When Claude Monet painted La seine à lavacourt, débâcle in 1880, he wasn’t just capturing a key moment in France’s history – he was also beginning his first real series, an approach he’d famously continue over the remainder of his career. That winter, the Seine froze over – the result of France experiencing one of the worst freezes in the country’s history. On the morning of January 5th, when the ice finally began to break, Monet ran to the river and began painting en plein air, intent to capture the sublime moment. Over 20 canvases, Monet recorded minute changes to the scene: how the light reflects against the breaking ice, the movement of the river, and the bitter freeze crystallizing the landscape. Ahead of the work’s appearance in the New York’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale this May, join specialist Scott Niichel as he discusses the importance of La seine à lavacourt, débâcle in the evolution of Monet’s career.