42
42

COLORFUL SILENCE | WORKS FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION

Claude Monet
PRUNES ET ABRICOTS
Estimate
1,500,0002,000,000
JUMP TO LOT
42

COLORFUL SILENCE | WORKS FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION

Claude Monet
PRUNES ET ABRICOTS
Estimate
1,500,0002,000,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York

Claude Monet
1840 - 1926
PRUNES ET ABRICOTS
Signed Claude Monet (lower left)
Oil on canvas
7 1/8 by 15 1/8 in.
18 by 38.5 cm
Painted circa 1882-85.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired circa 1890)

Hannezo Collection, Paris (acquired from the above on August 25, 1938)

Galerie A. Gattlen, Lausanne

Private Collection, Switzerland (acquired circa 1970)

Private Collection (by descent from the above and sold: Christie's, London, June 22, 2005, lot 119)

Acquired at the above sale

Exhibited

New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Claude Monet, 1935, no. 13

Lausanne, A. Gattlen-Galerie, De Monet à Picasso, 1963, no. 13

Lausanne, Palais de Beaulieu, Chefs-d'oeuvre des Collections Suisses: de Manet à Picasso, 1964, no. 42, illustrated in the catalogue (titled Nature morte aux fruits)

Literature

Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet, biographie et catalogue raisonné, vol. II, Lausanne, 1979, no. 955, illustrated p. 151

Daniel Wildenstein, Monet Catalogue Raisonné, vol. II, Cologne, 1996, no. 955, illustrated p. 355

Catalogue Note

Painted in the 1880s, during a period when Monet’s painting started to reach a wider audience and to gain increasing recognition, this vibrant depiction of plums and peaches demonstrates the artist's ability to adapt his technique, developed through painting en plein-air, to a different genre. He painted the present work with attention to the rendering of the effects of light, setting a plate of fruit against a neutrally colored background suggestive of a table top. Monet combined this natural display with quick, fluid brushstrokes that lend the painting freshness and a sense of spontaneity. Discussing Monet’s still lifes, Stephan Koja describes his "unconventional and unpretentious approach to his subjects," writing: "There is nothing artificial about his arrangements, nor are they welded to a spatial context… Once again, he relied entirely on the effect of color, endeavoring to apply the stylistic vocabulary he had evolved in his landscape paintings, with its typical short brush-strokes" (S. Koja in Monet (exhibition catalogue), Belvedere, Vienna, 1996, p. 92).

Although Monet executed far fewer still lifes than landscapes throughout his career, in the late 1870s and early 1880s he, like Renoir, turned to this subject that was most readily saleable and therefore provided a secure source of income to both artists. Monet exhibited several still lifes during the Impressionist exhibitions of the late 1870s, and it was largely due to the artist’s success in these exhibitions that the legendary art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel began to buy his paintings regularly— eventually leading him to commission a unique group of works for his own grand salon. The project, commissioned in May 1882, was envisaged to contain thirty-six decorative panels depicting flowers and fruit, to adorn six double doors of the drawing room in his apartment at 35, rue de Rome in Paris.

While Prunes et abricots was not part of the final decorative design for the door panels, it was acquired by Durand-Ruel around the same time. In both its subject matter and its characteristic elongated format, the present work resembles the small-scale still-lifes of flowers and fruit created as part of Monet’s experimentations that led to the final design. Paul Hayes Tucker commented on this group of works: "Charming, lusciously painted, and often quite novel in terms of their organization as decorative groups, these pictures were the kind that came easily to Monet" (P. Hayes Tucker, Claude Monet, Life and Art, New Haven & London, 1995, p. 122). Indeed, the subject of a still life of fruit would certainly have appealed to the artist and he often returned to it throughout his career, in between working on his landscapes.

The Durand-Ruel commission occupied Monet between 1882 and 1885, and these charming still lifes were sufficiently important for him to spend considerable time and energy on their completion. As he wrote in a letter to Durand-Ruel: "To finish these panels, how many did I need to destroy. More than twenty, perhaps even thirty". Unlike the examples that the artist felt compelled to destroy, he was evidently satisfied with the present composition, which he considered a complete painting in its own right, and which Durand-Ruel exhibited at his New York gallery in 1935.

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York