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CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)

__ Vue du village de Giverny

Details
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
__ Vue du village de Giverny
signed and dated ‘Claude Monet 86’ (lower left)
oil on canvas
25 ⁷/₈ x 32 ¹/₄ in. (65.8 x 81.9 cm.)
Painted in 1886
Provenance
Ernst and Gertrud Flersheim, Frankfurt-am-Main, by circa 1913.
Edith and Georg Eberstadt, Frankfurt-am-Main & London, by descent from the above by 1936, by whom sold in the 1930s.
Alexandre Farra, Paris; Estate sale, Palais Galliera, Paris, 9 March 1961, lot C.
Elizabeth Stafford, New York & New Orleans, by whom acquired at the above sale; sold pursuant to a settlement agreement with the heirs of Ernst Flersheim, Christie’s, New York, 11 November 2018, lot 38A.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Literature
D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné, vol. II, Lausanne, 1979, no. 1072, p. 192 (illustrated p. 193).
D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné, supplément aux peintures, dessins, pastels, vol. V, Lausanne, 1991, no. 1072, p. 44.
D. Wildenstein, Monet: Catalogue raisonné, vol. II, Cologne, 1996, no. 1072, pp. 405-406 (illustrated p. 406).
W.A. Eberstadt, Whence We Came, Where We Went: A Family History, New York, 2002, p. 129.
A. Goetz, A Day With Claude Monet in Giverny, Paris, 2017, pp. 26-27 (illustrated).
Exhibition
Frankfurter Kunstschütze, July – September 1913, no. 61, p. 16 (illustrated; titled ‘Die Dächer’).
New Orleans, Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, Odyssey of an Art Collector: Unity in Diversity, Five-Thousand Years of Art, November 1966 – January 1967, p. 174, no. 182 (illustrated p. 112).
New Orleans, Museum of Art, 1977 – March 2018 (on long-term loan).
Orléans, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Peintures françaises du Museum of Art de la Nouvelle-Orléans, May – September 1984, no. 23, pp. 60-61 (illustrated p. 61).
Memphis, The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, French Paintings of Three Centuries from the New Orleans Museum of Art, January – March 1992, no. 28, p. 70 (illustrated p. 71; titled ‘Rooftops, Giverny’); this exhibition later travelled to Miami, Centre for the Fine Arts, March – May 1992; Wilmington, Delaware Art Museum, May – June 1992; Grosse Pointe Shores, Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, July – September 1992; Oklahoma, City Art Museum, October – November 1992; and Seattle, Art Museum, December 1992 – February 1993.
Fukushima, Koriyama City Museum of Art, French Art of Four Centuries from the New Orleans Museum of Art, February – March 1993, no. 22, p. 56 (illustrated; titled ‘Rooftops, Giverny’); this exhibition later travelled to Yokohama, Sogo Museum of Art, April – May 1993, Yokohama, Nara Sogo Museum of Art, June – July 1993; and Kitakyushu, Municipal Museum of Art, July – August 1993.
Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Monet and Modernism, November 2001 – March 2022, p. 67 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Basel, Fondation Beyeler, Claude Monet, up to digital Impressionism, March – August 2022.
San Francisco, Fine Arts Museum, Monet in Normandy, June – September 2007, no. 37, pp. 122-123 (illustrated p. 123); this exhibition later travelled to Raleigh, North Carolina Museum of Art, October 2006 – January 2007; and Cleveland, Museum of Modern Art, February – May 2007.

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展品专文

In 1886, the year that Monet painted this lively view over the farmhouses and fields of Giverny, the tensions that had been mounting within the Impressionist group since early in the decade reached its peak. Pissarro, newly won over to the divisionist technique of Seurat and Signac, invited them to contribute to the Eighth Impressionist Exhibition; when the show opened in mid-May, a whole room was given over to their new avant-garde idiom, which represented a direct assault on the essential premises of Impressionism. Monet, Renoir, Sisley, and Caillebotte all refused to participate in the exhibition, which would be the Impressionist group’s last. Aesthetic differences and personality conflicts were paramount, but there was also a controversy over whether artists with dealer backing—Monet had recently joined forces with Georges Petit—were truly indépendant. Finally, just weeks before the exhibition opened, the Impressionists’ former ally Zola published his latest book L'Œuvre, a scathing portrait of a failed artistic genius, the fictional Claude Lantier, which struck Monet and his colleagues as an intensely personal attack.

Throughout this tumultuous period, Monet remained a dedicated proponent of Impressionism, committed to the primacy of nature and to conveying his sensations before the motif. “I am still an Impressionist,” he declared, “and will always remain one” (quoted in Monet in the ’90s, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1989, p. 20). In the present painting, however, he came as close as he ever would to a Post-Impressionist interpretation of the landscape, transmuting the forms of the natural world into an abstract order. More characteristic of Cézanne than Monet, Vue du village de Giverny is first and foremost a carefully composed patchwork of formal elements – different shapes, colors, and textures – that takes priority over the depiction of a particular place under specific conditions of weather and light. Rather than a panoramic landscape in the conventional sense, the painting represents a constructive transformation of a corner of the countryside, seemingly viewed at close range and excerpted from a larger whole.

To find the motif for this painting, Monet did not have to venture far from home. He set up his easel on a hillside northeast of rural Giverny’s tiny town center, a few minutes’ walk from the house where he had lived since April 1883 with his future wife Alice Hoschedé and their combined eight children. Looking southeast over the plain of Essarts, he could see all the way to the distant hills around Bennecourt, some eight kilometers from Giverny following the line of the Seine upstream. In the foreground of the painting is the Ferme de la Côte, which belonged to the proprietors of the Hôtel Baudy, a popular lodging spot for the American artists who flocked to Giverny in the late 1880s and 1890s. At the far left, immediately beyond the first stand of trees, are the houses and farm buildings that clustered together on land known locally as Le Pressoir (“the cider press”), Monet’s own home among them.

During the first five years that he lived at Giverny, Monet tirelessly explored the surrounding terrain, setting out with his canvases each day at dawn, walking over hills and through valleys, in marshes and meadows, among streams and poplars. He painted the Seine and its burbling tributary the Epte, winding country roads and houses nestled into the rolling hills, and vast fields that stretch from one edge of the canvas to the other, offering tangible evidence of the land’s fertility and abundance. “This was the landscape he came to know most intimately,” James Wood has written, “and its accessibility made possible the extended serial treatment that is the underlying structure for the work of the entire Giverny period.” (Monet’s Years at Giverny: Beyond Impressionism, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1978, p. 11).

Several months before he painted the present Vue du village, Monet had depicted the same motif under snow, selecting a more traditional vantage point that showed the houses of the Ferme de la Côte and Le Pressoir sitting stably on the land (Wildenstein, no. 1055). Now, by contrast, he climbed higher on the hillside and looked down at a steeper angle. The foreground of the present painting is given over entirely to a dense jumble of rooftops and the upper portion of walls, rendered as a network of intersecting edges and forms described with short, parallel touches of red, pink, and gray. Before these resolve into tangible structures, they appear to the eye as abstract blocks of color and texture, free of any external referent. The landscape, in turn, is distilled into a series of horizontal bands, rendered in complementary, cool tones. In the middle ground, clusters of vigorous vertical and diagonal strokes denoting wooded areas are punctuated with flat patches of yellow-green for fields; the distant hills appear as a ribbon of blue, painted in long, sloping streaks beneath a strip of lavender-gray sky.

With its intensely green and lush vegetation, Vue du village appears to be a late spring or a summer scene, painted after Monet’s return from a brief working trip to Holland during the 1886 tulip season (Wildenstein, nos. 1067-1071). Although the artist’s letters are characteristically taciturn on the subject, the painted evidence from this period suggests that the future of Impressionism weighed heavily on his mind. He produced two plein air portraits of Suzanne Hoschedé holding a parasol – his first large-scale figure paintings in over a decade – that represent a quintessentially Impressionist rejoinder to Seurat’s divisionist manifesto, La Grande Jatte. He also painted his first self-portrait ever, a haunting, deeply introspective image that bears testament to the magnitude of the moment (Wildenstein, nos. 1076-1078). “In 1886, he must have realized that he was truly on his own,” Paul Tucker has written, “and that if Impressionism was going to continue to be a viable style equal to the likes of Seurat’s pseudo-scientific method, it was up to him to prove it” (exh. cat., op. cit., 1989, p. 127).