Les Peupliers, like Les Meules in 1890-1891 and Les Cathédrales de Rouen completed in 1894, address all the hours of the day, offering too much 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 at the confluence of the Epte and the Seine rivers, paints 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 panoramic but others are square, which is bold for a landscape.
He has no luck. 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 $ 5.7M including premium by Sotheby's in New York on November 9, 2000. It returns at the same venue on May 14, lot 15 estimated $ 18M. 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 on which the sun rays are just reaching the trees in the background, also 89 x 92 cm, was sold for $ 23.4M including premium by Christie's on November 13, 2017.
Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
SOLD for $ 20.5M including premium