ProvenanceDurand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the artist on December 21, 1892)
Mr. & Mrs. Potter Palmer, Chicago (acquired from the above on December 21, 1892)
Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York (acquired from the above on November 23, 1894)
Mrs. Stephen Millett (née Thalia Westcott), New York (acquired from the above on February 13, 1919)
Raymond Nacenta, Paris (acquired from the above circa 1942)
Thence by descent
Sotheby’s, New York, 14 May 2019, lot 30
Private Collection, Japan
ExhibitionNew York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, ...More...Exposition of Forty Paintings by Claude Monet,
1895, no. 38
(probably) New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Monet et Renoir, 1900, no. 13
Toledo, The Toledo Museum of Art, Opening Season 1905 – 1906, 1905, no. 46
(probably) New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings by Claude Monet, 1907, no. 18 (titled Prairie à Giverny)
Boston, Walter Kimball & Co., Monets from the Durand-Ruel Collection, 1907, no. 14
Washington, D.C., The Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Masters of the Modern French
School, 1911, no. 23
St. Louis, Noonan-Kocian Gallery & Chicago, Auditorium Hotel, Tableaux Durand-Ruel, 1911-1912, n.n.
Boston, Brooks Reed Gallery, Paintings by Corot, Diaz, Dupré…Monet (Collection
Durand-Ruel), 1912, n.n.
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Monet, 1914, no. 15
Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Inaugural Exhibition, 1915, no. 253
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Autour de 1900, 1950, no. 1272
LiteratureDaniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet, Biographie et catalogue raisonné, vol. III, Lausanne & Paris, 1979, no. 1246, illustrated p. 131; mentioned in letters nos. 1168, 1172, 1173
Daniel Wildenstein, Monet, Catalogue raisonné, vol. III, Cologne, 1996, no. 1246,
illustrated p. 475
Claude Monet’s Prairie, Ciel Nuageux is a stunning example from a pivotal year for Monet and the Impressionist movement. It was during this late 1880s, early 1890s period that Monet chose to paint a progression of paintings that depicted the same subject but varied in its depiction of light, atmospheric conditions, and seasonal changes. This beautiful landscape with a haystack is a direct precursor to the haystack series for which Monet is so well-known.
The land on which Monet painted this view of poplar trees was a ten-minute walk just south of his Giverny lily pond, near the Epte River. The hill along the right side of the painting suggests he set up his easel looking west toward the Seine River.
Prairie, Ciel Nuageux’s prestigious provenance also speaks to its important place within Monet’s oeuvre. The painting’s first owners, Bertha and Potter Palmer, acquired it directly from Monet through Paul Durand-Ruel in 1892. Bertha Honoré Palmer was a champion and major collector of impressionist paintings. Throughout her lifetime, she owned around 90 paintings by Monet, including a similar view from this same series and year now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Every piece in the Palmer’s collection, which included examples from other foremost Impressionists such as Renoir, Pissarro, and Degas, was of the highest quality. This collection would become the basis for the Art Institute of Chicago’s Impressionist collection, which is among the most important museum collections in the world.
While it is undeniably significant within Monet’s history, this canvas is also a standout for its beauty. It is a large-scale example, unlined, and retains all of the original thick impasto. Prairie, Ciel Nuageux is in remarkable condition for its size and age, and its colors – particularly the radiant ultramarine blues – have a vibrancy that is nearly unmatched by other Monet paintings outside of the most prestigious museum collections.
Claude Monet, “Self-Portrait with a Beret” (1886)
Claude Monet, his wife Alice Hoschede, and his primary dealer Paul Durand-Ruel at a Giverny lunch party in 1900
View of haystacks near Giverny
View of poplar trees in Giverny
Comparable Paintings Sold at Auction
- This painting is approximately 14% smaller than our piece
- It was recently on the market again for $12.5M
- It depicts the same viewpoint, but is not nearly as dynamic and lacks the iconic haystack
- This painting is approximately 14% smaller than our piece
- As in our painting, the haystack adds significantly to the composition and is among Monet’s most desirable subjects
- This painting is the same size, year, and subject, painted as a part of the same series as Prairie, Ciel Nuageux
- In the decade since this sale, Monet’s market has increased at a 7.9% annual rate of return (see graphs in Market Insights below)
Top Results at Auction
Paintings in Museum Collections
Since 1976, paintings by Monet have increased at an 8.6% annual rate of return.
In the last 10 years, Monet paintings have increased at a 7.9% annual rate of return, demonstrating the continued strength of the Monet market.
- The graphs prepared by Art Market Research (left) show that paintings by Monet have increased at an 8.6% annual rate of return since 1976, and a 7.9% annual rate of return in the last 10 years.
- Of the approximately 1,900 paintings by Monet in existence, there are currently about 800 paintings owned privately worldwide that could ever come up for sale. The balance will be held in perpetuity in museum collections. Over time, many of the 800 works held privately will inevitably make their way into museum collections, further limiting supply. Because of this limited supply, it is likely the value of Monet’s paintings will only increase over time.
- Of the remaining 800 paintings, even fewer are as of high quality, as beautiful, hold the historical significance, and are in as excellent condition as this painting, which is large, unlined, and retains all of the original thick impasto and vibrant color.
- A painting from the same series and of the same subject and size (Effet de printemps à Giverny, pictured in the comparable works above) sold 11 years ago for over $15M – when the market was not as strong as it is today.