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Le Grand Canal
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Le Grand Canal
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Le Grand Canal

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About the item

Monet and his wife Alice traveled to Venice for the first time in the autumn of 1908 at the invitation of Mary Young Hunter, a wealthy American who had been introduced to the Monets by John Singer Sargent. They arrived on October 1 and spent two weeks as her guest at the Palazzo Barbaro before moving to the Grand Hotel Britannia on the Grand Canal where they stayed until their departure on December 7. Initially reluctant to leave his house and garden at Giverny, Monet must have sensed that the architectural splendors of Venice in their watery environment would present new and formidable challenges. His first days in Venice seemed only to confirm his initial fears but after several days of his customary discouragement, he commenced work on October 7. In his study of Monet's work and the Mediterranean, Joachim Pissarro has given a detailed account of Monet's working schedule while he was in Venice:\n\n“After so much procrastination, Monet soon adopted a rigorous schedule in Venice. Alice’s description of his work day establishes that from the very inception of his Venetian campaign, Monet organized his time and conceived of the seriality of his work very differently from his previous projects. In Venice, Monet divided his daily schedule into periods of approximately two hours, undertaken at the same time every day and on the same given motif. Unlike his usual methods of charting the changes of time and light as the course of the day would progress, here Monet was interested in painting his different motifs under exactly the same conditions. One could say that he had a fixed appointment with his motifs at the same time each day. The implication of this decision is very simple; for Monet in Venice, time was not to be one of the factors of variations for his motifs. Rather, it was the 'air', or what he called 'the envelope' – the surrounding atmospheric conditions, the famous Venetian haze – that became the principal factor of variation with these motifs” (Joachim Pissarro, Monet and the Mediterranean, New York, 1977, p. 50).\n\nDuring the course of his stay Monet painted thirty-seven canvases of Venetian subjects, six of which are variations on the theme of Santa Maria della Salute seen from the steps of the Palazzo Barbaro, [“one of the key symbols of the Venice series” (Pissarro, op.cit., p.50)] where he set up his easel during the first half of October. Joachim Pissarro describes this group of canvases as “unquestionably one of Monet’s most systematic series. The six canvases are almost exactly the same dimensions; the layout of the motif is virtually identical in all, and each of the canvases was painted at the same time of day, probably in the afternoon. The fact that Monet chose to represent the tide changes that cover and uncover the steps of the Palazzo Barbaro-Curtis is not incidental: Monet deliberately emphasizes that we are on the sea ('his element'), not on fresh water. Establishing in advance the conditions of observation and the context of his experimentation, Monet used Venice as another pictorial laboratory, gauging changes in the 'envelope' (the indefinable Venetian 'haze') under identical circumstances. These are two typically Venetian effects that animate these views of Santa Maria della Salute: the filtering haze either heightens the colors of the prism, almost setting them alight, or, on the contrary, it dampens them and unites them in a sort of muffled monotonous harmony” (ibid., p. 72).\n\nOn December 19, 1908, a few days after Monet’s return to Paris, Bernheim-Jeune acquired twenty-eight of the thirty-seven views of Venice although Monet kept the pictures in his studio until 1912 to give them their finishing touches. After the death of Alice in 1911, Monet finally agreed on a date for the exhibition at Bernheim-Jeune. Claude Monet “Venise” opened on May 28, 1912 and was greeted with considerable critical acclaim, not least by Gustave Geffroy who viewed the Venetian canvases as one of Monet’s greatest achievements.\nThe following are the six canvases that Monet painted of Le Grand Canal:\nVenise, Le Grand Canal, (Wildenstein 1736- The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor)\nLe Grand Canal (Wildenstein 1737- formerly British Rail Pension Fund; sold at Sotheby’s London, April 4, 1989, lot 12)\nLe Grand Canal (Wildenstein 1738- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)\nLe Grand Canal (Wildenstein 1739- The present picture)\nLe Grand Canal et Santa Maria della Salute (Wildenstein 1740- sold at Sotheby's, New York, May 11, 1994, lot 12)\nLe Grand Canal (Wildenstein 1741- sold at Sotheby’s, New York, May 13, 1998, lot 18)\n\nFig. 1, Photograph of Claude and Alice Monet with the pigeons in St Mark's Square in Venice, formerly in the photograph collection of Jean-Pierre Hoschedé\nCOMP: 198NY8125\nFig. 2, Photograph of View of the Grand Canal\nCOMP: 199NY8125\nFig. 3, Claude Monet, Venise, Le Grand Canal, 1908, oil on canvas, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco\nCOMP: 200NY8125\nFig. 4, Claude Monet, Le Grand Canal, 1908, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston\nCOMP: 201NY8125\nSigned and dated Claude Monet 1908 (lower right)
US
NY, US
US

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Claude Monet

dimensions

28 3/4 by 36 1/4 in.

exhibition

Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Monet, Venise, 1912, no. 4 Paris, Galerie Manzi-Joyant, Art Moderne, 1913, no. 71 Saint Petersburg, Florida, Museum of Fine Arts, circa 1979 (on loan) Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum; London, Royal Academy of Art, Monet and the Mediterranean, 1997, no. 78 (not exhibited in London) London, Royal Academy of Arts, Boston, Museum of Fine Art,  Monet in the 20th Century, 1999, no. 49 (not exhibited in Boston)

literature

Arsène Alexandre, "La vie artistique, Claude Monet et Venise", Le Figaro, Paris, May 29, 1912, p.4 Gustave Geffroy, "La Venise de Claude Monet," La Dépêche, Paris, May 30, 1912, p.1 H. Genet, "Beaux-Arts et Curiosité. Les ‘Venises’ de Claude Monet", L’Opinion, Paris, June 1, 1912, p.698 G. Lecomte, "Un radieux poème à la gloire de Venise…", Le Matin, Paris, June 3, 1912, p.6 A.  Michel, "Promenade aux Salons", Journal des Débats, Paris, June 5, 1912, p.1 "Art et Curiosité. Venise vue par Claude Monet", Le Temps, Paris, June 11, 1912 "Vision d’art. Venise par Claude Monet",  Le Gaulois, Paris, June 14, 1912, p.1 Gustave Geffroy, Claude Monet, sa vie, son temps, son oeuvre, Paris, 1922, discussed pp. 317-318 Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet, Biographie et catalogue raisonné, vol. IV, Paris and Lausanne, 1985, no. 1739, illustrated p. 233; letter no.2012a, p. 385;  documentation nos. 240 and 241, p. 430 Philippe Piquet, Monet et Venise, Paris, 1986, no. 2, illustrated Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet, Biographie et catalogue raisonné, vol. V, Paris and Lausanne, 1991, no. 1739, listed p. 53 Paul Hayes Tucker, Claude Monet, Life and Art, New Haven and London, 1995, illustrated p. 200 Daniel Wildenstein, Monet, catalogue raisonné, vol. IV, Cologne, 1996, no. 1739, illustrated p. 810

provenance

Galerie Bernheim-Jeune and Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (purchased jointly from the artist, May 1912) Durand-Ruel, New York Hunt Henderson, New Orleans (acquired from the above on October 1913) Private Collection (by descent from the above and sold: Sotheby’s, New York, November 15, 1989, lot 23) Private Collection (acquired at the above sale)

signedDate

Signed and dated Claude Monet 1908 (lower right)

consignmentDesignation

Property from a Private Collector

creator_nationality_dates

1840 - 1926


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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