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MAISON DU JARDINIER or BORDIGHERA, LA MÉDITERRANÉE
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About the item

Throughout his life, Monet was an indefatigable traveller, always searching for new environments that would nourish his inspiration. Voyaging more than most of his fellow Impressionists, he painted in numerous regions across France, as well as in London, Venice, Holland and Norway. Nowhere, however, did he find such a dazzling quality of light as on the Mediterranean coast of Italy. Having accompanied his friend Pierre-Auguste Renoir on a short trip to the Italian Riviera in 1883, he returned to the region alone soon afterwards. Monet spent the largest part of his journey in the town of Bordighera (fig. 1), on the northwest coast of Italy, staying there for about ten weeks, during which time he worked with great energy, producing over thirty landscapes. The painter's delight with this region is reflected in the rich, luminous palette and free brushwork of the present work.\n\nWriting about Monet's painting in this region, Joachim Pissarro commented: 'Monet's decision to paint by the Mediterranean in 1884 was bound to an inner strategy: his art was a constant search for shatteringly new pictorial motifs. From Bordighera to Venice, Monet sought visual contact with landscapes and views that possessed a sense of strangeness, unfamiliarity, and unpredictable multifariousness. As the artist himself explained, he was searching for a type of nature that would be 'even crazier than his art.' Before the beauty of the Mediterranean coast, Monet saw only new visual elements that he had to dominate. To him, Mediterranean was anything but a vacation. It was a major challenge, even an obsession, and one fraught with considerable difficulties. In the end, it introduced deep and significant changes into his art' (J. Pissarro in Monet and the Mediterranean (exhibition catalogue), Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 1997, p. 15).\n\nFascinated by the unique quality of light he found in this region, as well as with its exuberant, exotic nature, Monet painted there some of the most powerful and innovative works of his career. During his stay in Bordighera, the artist executed several motifs, each of them explored in groups of works painted from slightly varying vantage points, thus creating a body of work that anticipated his celebrated practice of series painting. Delighted by the novelty of his environs and encouraged by favourable weather, Monet painted feverishly, working all day and only making short pauses for lunch. Unlike his predecessors, who had painted in this region, Monet had no interest in the tourist attractions, nor was he sympathetic to their depictions of the landscape as a romantic backdrop for mythological or allegorical scenes. Rather, he invested all his energy in exploring the unique combination of light and nature, particularly focusing on three subjects: sea-views (fig. 2), palm trees, which were the emblem of Bordighera, and the Moreno garden, depicted in the present work (and figs. 3 & 4).\n\nAs Joachim Pissarro explained: 'Monet had heard about Francesco Moreno and his famous garden as soon as he arrived in Italy. Moreno was Bordighera's most important landowner, and he collected rare plants and unusual species of palm trees, to add to his already enormous plantations of olive and palm trees. Access to Moreno’s garden had once been routine but had been restricted after a few acts of vandalism. As soon as he arrived, Monet asked his dealer to help him gain entrance to them' (ibid., p. 35). Once he was admitted into the gardens, Monet was delighted with what he saw, and in a letter to Alice Hoschedé, dated 5th February 1884, he wrote: 'A garden such as this cannot be found; it is pure paradise. It seems all the plants in the world grow effortlessly from the soil there; you find a jumble of every work, a gardener's house situated in the upper part of the Moreno garden is visible on the left, and the eastern gable of the Villa Moreno on the far right, while the majority of the composition is devoted to the rich vegetation that so delighted the artist.\nSigned Claude Monet and dated 84 (lower right)
GB
GB
GB

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Claude Monet

dimensions

60 by 73cm.

exhibition

Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Monet et Rodin, 1889, no. 64 Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Claude Monet, Memorial Exhibition, 1927, no. 69

literature

'Vente atelier John Sargent', in Le Bulletin de la Vie Artistique, 15th August 1925, p. 362 Lionello Venturi, Les Archives de l'Impressionnisme, Paris & New York, 1939, vol. I, p. 281 Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet. Biographie et catalogue raisonné, Lausanne & Paris, 1979, vol. II, no. 867, illustrated p. 119 Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet. Catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1991, vol. V, no. 867, p. 41 Marianne Alphant, Claude Monet. Une vie dans le paysage, Paris, 1993, p. 396 Daniel Wildenstein, Monet. Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1996, vol. II, no. 867, illustrated p. 323

provenance

Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the artist in June 1884) John Singer Sargent, London (acquired from the above in 1891. Sale: Christie's, London, 24th & 27th July 1925, lot 303) Durand-Ruel and Bernheim-Jeune, Paris (purchased at the above sale) Mrs Montgomery Sears, Boston (acquired in 1926) Mrs Peabody, Boston Wildenstein Sale: Palais d'Orsay, Paris, 24th November 1977, lot 7 Sale: Sotheby's, London, 28th June 1978, lot 14 Private Collection (purchased at the above sale)

signedDate

Signed Claude Monet and dated 84 (lower right)

time_period

Painted in Bordighera in 1884.

consignmentDesignation

Property from a 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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