Sargent and Monet

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    Letter from Sargent to Monet, December 28, 1894 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
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    Letter from Sargent to Monet, December 28, 1894 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
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    John Singer Sargent, “Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood”, 1885
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    John Singer Sargent, “Claude Monet”, 1887

“Believe it or not, but my thoughts often turn to you and to Giverny…” wrote American expatriate artist John Singer Sargent to the great Impressionist Claude Monet in 1894. One of the most important portraitists of his day, Sargent greatly admired the French painter and spent time with him at his famous residence and gardens. He purchased some of Monet’s paintings and even captured a scene of his friend at work in his 1887 painting, “Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood” and in another more formal portrait that same year. While it was common practice for artists to gift such sketches to each other, Sargent kept that particular piece for the rest of his life. The two formidable painters first met in 1876 and continued a correspondence, exchanging ideas, encouragements, and invitations. Later in that same letter from 1894, Sargent writes, “Every day in London there is beautiful, absinthe-coloured weather. Is not that enough to lure you here?”

In 2015, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston mounted an exhibition entitled “Yours Sincerely, John S. Sargent,” presenting letters, photographs, and sketches from the John Singer Sargent Archive. The exhibition included fifteen letters from Sargent to Monet offering a look at the friendship between two of art history’s most celebrated artists.

Photograph of John Singer Sargent by Sidney Robert Carter, c.1910
Photograph of John Singer Sargent by Sidney Robert Carter, c.1910

Art Detail

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CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)

 
The Wildenstein Catalogue Raisonné of Monet paintings offers a note on this painting: “During his second stay in Pourville-Varengeville, Monet painted the customs’ officer’s cottage several times and from various angles. This general view shows it overhanging the Gorge du petit Ailly." Monet spent six months in this part of Normandy in 1882, and the cabin in this painting was one of his favorite motifs to revisit. It appears in eighteen paintings from that year, and another dozen from a later trip to the area in 1897. His fixation with this house on the hill later became a habit of working serially – each canvas a singularity registering a unique guise yet set sequentially and in direct relationship to other works within the series. Monet circumambulated and painted the cabin from so many angles that as a group, the paintings are not as clearly recognizable as a series as the celebrated grain-stacks, Rouen cathedral, or poplar series. Still, it is a fixed and iconic element that reappears in many of Monet’s paintings from this period.
<br>
<br>Japanese woodblock prints were a life-long source of inspiration for Monet, and this piece in particular draws upon Hiroshige's "Utsu Mountain, Okabe," c. 1833. This print is part of a series called “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō,” which documented scenic views from the major road that linked the shōgun’s capital, Edo, to the imperial one Kyōto. Monet amassed an extensive collection of woodblock prints – many of which are still on view at Giverny. The Wildenstein Catalogue Raisonné of Monet paintings offers a note on this painting: “During his second stay in Pourville-Varengeville, Monet painted the customs’ officer’s cottage several times and from various angles. This general view shows it overhanging the Gorge du petit Ailly." Monet spent six months in this part of Normandy in 1882, and the cabin in this painting was one of his favorite motifs to revisit. It appears in eighteen paintings from that year, and another dozen from a later trip to the area in 1897. His fixation with this house on the hill later became a habit of working serially – each canvas a singularity registering a unique guise yet set sequentially and in direct relationship to other works within the series. Monet circumambulated and painted the cabin from so many angles that as a group, the paintings are not as clearly recognizable as a series as the celebrated grain-stacks, Rouen cathedral, or poplar series. Still, it is a fixed and iconic element that reappears in many of Monet’s paintings from this period.
<br>
<br>Japanese woodblock prints were a life-long source of inspiration for Monet, and this piece in particular draws upon Hiroshige's "Utsu Mountain, Okabe," c. 1833. This print is part of a series called “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō,” which documented scenic views from the major road that linked the shōgun’s capital, Edo, to the imperial one Kyōto. Monet amassed an extensive collection of woodblock prints – many of which are still on view at Giverny. The Wildenstein Catalogue Raisonné of Monet paintings offers a note on this painting: “During his second stay in Pourville-Varengeville, Monet painted the customs’ officer’s cottage several times and from various angles. This general view shows it overhanging the Gorge du petit Ailly." Monet spent six months in this part of Normandy in 1882, and the cabin in this painting was one of his favorite motifs to revisit. It appears in eighteen paintings from that year, and another dozen from a later trip to the area in 1897. His fixation with this house on the hill later became a habit of working serially – each canvas a singularity registering a unique guise yet set sequentially and in direct relationship to other works within the series. Monet circumambulated and painted the cabin from so many angles that as a group, the paintings are not as clearly recognizable as a series as the celebrated grain-stacks, Rouen cathedral, or poplar series. Still, it is a fixed and iconic element that reappears in many of Monet’s paintings from this period.
<br>
<br>Japanese woodblock prints were a life-long source of inspiration for Monet, and this piece in particular draws upon Hiroshige's "Utsu Mountain, Okabe," c. 1833. This print is part of a series called “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō,” which documented scenic views from the major road that linked the shōgun’s capital, Edo, to the imperial one Kyōto. Monet amassed an extensive collection of woodblock prints – many of which are still on view at Giverny. The Wildenstein Catalogue Raisonné of Monet paintings offers a note on this painting: “During his second stay in Pourville-Varengeville, Monet painted the customs’ officer’s cottage several times and from various angles. This general view shows it overhanging the Gorge du petit Ailly." Monet spent six months in this part of Normandy in 1882, and the cabin in this painting was one of his favorite motifs to revisit. It appears in eighteen paintings from that year, and another dozen from a later trip to the area in 1897. His fixation with this house on the hill later became a habit of working serially – each canvas a singularity registering a unique guise yet set sequentially and in direct relationship to other works within the series. Monet circumambulated and painted the cabin from so many angles that as a group, the paintings are not as clearly recognizable as a series as the celebrated grain-stacks, Rouen cathedral, or poplar series. Still, it is a fixed and iconic element that reappears in many of Monet’s paintings from this period.
<br>
<br>Japanese woodblock prints were a life-long source of inspiration for Monet, and this piece in particular draws upon Hiroshige's "Utsu Mountain, Okabe," c. 1833. This print is part of a series called “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō,” which documented scenic views from the major road that linked the shōgun’s capital, Edo, to the imperial one Kyōto. Monet amassed an extensive collection of woodblock prints – many of which are still on view at Giverny. The Wildenstein Catalogue Raisonné of Monet paintings offers a note on this painting: “During his second stay in Pourville-Varengeville, Monet painted the customs’ officer’s cottage several times and from various angles. This general view shows it overhanging the Gorge du petit Ailly." Monet spent six months in this part of Normandy in 1882, and the cabin in this painting was one of his favorite motifs to revisit. It appears in eighteen paintings from that year, and another dozen from a later trip to the area in 1897. His fixation with this house on the hill later became a habit of working serially – each canvas a singularity registering a unique guise yet set sequentially and in direct relationship to other works within the series. Monet circumambulated and painted the cabin from so many angles that as a group, the paintings are not as clearly recognizable as a series as the celebrated grain-stacks, Rouen cathedral, or poplar series. Still, it is a fixed and iconic element that reappears in many of Monet’s paintings from this period.
<br>
<br>Japanese woodblock prints were a life-long source of inspiration for Monet, and this piece in particular draws upon Hiroshige's "Utsu Mountain, Okabe," c. 1833. This print is part of a series called “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō,” which documented scenic views from the major road that linked the shōgun’s capital, Edo, to the imperial one Kyōto. Monet amassed an extensive collection of woodblock prints – many of which are still on view at Giverny. The Wildenstein Catalogue Raisonné of Monet paintings offers a note on this painting: “During his second stay in Pourville-Varengeville, Monet painted the customs’ officer’s cottage several times and from various angles. This general view shows it overhanging the Gorge du petit Ailly." Monet spent six months in this part of Normandy in 1882, and the cabin in this painting was one of his favorite motifs to revisit. It appears in eighteen paintings from that year, and another dozen from a later trip to the area in 1897. His fixation with this house on the hill later became a habit of working serially – each canvas a singularity registering a unique guise yet set sequentially and in direct relationship to other works within the series. Monet circumambulated and painted the cabin from so many angles that as a group, the paintings are not as clearly recognizable as a series as the celebrated grain-stacks, Rouen cathedral, or poplar series. Still, it is a fixed and iconic element that reappears in many of Monet’s paintings from this period.
<br>
<br>Japanese woodblock prints were a life-long source of inspiration for Monet, and this piece in particular draws upon Hiroshige's "Utsu Mountain, Okabe," c. 1833. This print is part of a series called “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō,” which documented scenic views from the major road that linked the shōgun’s capital, Edo, to the imperial one Kyōto. Monet amassed an extensive collection of woodblock prints – many of which are still on view at Giverny. The Wildenstein Catalogue Raisonné of Monet paintings offers a note on this painting: “During his second stay in Pourville-Varengeville, Monet painted the customs’ officer’s cottage several times and from various angles. This general view shows it overhanging the Gorge du petit Ailly." Monet spent six months in this part of Normandy in 1882, and the cabin in this painting was one of his favorite motifs to revisit. It appears in eighteen paintings from that year, and another dozen from a later trip to the area in 1897. His fixation with this house on the hill later became a habit of working serially – each canvas a singularity registering a unique guise yet set sequentially and in direct relationship to other works within the series. Monet circumambulated and painted the cabin from so many angles that as a group, the paintings are not as clearly recognizable as a series as the celebrated grain-stacks, Rouen cathedral, or poplar series. Still, it is a fixed and iconic element that reappears in many of Monet’s paintings from this period.
<br>
<br>Japanese woodblock prints were a life-long source of inspiration for Monet, and this piece in particular draws upon Hiroshige's "Utsu Mountain, Okabe," c. 1833. This print is part of a series called “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō,” which documented scenic views from the major road that linked the shōgun’s capital, Edo, to the imperial one Kyōto. Monet amassed an extensive collection of woodblock prints – many of which are still on view at Giverny. The Wildenstein Catalogue Raisonné of Monet paintings offers a note on this painting: “During his second stay in Pourville-Varengeville, Monet painted the customs’ officer’s cottage several times and from various angles. This general view shows it overhanging the Gorge du petit Ailly." Monet spent six months in this part of Normandy in 1882, and the cabin in this painting was one of his favorite motifs to revisit. It appears in eighteen paintings from that year, and another dozen from a later trip to the area in 1897. His fixation with this house on the hill later became a habit of working serially – each canvas a singularity registering a unique guise yet set sequentially and in direct relationship to other works within the series. Monet circumambulated and painted the cabin from so many angles that as a group, the paintings are not as clearly recognizable as a series as the celebrated grain-stacks, Rouen cathedral, or poplar series. Still, it is a fixed and iconic element that reappears in many of Monet’s paintings from this period.
<br>
<br>Japanese woodblock prints were a life-long source of inspiration for Monet, and this piece in particular draws upon Hiroshige's "Utsu Mountain, Okabe," c. 1833. This print is part of a series called “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō,” which documented scenic views from the major road that linked the shōgun’s capital, Edo, to the imperial one Kyōto. Monet amassed an extensive collection of woodblock prints – many of which are still on view at Giverny. The Wildenstein Catalogue Raisonné of Monet paintings offers a note on this painting: “During his second stay in Pourville-Varengeville, Monet painted the customs’ officer’s cottage several times and from various angles. This general view shows it overhanging the Gorge du petit Ailly." Monet spent six months in this part of Normandy in 1882, and the cabin in this painting was one of his favorite motifs to revisit. It appears in eighteen paintings from that year, and another dozen from a later trip to the area in 1897. His fixation with this house on the hill later became a habit of working serially – each canvas a singularity registering a unique guise yet set sequentially and in direct relationship to other works within the series. Monet circumambulated and painted the cabin from so many angles that as a group, the paintings are not as clearly recognizable as a series as the celebrated grain-stacks, Rouen cathedral, or poplar series. Still, it is a fixed and iconic element that reappears in many of Monet’s paintings from this period.
<br>
<br>Japanese woodblock prints were a life-long source of inspiration for Monet, and this piece in particular draws upon Hiroshige's "Utsu Mountain, Okabe," c. 1833. This print is part of a series called “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō,” which documented scenic views from the major road that linked the shōgun’s capital, Edo, to the imperial one Kyōto. Monet amassed an extensive collection of woodblock prints – many of which are still on view at Giverny. The Wildenstein Catalogue Raisonné of Monet paintings offers a note on this painting: “During his second stay in Pourville-Varengeville, Monet painted the customs’ officer’s cottage several times and from various angles. This general view shows it overhanging the Gorge du petit Ailly." Monet spent six months in this part of Normandy in 1882, and the cabin in this painting was one of his favorite motifs to revisit. It appears in eighteen paintings from that year, and another dozen from a later trip to the area in 1897. His fixation with this house on the hill later became a habit of working serially – each canvas a singularity registering a unique guise yet set sequentially and in direct relationship to other works within the series. Monet circumambulated and painted the cabin from so many angles that as a group, the paintings are not as clearly recognizable as a series as the celebrated grain-stacks, Rouen cathedral, or poplar series. Still, it is a fixed and iconic element that reappears in many of Monet’s paintings from this period.
<br>
<br>Japanese woodblock prints were a life-long source of inspiration for Monet, and this piece in particular draws upon Hiroshige's "Utsu Mountain, Okabe," c. 1833. This print is part of a series called “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō,” which documented scenic views from the major road that linked the shōgun’s capital, Edo, to the imperial one Kyōto. Monet amassed an extensive collection of woodblock prints – many of which are still on view at Giverny.
Le Chemin du Petit Ailly a Varengeville188223 1/2 x 28 7/8 in. oil on canvas
Provenance
Probably Durand-Ruel, Paris, purchased from the artist, 16 October 1882
Georges Petit, Paris, 10 September 1883
Durand-Ruel, Paris, purchased from the above, 8 May 1899
Durand-Ruel, New York, transferred from the above, July 1913
Mme d'Alayer, née Marie-Louise Durand-Ruel, grand-daughter of Paul Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1949
Sale: Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 6 June 1956, lot 71
Private Collection, France, acquired at the above sale
Private Collection, acquired from the above
Private Collection, acquired circa 2014
Literature
Durand-Ruel Photograph no. 3254.1
D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet. Biographie et Catalogue Raisonne?, Paris, 1979, no. 803, vol. II, p. 92 (ill., p. 93).
D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet.
...More...Catalogue Raisonne?, Paris, 1991, vol. V, p. 40, no. 803.
D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet. Catalogue Raisonne?, Cologne, 1996, no. 803 vol. II, pp. 298-299, (ill., p. 299).
...LESS...
The Wildenstein Catalogue Raisonné of Monet paintings offers a note on this painting: “During his second stay in Pourville-Varengeville, Monet painted the customs’ officer’s cottage several times and from various angles. This general view shows it overhanging the Gorge du petit Ailly." Monet spent six months in this part of Normandy in 1882, and the cabin in this painting was one of his favorite motifs to revisit. It appears in eighteen paintings from that year, and another dozen from a later trip to the area in 1897. His fixation with this house on the hill later became a habit of working serially – each canvas a singularity registering a unique guise yet set sequentially and in direct relationship to other works within the series. Monet circumambulated and painted the cabin from so many angles that as a group, the paintings are not as clearly recognizable as a series as the celebrated grain-stacks, Rouen cathedral, or poplar series. Still, it is a fixed and iconic element that reappears in many of Monet’s paintings from this period.

Japanese woodblock prints were a life-long source of inspiration for Monet, and this piece in particular draws upon Hiroshige's "Utsu Mountain, Okabe," c. 1833. This print is part of a series called “The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō,” which documented scenic views from the major road that linked the shōgun’s capital, Edo, to the imperial one Kyōto. Monet amassed an extensive collection of woodblock prints – many of which are still on view at Giverny.
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