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Le Jardin de Vétheuil
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Le Jardin de Vétheuil
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About the item

This work has been requested for the forthcoming exhibition Painting the Modern Garden: From Monet to Matisse, which will be shown at the Cleveland Museum of Art from 10 October 2015 to 3 January 2016 and at the Royal Academy in London from 30 January to 17 April 2017.   Le Jardin de Vétheuil depicts Monet's house and garden at Vétheuil, a small village situated beside the Seine, where the artist and his family lived from September 1878 until December 1881. This picturesque location had been the site of some of Monet's most successful Impressionist landscapes of the late 1870s, and continued to fascinate him well into his later career. The natural beauty of the region was of great appeal, as was the impressive Medieval architecture that could be seen from many points in the surrounding area. Of particular interest to him were the rigid shapes of buildings, most noticeably that of the imposing 10th century church of Notre Dame de Vétheuil, juxtaposed against the patchwork of the landscape. In 1878, and again in 1901, Monet executed a number of iconic views of Vétheuil, showing the village as seen from across the river, with the fragmented reflection of the church and its environs appearing in the ripples of water.\n\nLe Jardin de Vétheuil was followed by a series of six oils Monet executed in 1881 on this subject (D. Wildenstein, nos. 680-685). The present work, however, is the only horizontal composition from this group. In some of the other versions, Monet depicted Alice Hoschedé reading in the garden, or children scattered on the stairs leading up to the house. Discussing this group of works, Virginia Spate wrote: "This was the first time he had painted the Vétheuil garden, although Taboureux who visited him in 1880 found it sufficiently remarkable to comment on his use of masses of 'natural flowers' [...] There is no hint of the world beyond the garden; no indication that the family house is separated from the garden by the main road into Vétheuil, and despite the sensuous profusion of the flowers, every form is locked into place by the vertical axes of the house, the steps and the path which leads to the space in which the painter must have stood" (V. Spate, The Colour of Time: Claude Monet, London, 1992, pp. 144 & 148).\n\nThe present work was probably executed during the spring of 1881 and its bright, lively palette of yellow, blue and green tones beautifully renders the atmosphere of a bright sunny day. The composition is dominated by the lavishly painted lawns and flowerbeds, framed by the large tree to the left. The path leads the viewer's eye from the bottom right corner towards the center of the canvas, and up the steep steps towards Monet's house. In his landscapes painted at this time, Monet often experimented with the high horizon line, executing a number of paintings dominated by wild vegetation, with only a small portion of the canvas opening up to the landscape in the distance. In the present work, he eliminated the sky altogether, choosing instead to focus on the lushness of nature, and compositionally this represented a drastic shift from the open expanses of water and sky of the landscapes painted from his bateau atelier.\n\nChristoph Becker wrote about Monet's garden paintings of 1881: "That year Monet's garden also flourished magnificently. Anyone going to the garden had to cross the road and go through a gate at the top of a flight of stone steps leading down to a grassy area. On either side of the steps there were several rows of sunflowers which had shot up in June. On the lower steps and on the grass were the already familiar six large, blue-patterned plant-pots, densely planted with red gladioli [...] The advantage of having one's own garden was that a motif could be arranged for the purpose of painting, in a carefully planned natural setting, and right by where the artist lived. When a journalist asked if he might enter Monet's studio in Vétheuil, Monet was immediately indignant: 'My studio! But I've never had one, and I don't understand how anyone could shut themselves into a room"' (C. Becker, Monet's Garden (exhibition catalogue), Kunsthaus, Zurich, 2004-05, p. 39). Indeed, the present work is a superb example of Monet's paintings executed en plein air, showing his delight at depicting nature in all its splendor.\nSigned Claude Monet and dated 1881 (lower left)
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NY, US
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notes

This work has been requested for the forthcoming exhibition "Painting the Modern Garden: From Monet to Matisse," which will be shown at the Cleveland Museum of Art from 10 October 2015 to 3 January 2016 and at the Royal Academy in London from 30 January to 17 April 2017.

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Claude Monet

condition

Very good condition. The canvas is lined. There are some very small spots of retouching in the upper and lower right corners, and one very minor spot on the left edge, corresponding to some pigment loss, visible under ultra-violet light. There is a tiny loss in the centre of the left edge. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

dimensions

23 1/2 by 29 1/4 in.

exhibition

Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir et Sisley, 1899, no. 13 Tokyo, Bridgestone Museum of Art; Nagoya, City Art Museum & Hiroshima, Museum of Art, Monet: A Retrospective, 1994, no. 32, illustrated in color in the catalogue Treviso, Casa dei Carraresi, Monet: I luoghi della pittura, 2001-02, illustrated in color in the catalogue Edinburgh, National Gallery & Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Impressionist Gardens, 2010-11, no. 30, illustrated in color in the catalogue Martigny, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Claude Monet, 2011, no. 23, illustrated in color in the catalogue

literature

Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet. Biographie et catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1974, vol. I, no. 666, illustrated p. 401 Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet. Catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1991, vol. V, mentioned p. 36 Daniel Wildenstein, Monet. Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1996, vol. II, no. 666, illustrated in color p. 251 David Joel, Monet at Vétheuil and on the Norman Coast 1878-1883, Woodbridge, 2002, illustrated in color p. 126

provenance

Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (probably acquired from the artist in April 1881) Galerie Paul Cassirer, Berlin (acquired from the above in February 1901) Hugo Stahl, Berlin Steinreich Collection, New York Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York (acquired by April 1945) Mrs Robert Winthrop, New York (acquired from the above in March 1946) Sale: Christie's, New York, 15th May 1990, lot 10 Private Collection, Japan (by 1994) Sale: Christie's, New York, 12th May 1999, lot 11 Private Collection (acquired at the above sale) Connaught Brown, London Acquired from the above in 2009 by the present owner

signedDate

Signed Claude Monet and dated 1881 (lower left)

time_period

Painted in 1881.

consignmentDesignation

Property from an Important Private European Collection

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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