Lot 19
  • 19

Claude Monet

Estimate
5,000,000 - 7,000,000 USD
Sold
12,122,500 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Claude Monet
  • Champ de blé
  • Signed Claude Monet  and dated 81 (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas

Provenance

William H. Fuller, New York (by 1891)

Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the above on August 31 1897)

Durand-Ruel, New York (acquired from the above on November 12 1897)

William H. Fuller, New York (acquired from the above on February 28, 1898)

Henry White Cannon, New York (1899)

Mrs. Henry White Cannon (née Jenny Olive)

Acquired as a gift from the above in 1947

Exhibited

(possibly) Paris, 251, rue St Honoré, 7e exposition des artistes indépendants, 1882, no. 88

New York, American Art Galleries & National Gallery of Design, Works in Oil and Pastel by the Impressionists of Paris, 1886, no. 158

New York, The Lotos Club, Pictures by Claude Monet, 1889, no. 4

New York, Union League Club, Paintings by Old Masters, and Modern Foreign and American Painters, Together with an Exhibition of the Work of Claude Monet the Impressionist ... Loan Collection, 1891, no. 52

Columbus, Gallery of Fine Arts, The Springtime of Impressionism, 1948, no. 13, illustrated in the catalogue

St. Louis, City Art Museum& Minneapolis, Institute of Art, Claude Monet, 1957, no. 48, illustrated in the catalogue

Akron, Art Institute, Highlights of the 19th Century, 1959

Auckland, City Art Gallery, Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales & Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria, Claude Monet, Painter of Light, 1985, no. 8, illustrated in the catalogue

Madrid, Museo espanol de Arte Contemporaneo, Claude Monet, 1986, no. 33, illustrated in the catalogue

Chicago, The Art Institute, Claude Monet, 1840-1926, 1995, no. 59

Mexico City, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Maestros des Impresionismo, 1998-99, no. 189

Canberra, National Gallery of Australia & Perth, Art Gallery of Western Australia,  Monet & Japan, 2001, no. 10, illustrated in the catalogue

Edinburgh, Gallery of the Royal Scottish Academy, Monet: The Seine and the Sea, Vetheuil and Normandy, 2003, no. 45

Kunsthaus Zurich, Monet's Garden, 2004-05, fig. 19, illustrated in the catalogue (listed as "Field of Corn")

San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor; Raleigh, North Carolina Museum of Art & Cleveland Museum of Art , Monet in Normandy, 2006-07, no. 35, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Vancouver, Vancouver Art Gallery ; Cleveland Museum of Art; Nashville, Frist Center for the Visual Arts; Salt Lake City, Utah Museum of Fine Arts & Detroit Institute of Arts, Modern Masters from the Cleveland Museum of Art, 2007-09

Literature

Octave Mirbeau, “Notes sur l’art.  Cl. Monet,” La France, November 21, 1884, p. 84

William H. Fuller, Cl. Monet and his Paintings, New York, 1899, p. 16

The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Volume 35, no. 2, 1948, p. 4-7, illustrated

Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet, Paris, 1974, no. 676, illustrated pl. 405

Helen O.  Borowitz, "The Rembrandt and Monet of Marcel Proust." The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Volume 70, no. 86, 1983, fig. 13, illustrated

Charles F. Stuckey, Monet, A Retrospective, New York, 1985, illustrated p. 116

John House, Monet: Nature in Art, New Haven,  1986, pp. 19, 54, 180, fig. 23, illustrated

 Karin Sagner-Düchting, Claude Monet 1840-1926: Ein Fest für die Augen, Cologne,  1990, p. 119 illustrated

Daniel Wildenstein, Monet, Catalogue raisonné, vol. II, Cologne, 1996, no. 676, illustrated in color p. 254

Geneviève Morgan, ed., Monet, the Artist Speaks, San Francisco. 1996, illustrated pp. 42-43

Louise d'Argencourt & Roger Diederen, et al., European Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Cleveland, 1999, p. 156

Marco Goldin,  L'impressionismo e l'età di Van Gogh, Conegliano, 2002,  p. 162, illustrated

John House, Impressionism: Paint and Politics, New Haven, 2004, p. 163, fig. 147

Michael Leja,  Looking Askance: Skepticism and American Art from Eakins to Duchamp, London, 2004, fig. 7

Karin Sagner-Duchting, Claude Monet 1840-1926: A Feast for the Eyes, Cologne, 1998, p. 202

Claudio Zambianchi, Monet et la pittura en plein air, Firenze, 2007, p. 56, illustrated p. 57, fig. 36

Catalogue Note

Monet’s sweeping view of a wheat field beneath a sky of cirrus clouds is among the classic Impressionist landscapes from the early 1880s.   The picture dates from 1881, when the artist was living in Vétheuil, and depicts a wheat field in Lavacourt, just across the river.  Its apparent simplicity notwithstanding, Champ de blé is in fact masterfully nuanced in both composition and surface treatment.   Monet’s pictures of these months were customarily consigned to Durand-Ruel and sold shortly thereafter, as was the case for the related composition, Champ de coquelicots (W. 677, Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam).  Champ de blé, however, was probably the picture that Monet included in the seventh Impressionist exhibition in 1882, which was the last time the artist would exhibit with the original group.   Champ de bléhas attracted critical acclaim ever since its first public appearance, and is a testament to Monet's regard for the picture.


Monet’s landscapes of Lavacourt, Vétheuil and the areas of the Seine valley were usually done out of doors and then finished in Monet’s studio.  Ever in search for new venues, the artist would load his bateau-atelier with his brushes, canvases and oils and set out on the river, looking for engaging subjects.  The scene depicted in the present work is a vast and verdant field, distinguished by the dramatic poplar trees that would appear in Monet’s series paintings in later years.  Monet’s focus here is on the great horizontal expanse of the grassy plain, interrupted by the footpath that leads to the wheat field.  The vista takes shape in the form of a grid, with horizontal and vertical elements plotted in opposition to create this dynamic view.


Monet’s experiences in Vétheuil and its surrounding region inspired to some of his most complex landscape paintings.  He moved to this area of the Seine valley from Argenteuil in 1878, and the following five years he spent there with his family were to be some of the most tumultuous of his life.  Painting offered a respite during this era, and those canvases he produced during this period celebrate the splendor of the French countryside.  These pictures would ultimately be sold by Paul Durand-Ruel at the end of 1881, elevating the artist into a more secure financial position and launching him into yet another phase of his artistic development.  The Vétheuil compositions evidence Monet at his most ambitious, revealing his devotion to his craft.  These were the years that gave rise to his riveting depictions of the ice-floes on the Seine, along with some of his most compositionally sophisticated landscapes of the river valley, including the present work and the picture now residing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 


Champ de blé
has an exceptionally important early provenance.  The first owner 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 organized 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 may have first purchased the picture around 1886, the same time he acquired another work by Monet (W. 752, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)  from Durand-Ruel.  While we know that the picture was in Fuller's possession in 1891 for the exhibition, the Durand-Ruel archives show that Fuller sold and repurchased the work from Durand-Ruel within a year in the late 1890s.  The painting was then acquired at the turn of the century by Henry White Cannon, the president of Chase Bank.   Cannon and his wife Jennie Olive, an active member of the suffragette movement in the early twentieth century, owned the picture until Jennie gifted it to the Cleveland Museum in 1947.

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