- Claude Monet
- Le Mont Riboudet à Rouen au printemps
- signed Claude Monet (lower right)
- oil on canvas
- 56 by 74cm.
- 22 by 29 1/8 in.
Gustave Caillebotte, Paris (acquired from the above circa 1876)
Martial Caillebotte, Paris (by descent from the above)
Albert Chardeau, Paris (by descent from the above)
Sale: Galliera, Paris, 12th June 1964, lot 94
Maurice Lehmann, Paris
Lester Osterman, New York (acquired by 1971)
Wildenstein Gallery, New York
Private Collection, USA (acquired by 1975)
Wildenstein Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner
Charles Merrill Mount, Monet: A Biography, New York, 1966, discussed p. 226
Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet. Biographie et catalogue raisonné, Lausanne & Paris, 1974, vol. I, no. 216, illustrated p. 209; vol. V, no. 216, listed p. 26
Daniel Wildenstein, Monet, Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1996, vol. II, no. 216, illustrated p. 96
The present work was created in the early spring of 1872, while the artist was visiting his brother Léon in the outskirts of Rouen, north-west of Paris. During his brief stay he painted about a dozen oils depicting this region and the rapidly industrialising landscape of the suburbs of Déville and Robec. Several of these compositions, including Vue de Rouen (fig. 1) and La Seine à Rouen (fig. 2) depict views of the town across the Seine, showing in the distance the Gothic spires of Rouen Cathedral, which would become the subject of a major series of Monet’s paintings in the 1890s. Daniel Wildenstein wrote that ‘Monet was immensely prolific during his stay in Rouen. He no longer avoided the signs of industrialisation, which are obvious enough in The Robec Stream and The Goods Train. Déville, where Léon lived, on the outskirts of Rouen, became the subject of several paintings, and Monet also painted The Mont Riboudet in Rouen in Springtime [the present work], which was then still largely as nature had made it; it stands between Rouen and Déville’ (D. Wildenstein, op. cit., 1996, vol. I, p. 96).
Many of Monet’s depictions of Rouen and its surroundings were strikingly modern in that they provided a candid view of the landscape as it transformed to suit the demands of urban development and expansion. The present work, however, is one of the few compositions of this area that provides a more traditional view of the French countryside, with its rolling hills and small cottages dotting the landscape. Its composition as well as its palette with juxtaposed patches of green, blue and yellow anticipate Cézanne’s depictions of Mont Sainte-Victoire of the following decade (fig. 3). The site depicted in this composition is Mount Riboudet, situated on the eastern edge of the city. Today this view is hardly recognisable as it has since been obscured by industrial development, as was the case for much of the landscape in this part of France. But in this picture, there is yet no sign of the encroaching industrial sprawl, and the landscape possesses the rustic charm that is common in many of Monet’s canvases of Argenteuil dating from that year.
By the time he executed the present picture, Monet had developed a considerable market for his paintings, thanks largely to the support of his dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, who had purchased 29 works from him in 1872. With the income from these sales, the artist bought a large stock of painting supplies and rented a house for his family in Argenteuil, where he painted the surrounding area along the Seine. Monet’s production during the year he executed the present landscape was his most prodigious to date, and many of these canvases, including the now celebrated Impression, Sunrise, completed that summer, would be featured at the official debut of the Impressionist painters in 1874 at their first group exhibition in Paris.
In 1873 Paul Durand-Ruel purchased the present work, along with much of Monet’s production from 1872, for the sum of 19,000 francs. Three years later, the artist Gustave Caillebotte, who was one of the first contributors to the Impressionist group exhibitions in Paris and a major patron of his fellow painters, purchased this work from Durand-Ruel for his private collection. Caillebotte bequeathed his collection to the French government upon his death in 1894, but in a well-publicised decision that raised doubts about the ability of cultural officials to evaluate modern art, the collection was rejected by the State in 1896. At that time this work was returned to Caillebotte’s brother, Martial, who eventually left it to his son-in-law, Albert Chardeau.