Lot 130
  • 130

Claude Monet

600,000 - 800,000 GBP
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  • Claude Monet
  • La Seine à Lavacourt
  • oil on canvas
  • 46 by 61cm., 18 1/8 by 24in.


Richard Peabody, Boston
Comte Ivan Podgarsky
Mrs William Fitzhugh, San Francisco
Miss Marion E. Fitzhugh, New York (acquired in 1960)
J. Perry Fitzhugh, Maine (sale: Sotheby's Parke-Bernet, New York, 3rd April 1968, lot 46)
Sale: Drouot-Montaigne, Paris, 24th November 1988, lot 33
Sale: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 25th March 1994, lot 42
Sale: Millon & Associés, Paris, 19th March 2007, lot 22
Purchased at the above sale by the present owners


Los Angeles, County Museum, Monet, 1960, no. 26 (titled The Seine at Vétheuil)


Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet. Catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1991, vol. V, no. 2003-538, illustrated p. 9
Daniel Wildenstein, Monet. Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1996, vol. II, no. 538a, illustrated p. 211


The canvas is lined. There is a thick layer of varnish. UV examination reveals some scattered lines of retouching, notably to the sky, to the foliage and the lower centre of the composition. There is an area of retouching predominately consisting of vertical and horizontal lines, of approximately 12cm. long towards the centre of the right edge as a result of a previous repaired tear. There is a line of stable craquelure with tiny associated losses to the right of the reflected foliage and there is a horizontal surface scratch of approximately 2cm. above it . There are some fine and stable lines of craquelure in places to the sky and to the water. This work is in overall good condition and would respond well to cleaning.
"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. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

In 1878 Monet left the Parisian suburb of Argenteuil to pursue a more idyllic life in the country. He travelled north and discovered the medieval village of Vétheuil, situated just outside the town of Mantes in the region of Île-de-France. Monet took an instant liking to Vétheuil, and he was soon joined by his family as well as that of his friend and patron Ernest Hoschedé. The two families installed themselves in a rented house on the road to Mantes, with a large garden that led down to the river. Monet was delighted with the rich, unspoilt nature offered by his new surroundings and found numerous motifs in the untamed river landscape and the picturesque towns that surrounded it. He even established a painting studio on a small boat—his bateau-atelier— which enabled him to travel up and down the Seine and gave him a limitless choice of perspectives.

The quaint town of Lavacourt, situated on the opposite shore to Vétheuil, proved particularly appealing and Monet painted at least sixteen views of the town during the autumn and winter of 1878-79. La Seine à Lavacourt focuses on the verdant shores of the towpath that ran along the riverbanks there and is a wonderful testament to the full, rich light that is characteristic of the region. According to David Joel: ‘On sunny days, as the sun rises higher and the land gets warmer the morning mists are dispelled, and the breeze created is funnelled up by the white cliffs forming a circular wind system, often rising to ten thousand feet. This system can bring all sorts of summer cloud formations unique to this area of Normandy, which may or may not vanish by sunset. Thus the skies are constantly changing and fine sunsets and effects are created. They differ by the hour’ (David Joel, Monet at Vétheuil 1878-1883, Woodbridge, England, 2002, p. 50).

Soon after arriving in Vétheuil, Monet's family relocated to a more spacious residence at Les Tourelles together with the Hoschedés. Monet remained here for almost five years, enduring a period of dire financial hardship over the winter of 1878-79 and of personal grief at the death of his wife Camille in the fall of 1879. Despite these adversities, Monet continued to paint and he produced several stunning depictions of Lavacourt and its environs over this period. As Paul Hayes Tucker notes: ‘The place appeared to agree with him. Over the time he was there, he produced nearly three hundred paintings—one every four days. This was a remarkable output, surpassing the number of pictures he completed during his seven years at Argenteuil by a large margin. Most of these new canvases, however, were vastly different from those earlier works, as Monet now sought out spaces in and around this rural village which revealed its quiet secrets—the backwaters of the Seine, the orchards that dotted the surrounding hills and the well-trodden dirt paths of the little town of Lavancourt [sic] just across the river’ (Paul Hayes Tucker, Claude Monet, Life and Art, New Haven & London, 1995, p. 101).