CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
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CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
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Property from the Olsen Collection
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)

Sandviken, Norvège, effet de neige

CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
Sandviken, Norvège, effet de neige
signed and dated 'Claude Monet 95' (lower left)
oil on canvas
28 7⁄8 x 36 3⁄8 in. (73.2 x 92.2 cm.)
Painted in 1895
Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Paris (gift from the artist, January 1900).
Austin L. Adams, New York (acquired from the above, 27 May 1929); sale, Parke Bernet, New York, 15 October 1969, lot 18.
Elliot and Ruth Handler, Los Angeles (acquired at the above sale); sale, Sotheby's, New York, 13 November 1985, lot 48.
The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise, Oslo (acquired at the above sale); sale, Sotheby's, London, 19 June 2006, lot 11.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
G. Geffroy, Claude Monet: Sa vie, son temps, son œuvre, Paris, 1922 (illustrated opposite p. 257; titled Le village de Sandviken).
M. Elder, A Giverny, chez Claude Monet, Paris, 1924, p. 86 (illustrated, pl. 35).
C. Léger, Claude Monet, Paris, 1930 (illustrated, pl. 28).
L. Venturi, Les archives de l'Impressionnisme, Paris, 1939, vol. I, p. 374, letter 247.
M. Malingue, Claude Monet, Monaco, 1943 (illustrated, pl. 132).
O. Reuterswärd, Monet, Stockholm, 1948 (illustrated in color, p. 208; titled Husen i snön. Parti av Sandviken i Norge med Løkkebron).
G. Besson, Claude Monet, Paris, 1949 (illustrated, pl. 52).
K. Hellandsjö, Monet i Norge, Høvikodden, 1974, p. 18 (illustrated).
D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1979, vol. III, p. 184, no. 1398 (illustrated, p. 185).
C.F. Stuckey, ed., Monet: A Retrospective, New York, 1985, p. 168 (illustrated).
M. Alphant, Claude Monet: Une vie dans le paysage, Paris, 1993, p. 546.
M. Alphant, Claude Monet in Norway, Paris, 1994, p. 38 (illustrated in color; illustrated again in color on the dust-jacket).
D. Wildenstein, Monet: Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1996, vol. III, p. 780, no. 1398 (illustrated, p. 579).
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Tableaux de Claude Monet, May 1895, no. 30 (titled Village de Sandviken).
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Monet, January-April 1900, no. 23.
London, Grafton Galleries, Pictures by Boudin, Manet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Morisot, Sisley, January-February 1905, no. 150.
Paris, Galerie Manzi-Joyant et Cie., Exposition d'Art Moderne, June-July 1912, no. 134 (titled Effet de neige).
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Claude Monet, January 1928, no. 65.
Madrid, Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo, Claude Monet, April-June 1986, pp. 494-495, no. 82 (illustrated in color, p. 357; illustrated again, p. 494).
Oslo, Nasjonalgalleriet, 1986-2006 (on extended loan).
Stavanger, Rogaland Kunstmuseum and Paris, Musée Rodin, Monet i Norge, July-December 1995, pp. 85, 179 and 185 (illustrated in color, p. 85; illustrated again, p. 179).
Charlottenlund, Ordrupgaard, Monet i Norway, January-April 1996 (illustrated in color).
Treviso, Casa dei Carraresi, Monet: I luoghi della pittura, September 2001-February 2002, pp. 387-388, no. 62 (illustrated in color).
Torino, Palazzina della Società Promotrice delle Belle Arti, Gli Impressionisti e la neve, November 2004-April 2005, pp. 314 and 395, no. 144 (illustrated in color, p. 314; illustrated again, p. 395).
Høvikodden, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Claude Monet og Baerum, June-August 2020.

Brought to you by

Emily Kaplan
Emily Kaplan Senior Vice President, Senior Specialist, Co-Head of 20th Century Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Claude Monet’s Sandviken, Norvège, effet de neige was painted during a creatively fulfilling two month sojourn the artist spent in Norway. Monet had journeyed north during the opening weeks of 1895, travelling by train and boat through the snowy landscapes of Europe to reach the city of Christiania, now Oslo. His decision to travel to this mythical country was partly motivated by a wish to check on his stepson, Jacques Hoschedé, who had moved there in June of the previous year in order to improve his mastery of the Norwegian language. However, it was the promise of striking new motifs, of extreme atmospheric effects and intriguing light conditions, which had ultimately driven the artist to undertake the voyage, leaving his family, his home at Giverny, and the beautiful gardens he had cultivated there, for a new adventure.
“I am enchanted by everything I see in this marvelous country,” he wrote from Norway at the end of February. “I have been on sleigh-rides lasting four days at a time in the mountains, on the fjords, over the lakes, it was marvelous!” (letter to G. Geffroy, 26 February 1895; quoted in Monet in Norway, exh. cat., Rogaland Kunstmuseum, Stavanger, 1995, p. 161). Though enamored by the extraordinary vistas he encountered, Monet was initially frustrated in his search for suitable subjects amid the snow covered landscapes, and it took him several weeks to settle down to paint. The extreme weather, combined with the artist’s inability to ski, meant that he was restricted to locations that were within easy reach of inns or railway stations, relying as he did on horses, sleighs and trains to complete his journeys. His perseverance was soon rewarded, though, with the discovery of Sandviken (also known as Sandvika), roughly fifteen kilometers west of Christiania and situated on a fjord of the same name, and the small village of Bjørnegaard. This tiny hamlet was little more than a cluster of houses, gathered in the shadow of the majestic Mont Kolsås, but it offered the artist the untouched, serene winter landscape that he had been searching for, available within a short walk from his lodgings.
Monet stuck to a rigorous timetable during his stay in Sandviken, rising every day at 6:30 am, before starting work at 8:00 am. He took a brief break in the afternoon for lunch, then carried on painting until the sun set for the evening. Jacques Hoschedé was Monet’s constant companion during his painting excursions, travelling with the artist through the frozen countryside, even building himself a small ice house in the snow in which he could shelter and study his Norwegian grammar while Monet painted. Equipped with a shovel, a sled, and a large parasol in addition to the traditional painting supplies, the pair would venture out into the quiet landscape, wrapped in layers of winter clothing and furs to protect themselves against the frigid temperatures, digging pathways through the deep snow to reach the most picturesque views. Monet took pride in reporting to his wife Alice that the Norwegians were impressed by his stamina and endurance in the face of the extreme cold, even going so far as to claim that he was able to spend much longer outside than some of the locals. Writing to the journalist Gustave Geffroy, the artist described painting directly before his motifs, en plein air, even in the most arduous conditions: “I have been painting today… in the snow which falls incessantly; you would have laughed to see me entirely white, my beard covered with little icicles like stalactites” (quoted in ibid., p. 71).
Created at the beginning of March 1895, Sandviken, Norvège, effet de neige captures the picturesque beauty of this location, taking an expansive view of the village that includes the snow-covered roofs of the colorful houses, the arching profile of the iron Løkke bridge and the imposing peak of Mont Kolsås in the distance. A clear source of inspiration for many of Monet’s paintings from Norway were the Japanese ukiyo-e prints, of which he was an avid collector. Indeed, he compared Sandviken to a Japanese village in several letters to his family, and referred to Mont Kolsås as “Fuji-yama.” There are a number of similarities between the compositional structure of Sandviken, Norvège, effet de neige and several of Utagawa Hiroshige’s snow scenes from his iconic series of prints, Fifty-Three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road. For example, the manner in which the village appears nestled between the curving bank of snow in the foreground and the rising mountain in the distance recalls the almost decoupage layering of Hiroshige’s scenes, while the curving bridge to the left of the painting, connecting the two banks of the waterway, leads the eye through the composition and into the very heart of the village. Building the scene using a network of thick, densely layered brushstrokes, heavily laden with paint, Monet conveys a sense of the unique, crisp beauty of the Norwegian winter, and the feeling of dense silence that blanketed the snow-bound landscape as he painted.
In January 1900, Monet gifted Sandviken, Norvège, effet de neige to Paul Durand-Ruel, his primary dealer of the period, whom he had met almost three decades earlier in 1871. Durand-Ruel played an integral role in the promotion of Monet and the Impressionists through the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, particularly in America, and the present canvas was included in several early exhibitions, including Pictures by Boudin, Cezanne, Degas, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, at the Grafton Galleries in London, January to February 1905. The painting remained in Durand-Ruel’s personal collection until his death.
It was later acquired by Elliot and Ruth Handler, co-founders of Mattel and the inventors of some of the best-selling children's toys of the twentieth century, from Chatty Cathy to Hot Wheels, and most notably, Barbie. Elliot was an aspiring artist when the couple had first met, and following their move to Los Angeles, he designed furniture for their new home using plexiglass and lucite. Ruth encouraged him to turn this into a business creating picture frames, and during World War II they began using left-over off-cuts from these products to create furniture for dolls houses, soon transitioning fully into toy manufacturing and establishing Mattel. With the launch of Barbie in 1959, which was the brainchild of Ruth and named after their daughter Barbara, they revolutionized the toy industry. The Handlers built a diverse art collection over the years, which they displayed throughout their Los Angeles home—there, Sandviken, Norvège, effet de neige would have hung alongside works by Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Pierre Bonnard, among many other well-known Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists.

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