CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
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CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
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CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)

Le panier de pommes

Details
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
Le panier de pommes
signed and dated 'Claude Monet 1880' (upper right)
oil on canvas
25 5/8 x 32 in. (65.2 x 81.3 cm.)
Painted in 1880
Provenance
Frederic Delius, Paris (acquired from the artist, October 1880).
Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Paris (acquired from the above, 1 June 1896).
Paul Durand-Ruel, Paris (acquired from the above, by 1901, then by descent); sale, Christie's, New York, 1 November 2005, lot 1.
Acquavella Galleries, Inc., New York (acquired at the above sale).
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 9 January 2006.
Literature
G. Geoffrey, "Chronique: Cl. Monet" in La Justice, vol. 4, no. 1155, 15 March 1883, p. 2 (titled Pommes).
G. Grappe, Paris, 1909, p. 43 (illustrated).
G. Lecomte, "Claude Monet ou le vieux chêne de Giverny" in La Renaissance, vol. 3, no. 1, January 1920, p. 408 (illustrated).
A. Alexandre, Claude Monet, 1921, p. 69 (titled Corbeille de pommes).
L. Venturi, Les archives de l'Impressionnisme, Paris, 1939, vol. I, p. 248.
D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1974, vol. I, p. 384, no. 630 (illustrated, p. 385).
S. Monneret, "L'Impressionnisme et son époque" in Dictionnaire International, Paris, 1978, vol. I, p. 190 (titled Corbeille de pommes).
D. Wildenstein, Monet: Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1996, vol. II, p. 240, no. 630 (illustrated).
Exhibited
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Catalogue de l'exposition des œuvres de Claude Monet, March 1883, no. 5.
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Exposition de tableaux de Monet, Pissarro, Renoir et Sisley, April 1899, no. 9.
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Exposition de natures mortes par Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, A. André, G. d'Espagnat, Lerolle, April-May 1908, no. 9.
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Œuvres importantes de Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, January 1925, p. 5, no. 31 (titled Nature morte, pommes).
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings by the Master Impressionists, November 1932, no. 7.
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Masterpieces by Claude Monet, March-April 1933, no. 7.
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings by the Master Impressionists, October-November 1934, no. 11.
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Exposition de tableaux, Claude Monet, de 1865 à 1888, November-December 1935, no. 32.
New York, Durand-Ruel Galleries, Monet to Picasso, Still Life, March 1944, no. 12.
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Exposition Claude Monet, May-September 1959, no. 27.
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Claude Monet, January-February 1970, no. 25.
Special notice

On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.

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Vanessa Fusco
Vanessa Fusco Head of 20th Century Evening Sale, Head of Impressionist and Modern Art

Lot Essay

In the winter of 1879 to 1880, bouts of extreme weather— snow, ice and wind—forced Claude Monet to pause his plein air painting practice. He had spent much of the past year depicting the rural landscape surrounding Vétheuil, a charming commune northwest of Paris. Rather than abandon his easel and palette, however, Monet turned his focus indoors, to a series of still-life paintings. Even after the thaw of spring, Monet continued to explore this genre in earnest, painting exuberant flower bouquets as well as abundant piles of fruit—including the present work, Le panier de pommes.
Monet was, after all, the son of a grocer and he was intimately familiar with the simple beauty of bountiful produce. According to art historian Douglas Cooper, Monet’s renewed interest in still-life painting in 1880 may be further attributed to a “desire to experiment, or to commercial considerations, or perhaps to the example of his close friend Renoir, who also painted many at this same time” ("The Monets in the Metropolitan Museum,” Metropolitan Museum Journal, vol. 3, 1970, p. 297). Whatever his motivation, the nature morte genre offered Monet the opportunity to show off the remarkable versatility of his brushwork: “Monet could vary his handling to suit the subject, going from the more tactile and texturally differentiated handling of the fruits to the luminous, feathery, and virile handling of the flowers” (ibid., p. 297).
Le panier de pommes certainly demonstrates Monet’s keen powers of observation, as well as his evocative Impressionist facture. With thick, unblended strokes of paint, he conveyed the dynamic play of light upon the smooth, waxy surface of golden, ruby-red, and lime-green apples, as well as the rough woven basket that contained them. The surface of the wooden table, the shadows cast by the bulbous fruit, and the very air that surrounds the composition are all similarly animated by lively, hatch marks of blue and green; the overall effect is a splendidly energetic one.
The first owner of Le panier de pommes, Frederick Delius, was an English-born composer best known for his orchestral nocturne, Paris: The Song of a Great City (1889)—inspired by the electric nightlife of the city of lights. In the words of a contemporary musical critic: “For Delius, Paris is not merely a city of France…it is a corner of his own soul. All the riotous gaiety and all the wonder and passion of these Parisian nights have been felt by the composer even more intensely than by the throng that surrounds him” (P. Heseltine, “Some Notes on Delius and His Music,” in The Musical Times, vol. 56, no. 865, 1 March 1915, p. 139). In Paris, Delius also began to socialize with avant-garde painters and to collect contemporary art. In October 1880 he acquired two fruit still-life paintings directly from Monet for 1,400 francs— Le panier de pommes, as well Poires et raisin (Wildenstein, no. 631), now in the collection of the Hamburger Kunsthalle.
In 1896, Delius sold both canvases to the Galerie Durand-Ruel. Le panier de pommes remained with the Durand-Ruel family for over a century, until it sold at auction at Christie’s New York in 2005. Throughout the twentieth-century, the canvas was included in a number of exhibitions at the Durand-Ruel galleries in both Paris and New York—beginning with the March 1883 solo show at 9 Boulevard de la Madeleine, one of the first exclusively devoted to the artist in his lifetime. In his letters to his primary dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, Monet bemoaned the 1883 exhibition of fifty-six works as a “fiasco” and a “catastrophe,” due in part to poor sales; even his fellow Impressionist Camille Pissarro admitted to his son Lucien that “the Monet exhibition, which is marvelous, is not making a penny at the door” (quoted in D. Wildenstein, op. cit., 1996, vol. I, p. 186).
Even if it was not particularly lucrative, the 1883 Durand-Ruel exhibition was still a critical success. The art critic Gustave Geffroy, for example—who would soon become one of Monet’s most passionate defenders—wrote in La Justice that “the painter exhausts himself in rendering all the details of color, all the accidents of light” that exist in nature (“Chronique: Claude Monet,” in La Justice, 15 March 1883, p. 1). While acknowledging Monet’s accomplishments in the genre of landscape, Geffroy reserved special praise for his still-life paintings, including Le panier de pommes:
“It happens that the light, refined to excess, penetrates the colors, ends up changing the nature of the objects, which become transparent, seemingly illuminated from within by a lively brightness, which competes with that of daylight. Apples—very beautiful, moreover, round and hard, that fill the basket well—play the role of lanterns” (ibid., p. 2).
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