on the cathedral of Rouen which amazed all art lovers in 1892.
Temps Couvert W1299
2023 SOLD for $ 31M by Sotheby's
1892 Le Portail (Soleil)
2000 SOLD for $ 24M by Sotheby's
Monet dedicates most of 1892 to the facade of the Cathédrale de Rouen. He will rework his paintings in the meantime between his visits and afterward until 1894. He selected his 20 preferred opuses for an exhibition by Durand-Ruel in 1895.
In his first visit in Rouen, he takes two views from the street. The rest will not be a homogeneous series but four sub-series successively taken from the window of different apartments or shops.
The artist is demanding. For Le portail vu de face, only one painting was completed. An unfinished Etude, oil on canvas 92 x 73 cm, was sold for $ 1M by Christie's on May 9, 2001, lot 2.
The next stay is a great demonstrator of the new conception of the series. The subject is the changing light on the stone of the portal from midday to twilight, with only a limited area left to the sky. Le Portail (Soleil), oil on canvas 100 x 65 cm, is arguably the most luminous of the series beside the other example kept at the Met. It was sold for $ 24M by Sotheby's on May 10, 2000, lot 15. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
From the next sub-series, Le Portail (Plein Soleil), oil on canvas 106 x 73 cm dated 1894 after completion by the artist, was sold for £ 7.6M by Christie's on June 26, 1995, lot 10.
1893 Les Glaçons, Bennecourt
2017 SOLD for $ 23.4M by Sotheby's
In January 1893 Monet is working outdoors at Bennecourt, not far away from Giverny, and watches the ice blocks drifting on the Seine river. He prepares his series carefully until the thaw before finishing the paintings in his studio according to his usual practice. Very similar at first sight, these artworks display significant variations of the atmosphere.
The view numbered 1337 by Wildenstein is titled Glaçons, Effet blanc. The artist shares the chilly mist of that winter which he likes so much. This oil on canvas 65 x 100 cm was sold for $ 16M by Sotheby's on November 6, 2013.
On November 14, 2017, Sotheby's sold for $ 23.4M the Wildenstein 1336, lot 25. In the same size as the 1337, it is colored by an attenuated sunlight. The thaw is less advanced and the ice blocks closer to the observer define the water plane above the reflections of the tall trees.
The art of Claude Monet is a continuous progress. 1336 anticipates the magics of the Nymphéas plane marking the surface of the pond that will occupy him from 1905 to 1919.
Please watch the video in which Sotheby's also shows another landscape coming at the same auction sale.
1897 Matinée sur la Seine W1484
2017 SOLD for $ 23.4 by Christie's
Les Peupliers, like Les Meules in 1890-1891 and Les Cathédrales de Rouen completed in 1894, address all the hours of the day, offering contrasts between the paintings of the series. The success of these three sets is considerable with the public but the aesthetic result cannot fully satisfy the demanding artist.
During the summer of 1896 Monet gets up every day at 3:30am, operates up to 14 canvases in parallel with the help of an assistant always at the same place in an anchored punt at the confluence of the Epte and the Seine rivers, paints in contre-jour the mists when they dissipate at sunrise and leaves for the rest of the day. The title of the series is Matinée sur la Seine.
Some paintings are slightly panoramic but others are square, which is bold for a landscape. The angle of the views is invariable. Most of the scenery is still in the shadow while the sky is already bright.
He has no luck with weather in that first year. Summer and the beginning of autumn are very rainy. He finishes only four paintings at the end of this season. One of them, 89 x 92 cm, was sold for $ 20.5M by Sotheby's on May 14, 2018, lot 15. Please watch the video shared by the auction house. The poor weather brings soft contrasts without saturating the shadows.
Monet returned to the same river bank in 1897 without changing anything in his creative process from the previous year, bringing the total of the Matinées to 22 paintings. One of them is dated 1898.
An example on which the sun rays are just reaching the trees in the background, also 89 x 92 cm, was sold for $ 23.4M from a lower estimate of $ 15M by Christie's on November 13, 2017, lot 26A. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
temps net W1480
2024 for sale on March 7 by Christie's
It is estimated £ 12M for sale by Christie's on March 7, 2024, lot 15. Please watch the video shared by the auction house. The image is shared by Wikimedia.