Victor Chocquet, Paris.
Marie Chocquet, Paris (by descent from the above); Estate sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1-4 July 1899, lot 77.
Dumas d’Hauterive, France (acquired at the above sale).
Lorenzo Crist Delmonico, New York (until 1901).
Boussod, Valadon et Cie., Paris (acquired from the above, 3 April 1901).
Henry Osborne Havemeyer, New York (acquired from the above, 19 April 1901).
Louisine Waldron Elder Havemeyer, New York (by descent from the above, 1907).
Adaline Havemeyer Frelinghuysen, Morristown, New Jersey (by descent from the above, 1929).
By descent from the above to the present owner.
PROPERTY FROM THE H.O. HAVEMEYER COLLECTION
From its creation in 1874, Au Petit-Gennevilliers has assumed a place not only within Claude Monet’s exceptional oeuvre, but also in association with two of the most storied names in American connoisseurship and public service. A magnificent inheritance from the collecting legacy of Henry Osborne Havemeyer and his wife, Louisine Waldron Elder Havemeyer, the canvas is similarly connected with New Jersey’s illustrious Frelinghuysen family. Au Petit-Gennevilliers reflects the heart and hand of one of art history’s greatest masters, and a tradition of cultural and civic patronage that continues to this day.
THE GIFT OF ART
In the annals of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American industry, the Havemeyers sit alongside the Morgans, Carnegies, Astors, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts in achievement and renown. Even today, these same families are recognized as some of the United States’ earliest and most prolific cultural benefactors. In the case of H.O. Havemeyer and his wife, Louisine, it was a passion for fine art—one that encompassed leading figures of the art historical canon—that forever changed the country’s philanthropic and artistic landscape.
A third-generation sugar refiner and businessman, H.O. Havemeyer expanded his family’s American Sugar Refining Company into one of the nineteenth century’s largest and most prosperous industrial operations. From testing sugar on the docks at the age of fifteen, Havemeyer rose to become president of the firm and founder of what was known as the Sugar Trust. The collector’s tremendous success, a colorful and oftentimes turbulent tale within a nation’s wider growth, provided the foundation for one of the finest assemblages of art in the history of collecting.
Havemeyer first saw the possibilities in art at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, where he acquired several works of ivory, armor, and Asian art. Yet it was through his wife, the fiercely intelligent and independent Louisine Havemeyer, that he fully embraced a decades-long journey in collecting. Mrs. Havemeyer, for her part, was enthralled by the dynamic art and architecture of contemporary France, instilled during her time at boarding school in Paris. “The people love art,” she said of the French, “the people know art, the people buy art, the people live with their art.” When a fellow student introduced her to Mary Cassatt—an artist just ten years older than Louisine Havemeyer—a lifelong friendship was born. Cassatt would go on to produce several works depicting Mrs. Havemeyer and her children, and advised the collectors in some of their most important commissions and acquisitions.
Married in 1883, H.O. and Louisine Havemeyer were fervent, groundbreaking collectors. Assembled with careful scholarship and discernment, the Havemeyer Collection included not only superb nineteenth-century French painting, sculpture, and works on paper, but also Old Master pictures, decorative art, Asian art, and antiquities. It was, in the words of collector Albert C. Barnes, “the best and wisest collection in America.” The couple’s affinity for Impressionism proved to be especially prescient, and they were encouraged by Cassatt to consider work by artists such as Degas and Monet—two figures in which the Havemeyers’ collection was particularly strong. At their stately residences in Greenwich, Connecticut, and at 1 East 66th Street—both designed by Samuel Colman and Louis Comfort Tiffany—the Havemeyers’ zeal for fine art was fully evident. In rooms both grand and intimate, masterpieces by artists such as Corot, Courbet, Cézanne, and Manet hung alongside pictures by Rembrandt and El Greco, elegant examples of Islamic pottery, and resplendent Tiffany glass.
When H.O. Havemeyer died in 1907, Louisine Havemeyer devoted her boundless energies to the promotion of women’s rights. The collector provided significant financial backing and leadership to the efforts of suffragette Alice Paul, and even organized exhibitions of her collection to raise funds for the movement. At the time of her death in 1929, Mrs. Havemeyer bequeathed some 142 important works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in honor of her husband, joining gifts that had already been made during the couple’s lifetime. “One of the most magnificent gifts of works of art ever made to a museum,” it was reflective of the abundant generosity of spirit that had always informed H.O. and Louisine Havemeyer’s commitment to the public sphere. For the Met, the bequest was truly transformative, raising the institution to unparalleled international prominence. The couple’s three children soon donated over 300 additional inherited works to the museum, with other pieces gifted in the ensuing decades.
PROPERTY FROM THE H.O. HAVEMEYER COLLECTION
“Vente Chocquet” in New York Herald: Édition de Paris, 29 June 1899.
W. Dewhurst, Impressionist Painting: Its Genesis and Development, London, 1904, p. III (titled La seine à Argenteuil).
T. Duret, Histoire des peintres impressionnistes, Paris, 1906, p. 79 (illustrated).
G. Geffroy, Claude Monet: Sa vie, son temps, son oeuvre, Paris, 1922, p. 219 (titled Argenteuil).
H.O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art, Portland, 1931, p. 411 (titled Landscape–Argenteuil and dated 1873).
M. Rostand, Quelques amateurs de l’époque impressionniste, Paris, 1955, p. 154.
D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet: Biographie at catalogue raisonné, Geneva, 1974, vol. I, p. 258, no. 337 (illustrated).
D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet: Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1996, vol. II, p. 140, no. 337 (illustrated).
P.H. Tucker, The Impressionists at Argenteuil, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2000, p. 32, fig. 25 (illustrated; titled Boats Along the Banks of the Seine at Petit Gennevilliers).
A. Distel, "Inventar des Hauses von Victor Choquet an der Rue Monsigny 7, Paris" in Victor Choquet: Freund und Sammler der Impressionisten, Renoir, Cezanne, Monet, Manet, 2015, p. 199, fig. 84 (illustrated).
Palm Beach, The Society of the Four Arts, Claude Monet, January-February 1958, no. 10 (dated 1873 and titled The Barges at Argenteuil).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection, March-June 1993, p. 363, no. 396 (illustrated, p. 362).
Washington, D.C., The Phillips Collection, Impressionists on the Seine: A Celebration of Renoir's "Luncheon of the Boating Party," September 1996-February 1997, p. 256, no. 24 (illustrated in color).