Lot 59
  • 59

Claude Monet

5,000,000 - 7,000,000 USD
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  • Claude Monet
  • Près Monte-Carlo
  • Signed Claude Monet and dated 83 (lower left)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 25  7/8  by 32  1/4  in.
  • 65.6 by 82 cm


Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the artist in January 1885)

A. W. Kingman, New York (acquired from the above in 1886)

Durand-Ruel, New York (acquired from the above on March 5, 1896)

Durand-Ruel, Paris (transfer from the above in June 1896)

Galerie Paul Cassirer, Berlin (acquired on consignment from Durand-Ruel on October 25, 1917)

Art Gallery Georg Caspari, Munich (acquired from the above on October 25, 1917)

Louis Koch, Frankfurt-am-Main

Robert von Hirsch, Basel (by inheritance from the above and sold: Sotheby's, London, June 26-27, 1976, lot 721)

Cyril Humphris (acquired at the above sale)

Private Collection (acquired in 2000 and sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 3, 2006, lot 3)

Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


New York, American Art Galleries; National Academy of Design, Works in Oil and Pastel by the Impressionists of Paris, 1886, no. 172 (titled Near Monte-Carlo)

Reims, Palais de l'Industrie, 1896

Mulhouse, 7e exposition des Beaux-Arts, 1899, no. 248

London, Grafton Galleries, Pictures by Boudin, Cézanne, Degas, Manet, Monet, 1905, no. 109

Venice, Exhibition Palace, 6e exposition internationale des Beaux-Arts, 1905

Kunsthalle Basel, Catalogue des peintures, dessins, sculptures, gravures et objets d'art decorative de lécole française contemporaine, 1906, no. 476

Budapest, Nemzeti Szalon, Modern Francia Festészet, 1907, no. 38

Munich, Moderne Galerie, Impressionisten-Ausstellung, 1909, no. 26 (titled Kap Martin)

Florence, Lyceum Club, Prima Mostra italiana dell'Impressionismo, 1910, no. 40

Berlin, Paul Cassirer, XV. Jahrgang.  Sommerausstellung, 1913

Berlin, Paul Cassirer, XVI. Jahrgang.  Sommerausstellung, 1914

(possibly) Kunsthaus Zürich, Claude Monet, 1840-1926, 1952, no. 59 (titled Cap Martin and dated 1884)


"The French Impressionists," New York Tribune, April 10, 1886, letter no. 432

Daniel Wildenstein,  Claude Monet, Biographie et catalogue raisonné, Lausanne & Paris, vol. II, 1979, no. 851, illustrated p. 113 and discussed in letter no. 432, p. 241

Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet, catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1991, vol. V, no. 851, listed p. 41

Daniel Wildenstein, Monet, catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1996, vol. II, no. 851, illustrated in color p. 316

Christine Eluère, Monet et la Riviera, Paris, 2006, no. 8, illustrated in color p. 13

Catalogue Note

Monet had a lifelong commitment to painting en plein air as he explored how atmospheric conditions affect light and color.  On December 1, 1883 Monet was near completion of six large interior panels at the apartment of his dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, when he realized his extreme frustration with this project because he felt that his creativity was being stifled by the indoor surroundings.  “I cannot wait until I am out of all this, it has been a century since I last worked outdoors” (quoted in Joachim Pissarro, Monet and the Mediterranean, New York, 1997, p. 27).  Although Monet’s description of his state of mind was mostly one of hyperbole he impulsively departed to the Mediterranean with fellow Impressionist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir who assured him of the “wonderful things awaiting them there” (Paul Hayes Tucker, Claude Monet: Life and Art, New Haven, 1995, p. 118).

Joachim Pissarro writes how upon arriving in the Mediterranean region Monet was immediately “seized by a desire to respond to these new stimuli.  Not only did this trip put an end to the ‘century-long’ imprisonment at Durand-Ruel’s but it also plunged him into an entirely alien world, rich with marvelously strange vegetation, exotic fragrances, and, of course, brilliant colors” (Pissarro, op. cit. p. 28).  Près Monte Carlo was one of the first works executed by Monet on the shores of Monte Carlo and is amongst the finest seaside images of this period.  The work depicts a seascape with rocks and vegetation, all elements that he was craving to see, experience and paint while he was in Paris.  Monet’s quick Impressionistic brushstrokes and wide spectrum of color give the piece a dynamic sense of movement and a luminous quality.  Moreover, the artist captures the beauty of his scenery with a extensive color palette that creates a glowing effect in the sky which is mirrored in the water.

Monet was fascinated with light and color throughout his career and Près Monte Carlo exemplifies how his unconventional coloration captures the viewer.  The work is primarily comprised of blue and green hues that are common in a seaside landscape.  Yet, Monet magnificently employs yellow and pink tones that hold the eye of the viewer and convey the dazzling light of this Mediterranean region.  Renoir was also stimulated by the Mediterranean, and painted Paysage près de Menton where he also tried to capture the unique light of the region.  Renoir wrote to Durand-Ruel in December 1883, “we saw everything, or almost, from Marseille to Genoa.  It is all superb, skylines you have no idea of.  This evening the mountains were pink” (N. Wadley, Renoir: A Retrospective, New York, 1987, p. 159). 

Despite the success of the Impressionists in the 1870s, Monet was somewhat ambivalent about being closely associated with the other artists.  He returned to the Mediterranean shores on two more extended trips from 1884 to 1908 as he was hoping to, “hone a more clearly individual idiom” (J. Pissarro, op. cit. p. 19).  

Près Monte Carlo was one of the first paintings completed in the Mediterranean and it was Monet's fascination with this region which reinvigorated the artist and helped him to produce, “some of the most powerful, resonant, and innovative paintings he had ever produced— work that went well beyond Impressionism” (ibid).