Monet arrives in Venice on October 1, 1908. He stays there for two and a half months, with his canvases, palettes and colors. The challenge is immense : all artists have loved Venice. The interpretation of the sun through the mist has already been made, by Turner in 1841. Monet will focus on the reflections of sky and stones in the lapping of the canals and of the lagoon.
The view of the Palazzo Contarini, sold for £ 19.7M including premium by Sotheby's on June 19, 2013, painted at the beginning of his session, is interesting by its false awkwardness. The composition strictly divided into two equal areas for monument and canal, and without horizon, would repel a buyer of postcards. The attention is all the more stirred to the beauty of the textures and to the multicolored reflections.
Now sure of the quality of his art, Monet emboldens himself to compose topographical views of the greatest classicism. Two almost identical close views of the Palazzo Ducale confirm that the artist is more interested in the special atmosphere of Venice, which he calls the "enveloppe", than in the variations over the hours.
One of them, 81 x 99 cm, is kept at the Brooklyn Museum. The other one, 81 x 93 cm, is estimated £ 20M for sale by Sotheby's in London on February 26, lot 6.
When Monet returns home, he sells to Bernheim-Jeune most of his views of Venice. He continues to finish them until their triumphal exhibition in 1912. After the exhibition he further modifies one of the views of the Ducal Palace, in search of the perfect rendering of his artistic conceptions.
The painting that goes on sale is probably the artwork that was improved in 1912 or 1913. The balance of shades is very successful, without a dominant color although the details of the palette are bright. The texture of the surface of the water is of a great regularity. The majestic palace appears blurry, as de-focused : it was not the major theme of the image.
Please watch the videos shared by Sotheby's.
SOLD for £ 27.5M including premium