PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED AMERICAN COLLECTION
Paul Aubry, Paris (acquired from the above on 14th June 1888. Sold: Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 10th May 1897, lot 19)
Galeries Durand-Ruel, Paris & New York (purchased at the above sale)
William H. Fuller, New York (acquired from the above on 22nd July 1897. Sold: American Art Association, New York, 12th-13th March 1903, lot 149)
G. A. Dowden (purchased at the above sale)
Pedro Valenilla de Echeverría, Caracas (acquired by 1957)
Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York
Florence J. Gould, Juan-les-Pins (acquired from the above in 1962. Sold by the executors of her estate: Sotheby's, New York, 24th April 1985, lot 41)
Mr Kuroda (purchased at the above sale)
Yasuji Hatano, Tokyo
Sale: Christie’s, New York, 12th May 1999, lot 32
Purchased at the above sale by the late owner
(possibly) Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Monet-Rodin, 1889, no. 102
New York, Lotos Club, Pictures by Claude Monet, 1899, no. 17 (titled Morning at Antibes)
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, Seventh Annual International Exhibition, 1902-03, no. 112
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Exposition Claude Monet, 1970, no. 36, illustrated in the catalogue
Tokyo, Seibu Museum of Art; Kyoto, Kyoto Municipal Museum & Fukuoka, Centre Culturel de Fukuoka, Claude Monet, 1973, no. 49, illustrated in the catalogue
Paris, Grand Palais, Hommage à Monet, 1980, no. 95, illustrated in the catalogue
Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum & New York, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Monet and the Mediterranean, 1997-98, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Eaque [Paul Robert], ‘Claude Monet’, in Le Journal des Arts, 6th July 1888
Alphonse de Calonne, ‘L'art contre nature’, in Le Soleil, 23rd June 1889, mentioned p. 1
Gustave Geffroy, La Vie artistique, 3me serie: Histoire de l'Impressionnisme, Paris, 1894, vol. II, mentioned p. 79
William H. Fuller, Claude Monet and his Paintings, New York, 1899, no. 17, discussed pp. 17-18
‘W. H. Fuller's Monets Sold’, in The Sun, 14th March 1903, no. 149
‘Some Recent Art Sales’, in Brush & Pencil, vol. 12, no. 1, April 1903, mentioned p. 75 (titled Dawn at Antibes)
Gustave Geffroy, Claude Monet: Sa vie, son temps, son œuvre, Paris, 1922, discussed p. 279
Daniel Wildenstein, Monet, Impressions, Lausanne, 1967, illustrated in colour p. 49
Denis Rouart & Jean-Dominique Rey, Monet Nymphéas, Paris, 1972, mentioned pp. 49-48 & 56
Luigina Rossi Bortolatto, L'opera completa di Claude Monet, 1870-1889, Milan, 1972, no. 322, illustrated p. 109
John Rewald, ‘Theo van Gogh, Goupil and the Impressionists’, in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, vol. LXXXI, nos. 1248-1249, January-February 1973, illustrated p. 25
Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet, Biographie et Catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1979, vol. III, no. 1167, illustrated p. 103; letter no. 1392; pièce justificative, no. 116
John House, Monet: Nature into Art, New Haven, 1986, illustrated p. 187
Claude Monet - Auguste Rodin, Centenaire de l'exposition de 1889 (exhibition catalogue), Musée Rodin, Paris, 1989, possibly listed as no. 102, p. 48
Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet, Catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1991, vol. V, no. 1167, mentioned p. 46
Paul Hayes Tucker, Claude Monet, Life and Art, New Haven, 1995, no. 150, illustrated in colour p. 132
Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet, Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1996, vol. III, no. 1167, illustrated in colour p. 441
In his Catalogue Raisonné entry on the present work, Daniel Wildenstein explains: ‘Monet moved closer to the sea, to the part of the Gardens of La Salis which adjoins the Plateau de la Garoupe. From this position, further to the east, the tower of the Château Grimaldi hides that of the cathedral. The Fort Carré is further to the right. The foreground is occupied by olive trees’ (D. Wildenstein, op. cit., 1996, p. 444). Monet completed four paintings of this view shown at different times of the day, placing particular emphasis on the tonal contrast between the nearby olive trees and the distant shoreline. The Toledo Museum of Art’s version (fig. 4) shows the Gardens of La Salis in the afternoon under direct sunlight with Antibes cast in shadow, whilst the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s (fig. 5) is entirely awash with the mid-day sun. The present work represents dawn, and is perhaps the most successful juxtaposition of light and shade in the group, possessing a beautifully orchestrated balance of vibrant colours which clearly determine the time of day.
Transfixed by the brilliance of the light found in Antibes, and although he was occasionally overwhelmed by the challenge of representing it on canvas, Monet had a particularly productive campaign returning to Paris in May with close to forty canvases. Discussing the works Monet produced in Antibes, Virginia Spate quotes Baudelaire’s L’invitation au voyage – ‘There, there is nothing else but grace and measure, Richness, quietness, and pleasure’, stating: ‘This is indeed the mood of these paintings, for, in the more constant Mediterranean weather, Monet could afford to concentrate for longer than he could on northern coasts on identifying the pigments with which to create the impression of intensely still coloured light’ (V. Spate, The Colour of Time – Claude Monet, London, 1992, p. 191).
Paul Hayes Tucker has speculated that by travelling throughout France in the 1880s Monet was attempting to decentralise Impressionism which for the most part had been based in Paris. ‘When queried in 1880 about his defection [from the Impressionists], he asserted, 'I am still an Impressionist and will always remain one.' Unlike some of his former colleagues such as Pissarro, who experimented with the pointillist techniques of the Post-Impressionists, Monet staunchly maintained that belief. Indeed, he put it into practice in an unprecedented way, travelling extensively during the decade to paint some of the most spectacular and varied sites in all of France, from the black, ocean-pounded coast of Belle Isle in the Atlantic south of Brittany to the verdant shores of Antibes on the Mediterranean. The places he chose had dramatically different geological formations, weather conditions, lighting effects, and temperature ranges. They also possessed strikingly different moods, mythologies, associations, and appeals. These challenging conditions led Monet to write to his friends and family about his difficulties frequently throughout the decade. 'It is so difficult, so delicate, so tender [in Antibes],' he told Berthe Morisot in 1888, 'particularly for someone like me who is inclined toward tougher subjects’. However, the canvases resulting from his trip to Antibes are testament to Monet’s masterful technique and his ability to reconcile his earlier Impressionist manner with the atmospheric conditions of the South. As Joachim Pissarro observed: ‘The status of Monet's painting in Antibes changed as fast as the weather. One day he would work admirably, "thanks to the eternal and resplendent sun", and the next a terrible wind would make work impossible. Nevertheless, Monet worked relentlessly. On the 1st February, Monet reported that he had 'worked all day without a break: it is definitely so beautiful, but so difficult as well!”’ (J. Pissarro, Monet and the Mediterranean (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 42).
After several weeks of working in this region, Monet expressed confidence in his work in a letter to Alice Hoschedé; writing in early February, ‘What I will bring back from here will be pure, gentle sweetness: some white, some pink, and some blue, and all this surrounded by the fairylike air’ (quoted in ibid., p. 44). For the artist whose entire career was dedicated to exploring the quality of light and its effect on water, the rich, saturated colours of the Mediterranean provided an ideal environment in which to challenge his abilities, and resulted in a remarkable series of works unique within Monet’s œuvre.
His success in achieving this in works such as the present one was clearly demonstrated by the enthusiasm which greeted them when they were first exhibited shortly after Monet's return to Paris. Rather than consigning the whole series to Durand-Ruel, and not being averse to creating rivalry between his dealers, Monet released ten Antibes paintings, including the present work, to Theo van Gogh who helped Boussod & Valadon to exhibit them in June and July 1888. Writing about the show, Gustave Geffroy noted the startling colouration the works possessed, ‘Changing colours of the sea, green, blue, grey, almost white – vastness of the rainbow-coloured mountains – with colours, clouded, snow-covered – pale silver foliage of the olive trees, black greenery of the pines, blinding red of the earth – silhouette of the dewy golden town, permeated by light’ (quoted in V. Spate, ibid., p. 193).
An early owner of the present work was William H. Fuller, the director of the National Wallpaper Company and a devoted collector of Monet's art. In 1891, Fuller organised the first exhibition of the artist's paintings in the United States at the Union Club in New York, effectively introducing Monet to an American audience. Fuller wrote an introduction on Monet’s work using Antibes vue de la Salis as an example of how his paintings could so convincingly portray atmosphere: ‘Do not fully accept your first impressions. It will grow upon you. Observe how skilfully the picture has been composed; notice also the purity and harmony of the colors; see how finely drawn are the wide spreading branches of the tree in the foreground, through which we catch glimpses of the pale blue receding sky. Under it, like an opal, lie the waters of the bay, tremulous with light. On the farther shore the distant hills are tinged with the first flush of morning light, while at their feet, like an enchanted city, sleeps the old fortress of Antibes. In conception and in rendering this picture is the embodiment of all the poetry, all the beauty, and all the mystery of the Dawn’ (W. H. Fuller, op. cit., p. 17-18).
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