Lot 12
  • 12

CLAUDE MONET | Printemps à Giverny, effet du matin

4,000,000 - 6,000,000 GBP
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  • Claude Monet
  • Printemps à Giverny, effet du matin
  • signed Claude Monet and dated 85 (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 60 by 81cm.
  • 23 5/8 by 31 7/8 in.
  • Painted in 1885.


Mr Michaut, France Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the above in March 1888)

Potter & Bertha Palmer, Chicago (acquired from the above in April 1892)

Bendix Foundation (Vincent Bendix), Chicago (acquired in 1942. Sold: Parke-Bernet Galeries, New York, 29th May 1942, lot 9)

Major Edward J. Bowes, New York (sold: Kende Gallery, New York, 1st November 1946, lot 37)

Paula de Koenigsberg, New York & Buenos Aires (sold: Ungaro y Barbará, Buenos Aires, 27th October 1947)

Private Collection (purchased at the above sale)

Thence by descent to the present owners


(possibly) New York, National Academy of Design, Celebrated Paintings by Great French Masters, 1887, no. 147 (titled Spring at Giverny) (possibly) Boston, Chase's Gallery, The Impressionists of Paris: Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, 1891, no. 23

South Bend, Indianapolis, University of Notre Dame (on loan 1935-1942)

Buenos Aires, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, El Impresionismo Francés en las Colecciones Argentinas, 1962, illustrated in the catalogue


Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet. Biographie et catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1979, vol. II, no. 986, illustrated p. 161 Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet. Biographie et catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1991, vol. V, mentioned p. 107

Daniel Wildenstein, Monet catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1996, vol. III, no. 986, illustrated p. 370


"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 the Spring of 1885 Monet painted two views of fields around Giverny, with trees in full blossom and the town’s church and houses visible in the distance: the present work, and its sister-painting previously on extended loan at the Museum of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg, Florida. Printemps à Giverny, effet du matin was executed during a period when the astoundingly rich and diverse landscape surrounding Monet’s home became his primary motif. Having moved his large family to the rural hamlet of Giverny in the spring of 1883, the artist found here a retreat where he could dedicate himself to explorations of the natural world.  

Instantly captivated by the landscape around Giverny, Monet wrote to his dealer Paul Durand-Ruel in Paris within days of his arrival: ‘Once settled, I hope to produce masterpieces because I like the countryside very much’ (quoted in Monet’s Years at Giverny: Beyond Impressionism (exhibition catalogue), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1978, pp. 15-16). Located some forty miles from Paris, Giverny was virtually untouched by the modernisation that had radically altered many of the villages along the Seine. Monet found endless sources of inspiration in the hills overlooking Giverny’s village, the roads and field near his home, along the banks of the Seine and ultimately amidst the vast landscaping project in his extensive flower gardens.


Many of Monet’s paintings from this area focus exclusively on the lavish natural surroundings, such as his celebrated series of poppy fields. The artist’s fascination with the splendour of the countryside is particularly palpable in his spring-time canvases, such as the present work and Printemps, Giverny now in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (fig. 1), which present a rapturous celebration of the awakening of nature. For the present composition, Monet chose a spot that gave him a magnificent view over the field and trees with the town’s church and rooftops in middle distance, a harmonious blending of natural and man-made reminiscent of Van Gogh’s renderings of the countryside surrounding Auvers (fig. 3).

In 1892 Printemps à Giverny, effet du matin entered the celebrated collection of the wealthy Chicago-based businessman Potter Palmer and his wife Bertha, who bought it from Monet's dealer Paul Durand-Ruel. Richard Brettell writes that following a visit to an exhibition of Monet’s works at Galerie Durand-Ruel in Paris in the previous year, ‘Bertha Honoré Palmer […] became the most important 19th-century collector of Impressionist landscape painting outside France, as well as the first collector to grasp the importance of Monet’s series paintings’ (R. R. Brettell, ‘Monet’s Haystacks Reconsidered’, in Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, vol. II, no. 1, Chicago, Autumn 1984, p. 6). After her husband's death in 1902 Mrs Palmer inherited his impressive art collection, and continued collecting voraciously, owning at one time as many as ninety works by Monet.

Whilst Potter Palmer’s decision to leave his entire fortune to his wife was at the time met with some controversy, she became an excellent business woman, and by her death in 1918 she had more than doubled her husband’s estate. Her vast art collection remained in the lavish neo-Gothic Palmer Mansion in Chicago, which was bequeathed to her two sons, who in 1928 sold the Mansion and many of the artworks it housed to the industrialist and inventor Vincent Hugo Bendix. A pioneering inventor in the automobile and aviation industry, Bendix added some of his own purchases to Bertha Palmer’s collection, re-naming the mansion The Bendix Galleries. A large part of Bertha Palmer’s art collection, including works by Monet, Degas and Renoir, was later donated to the Art Institute of Chicago. Printemps à Giverny, effet du matin and other works belonging to the Bendix Foundation were sold at auction in Parke-Bernet Galleries in New York in 1942. Two decades later it was acquired by its present owners, in whose family it has remained for over half a century.