Claude Monet (1840-1926)

Mont Kolsaas, Norvge

Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Monet, C.
Mont Kolsaas, Norvge
stamped with signature 'Claude Monet' (Lugt 1819b; lower right)
oil on canvas
25 x 39 in. (64.8 x 100.3 cm.)
Painted in 1895
Michel Monet, Giverny.
Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York.
Nathan Bernstein Gallery, New York.
Anon. sale, Habsburg Feldman Inc., New York, 15 May 1990, lot 14.
D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet, Biographie et Catalogue raisonn, Lausanne, 1979, vol. III (1887-1898), p. 190, no. 1418 (illustrated, p. 191; without estate stamp).
D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet, Catalogue raisonn, Lausanne, 1991, vol. V (Supplment aux peintures, dessins, pastels), p. 50, no. 1418.
D. Wildenstein, Monet, Catalogue raisonn, Cologne, 1996, vol. III (nos. 969-1595), p. 587, no. 1418 (illustrated, p. 585).

Lot Essay

Monet's chief reason for traveling to Norway in early 1895 was to visit his stepson Jacques Hosched and to find out if he planned to return with his Norwegian wife to the Monet family home in Giverny. The painter had also heard about the natural splendors of the country from artists such as Fritz Thaulow, and he intended to paint during his stay.

Arriving in Christiana (now Oslo) in the middle of winter, Monet was disappointed to find everything submerged in snow. Traveling and working outdoors proved to be difficult for the artist. After a few weeks of accomplishing little, he traveled with Jacques to Sandviken, a town about three-quarters of an hour from Christiana. Visible from all points in the vicinity, Mount Kolsaas dominates the landscape.

Monet owned a portfolio of Hokusai's thirty-six views of Mount Fuji, and although he had no first-hand knowledge of Japan, Monet wrote to Blanche Hosched that Sandviken "looks a lot like a Japanese village" and that Mount Kolsaas "makes one think of Fuji-Yama." Hokusai's bold, simplified presentation of the mountain was an important influence on Monet's approach to painting Mount Kolsaas. He produced thirteen paintings in all (exactly half of his total output in Norway) depicting the mountain at different times of day and in different atmospheric conditions.

"Like Czanne's struggles with Mont Sainte-Victoire, Monet was clearly attempting to possess this mountain and transform it into an art object while trying at the same time to allow it to assert itself as a monumental triumph of nature that could evoke deep sensations" (P.H. Tucker, Monet in the '90s: The Series Paintings, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1989, p. 171).

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