CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE ASIAN COLLECTION
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)

Yport, la nuit

CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
Yport, la nuit
stamped with the signature 'Claude Monet' (Lugt 1819b; lower right on the mount)
pastel on paper
5 ¼ x 10 ¼ in. (13.2 x 26.1 cm.)
The artist's estate.
Michel Monet, Giverny, by descent from the above.
Rolande Verneiges, France, a gift from the above, and thence by descent; their sale, Christie's, Hong Kong, 26 November 2017, lot 118.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet, Catalogue raisonné, vol. V, Supplément aux peintures, dessins, pastels, Lausanne, 1991, no. P 6, p. 156 (illustrated).
Special notice
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Lot Essay

The small group of pastels which Monet executed in the quiet town of Yport on the Normandy coast are somewhat unique within his œuvre – they are among only a handful of motifs which the artist chose not to return to in his later oil paintings. Recording the play of light and atmospheric conditions above a largely featureless stretch of ground, Yport, la nuit stands as a tribute to the romantic landscape tradition, popular in Germany during the 19th century. Echoing the powerfully evocative landscapes of Caspar David Friedrich, Monet uses a limited colour palette to capture the scene, filling the composition with an enveloping darkness that is punctuated by just a small amount of light from the shining moon that escapes through a break in the clouds. Highlighting the rich forms of the night sky, this patch of light also perfectly frames the silhouette of the house further along the path, the only sign of human presence in Monet's landscape.

Monet's experiments in pastel may be traced back to the influence of one of his earliest mentors, the pioneering plein-air painter, Eugène Boudin. According to several sources, Monet first met Boudin when he was just seventeen years old, at a busy shop in the centre of Le Havre, Gravier's, where both artists were exhibiting their work. Impressed by Monet's caricatures, Boudin encouraged the young man to take his art further and invited him on a short painting excursion he was planning to take in the landscapes around the coastal town a few weeks later. Largely self-taught, Boudin's practice was firmly rooted in the close, palpable experience of his motifs, be they boats, harbours, beaches, towns or people, a technique that proved revelatory for the young Monet. In Boudin's eyes, 'everything painted directly on the spot always has a strength, a power, a vividness of touch that one doesn't find again in the studio' (Boudin, quoted in J. A. Ganz and R. Kendall, The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings, New Haven & London, p. 61). Central to Boudin's practice was the use of pastel to record his experiences before him, their pliable texture and soft finish allowing him to respond to the swiftly changing scene. These studies could then be used as the inspiration for future canvases, or as an aide-de-mémoire in the studio, feeding Boudin's creativity long after the scene had altered and disappeared.

For Monet, pastel opened his technique to a wealth of new motifs which he would otherwise have been unable to capture, allowing him to record even the most fugitive of natural phenomena on the spot with a rapidity and deftness that was impossible to achieve in oil paints.
Monet's pastel drawings are independent and complete works on their own and not preparatory studies for a more complete or finished image in another medium. The majority of Monet's pastels, therefore, were conceived as extensions to his pictorial repertoire. While he traveled widely and painted many different themes, Monet the pastellist narrowed his focus considerably to a more personal locale. The majority of his pastels can be traced to a small corner of Normandy, within a fifty-mile radius of the Seine estuary, where Monet grew up and took his first steps as an artist, and an area to which he would return to throughout his life.

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