CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
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CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more Property from a Distinguished Private Collection
CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)

Au jardin, la famille de l’artiste

CLAUDE MONET (1840-1926)
Au jardin, la famille de lartiste
signed ‘Claude Monet’ (lower right)
oil on canvas
23 ¾ x 31 ½ in. (60.5 x 80 cm.)
Painted in Argenteuil in 1875
Jean-Baptiste Faure, Paris (acquired from the artist, September 1875).
Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Paris (acquired from the above, 13 March 1907).
Baron Mór Lipót Herzog, Budapest (acquired from the above, 7 August 1911, until at least 1919).
Kurt M. and Henriette H. Hirschland, Essen, Amsterdam and later New York (1928, until circa 1960).
Jacques Lindon, New York.
Mr. and Mrs. David Bakalar, Boston (acquired from the above, 10 June 1965); sale, Sotheby’s, New York, 14 November 1984, lot 3.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
J.-B. Faure, Notice sur la collection J.-B. Faure, suivie du catalogue des tableaux formant cette collection, Paris, 1902, p. 34, no. 63 (titled L'artiste et sa famille and with incorrect dimensions).
A. Gold, "Berliner Kunstbrief" in Frankfurter Zeitung, 3 October 1906, no. 273 (titled Blumenbeet and dated 1876).
L. Eber, ed., Művészeti lexikon, Budapest, 1926, p. 111 (titled Erdő széle).
D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1974, vol. I, p. 278, no. 386 (illustrated, p. 279).
P.H. Tucker, Monet at Argenteuil, New Haven, 1982, pp. 149, 160 and 163 (illustrated in color, pl. XXVIII; titled In the Garden).
R. Gordon and A. Forge, Monet, New York, 1983, p. 290 (illustrated, p. 84).
D. Wildenstein, Claude Monet: Catalogue raisonné, Supplément aux peintures, dessins, pastels, Lausanne, 1991, vol. V, p. 30, no. 386.
D. Wildenstein, Monet: Catalogue raisonné, Cologne, 1996, vol. II, pp. 158-159, no. 386 (illustrated in color, p. 158).
B. Echte and W. Feilchenfeldt, eds., "Den Sinnen ein magischer Rausch," Kunstsalon Cassirer, Die Ausstellungen, 1905-1908, Wädenswil, 2013, vol. III, pp. 251, 266 and 268 (illustrated in color, p. 251; titled Blumenbeet).
P. Moinos, Lost Heritage: Hungarian Art Collectors in the Twentieth Century, Budapest, 2018, p. 296 (illustrated in color, p. 297; illustrated in situ at the 1919 exhibition).
J. Sándor, "Köztulajdonba vett műkincsek, 1919" in Magyar Művészet, Budapest, 2019, no. 2, pp. 30-31, note 24 (titled Művesz csaladja a kertben; illustrated in situ at the 1919 exhibition, p. 26).
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Exposition de 17 tableaux de Claude Monet de la collection Faure, March 1906, no. 12 (titled Massif de fleurs dans un parc and dated 1878).
Berlin, Paul Cassirer and Kunstverein Stuttgart, Manet-Monet-Ausstellung: Sammlung des französischen Opernsängers Faure, September-December 1906, p. 9, no. 33 and no. 26, respectively (titled Blumenbeet and dated 1876).
Budapest, Némzeti Szalon, Modern francia nagymesterek tárlata, December 1907, p. 17, no. 40 (titled Virágágy).
Kunsthalle Bremen, Internationale Kunstausstellung, February-March 1910.
Kunstverein Frankfurt, Die klassische Malerei Frankreichs im 19. Jahrhundert, July-September 1912, pp. 15 and 25, no. 82 (titled Blumenbeete).
Budapest, Mücsarnok, A köztulajdonba vett műkincsek első kiállítása, summer 1919, p. 45, no. 22 (titled Erdő széle).
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Emily Kaplan
Emily Kaplan Senior Vice President, Senior Specialist, Co-Head of 20th Century Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Filled with the warm glow of summer sunshine and the vibrant hues of flowers in full bloom, Claude Monet’s Au Jardin, la famille de l’artiste is a romantic portrait of the artist’s family, glimpsed in a moment of relaxed leisure, as they enjoy the calm, tranquil atmosphere of their private garden. Painted during the summer of 1875, just a year after the epoch-making First Impressionist Exhibition introduced the Salon-going public to the revolutionary plein-air aesthetic and modern-life themes of Monet and his comrades, the composition is a showcase for the artist’s classic Impressionist style, which reached its apogee at Argenteuil. Purchased directly from Monet shortly after its creation, the painting was last exhibited in 1919, and has remained in the same private collection for almost forty years.
While the motif of the private garden was a popular subject with several members of the Impressionist group during the early 1870s, it was Monet who most frequently painted members of his family at ease in the semi-formal gardens of their country home. The motif became increasingly important following his move to Argenteuil in 1871, a lively suburb of some eight thousand inhabitants, located on the right bank of the Seine just eleven kilometers west of the capital. Parisians knew it as an agréable petite ville, rapidly industrializing yet still postcard picturesque, and only fifteen minutes by rail from the Gare Saint-Lazare. As such, Argenteuil was known as an ideal destination for middle-class Parisians eager to escape the noise and grime of the city for fresh-air holidays and Sunday outings. Settling with his young family in a modest rental property close to the station, the artist quickly set about exploring the town’s charming motifs, drawing inspiration from the lively traffic along the Seine, the old town at the center of the village, and the abundant plant life that flourished in his own garden. It was here, working en plein air as he studied the fleeting, fugitive effects of weather and light on the landscape, that Monet solidified his Impressionist idiom, creating some of the most celebrated canvases of his career.
The idyllic scene in Au Jardin, la famille de l’artiste captures a sense of the peaceful rhythms that marked Monet’s days in Argenteuil, depicting the artist’s wife, Camille, and eldest son Jean, along with another female figure (presumably a household maid or governess) enjoying a leisurely afternoon in the resplendent, well-manicured gardens of their second home in the town. The family had moved to the recently built Pavillon Flament on the boulevard Saint Denis in October 1874, “a pink house with green shutters, opposite the station,” as the artist described in a letter to Victor Choquet (quoted in A.P.A. Belloli, ed., A Day in the Country: Impressionism and the French Countryside, exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1984, p. 224). Although the land was only rented, the artist committed himself fully to creating an idyllic environment in the adjoining garden, devoting considerable time and resources to cultivating the space. Flowers played a central role in the design, both in the form of colorful borders and raised floral display beds, known as corbeilles, as Monet eschewed the practicalities of a traditional kitchen garden for a decorative scheme rooted in the rich colors and elegant forms of flowers in full bloom. “What I need most of all are flowers, always, always,” the artist once famously proclaimed (quoted in R. Gordon and A. Forge, Monet, New York, 1983, p. 199). At the center of the garden lay the large, circular lawn, encircled by a sweeping pathway and bordered by blossoms, while beyond stood a decorative copse of slender trees, interspersed with clusters of hollyhocks and gladioli.
It was not until 1875 that the artist began to depict the garden in depth, turning to the subject with a renewed interest and verve as the flowers began to reach the height of their summer bloom. Over the course of the year, Monet used the garden as the setting for five separate compositions (Wildenstein, nos. 382-386), including Camille Monet et un enfant au jardin (The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Jeunes filles dans un massif de dahlias (Národní Galerie, Prague), and the present work, while in 1876, he executed ten more paintings en plein air in his garden, capturing differing aspects of the space. Here, Monet deliberately restricts the view to a timeless, almost romantic, scene of leisure, as Camille, shielded from the sunlight falling through the canopy of leaves by a parasol, sits upon the rich green grass in an elegant dress, reading a book, while young Jean and his companion stand alongside. Viewed from a slight distance, the trio appear to be engaged in conversation, their relaxed postures and placement within the scene connecting them in an informal grouping. Seemingly unaware of the artist’s watchful gaze, they remain completely at ease, captured in a moment of uninhibited relaxation as they wile away the afternoon.
As Paul Hayes Tucker has observed: “Unlike the views from 1873, those from 1875, such as [Au Jardin, la famille de l’artiste] have no evidence of strain, no sense of impersonality, no hint of the complexities of Argenteuil and modern life. Jean, Camille and the maid are submerged in a lush, tranquil setting […] This is the stuff of dreams—no encroaching neighbors, no change other than the flickering of light and the swaying of flowers” (Monet at Argenteuil, New Haven, 1984, p. 149). The garden is portrayed as a rich, discreet space, tucked away from activity of the town, hidden from prying eyes by the screen of trees and verdant bushes that wrap around the perimeter. Indeed, the figures almost disappear amid the wealth of foliage surrounding them, from the tall, towering trees that line the boundary, to the luscious blooms of the roses, geraniums, and gladioli that fill the carefully cultivated flower beds. Through the briefest of brushstrokes, Monet captures the essential characteristics of each of the different species of flowers that populate the garden, revealing his own keen interest in horticulture, which would reach its full fruition in his famed gardens at Giverny.
As with many of the artist’s paintings from 1875, Au Jardin, la famille de l’artiste eschews any details that suggest the rapidly changing character of Argenteuil at this time, as growing industrialization and development began to transform the town and encroach on its natural beauty. By late 1875, plans were in motion for a third iron-bridge to be built not far from Monet’s house, surrounding agrarian land was increasingly being converted for housing, and worst of all, pollution had begun to contaminate the Seine. However, by restricting his painting to the confines of his well-manicured and verdant garden, Monet was able to maintain his vision of Argenteuil as a halcyon paradise, a place of comfort, leisure and peace. Having said this, the garden scene is nonetheless infused with subtle visual cues that illustrate a distinctly urban view of country life. From the ornamental planting, carefully shaped and coordinated to the gardener’s particular vision, to the fashionable outfits of Camille, Jean and their companion, which clearly identify them as middle-class Parisians rather than rural locals, Monet boldly proclaims the inherent modernity of his subject matter, offering an intimate snapshot of the rhythms and rituals of bourgeoise life during this period.
Perhaps most importantly though, the garden at Pavillon Flament acted as an important site for the evolution of Monet’s painterly practice, a laboratory for experimentation and artistic development, where he could pursue concentrated investigation into the ephemeral play of light and atmosphere within an environment that he knew so well. In Au Jardin, la famille de l’artiste pulsating strokes of pigment seem to dance across the surface of the canvas, which is alive with a myriad of colors and flickering touches of pigment. The paint is applied in a vibrating tissue of broken brushstrokes, as small horizontal dashes are woven together with lively comma-shaped marks, evoking fleeting atmospheric conditions, such as the gentle rustling of the breeze as it sweeps through the garden, or the flickering play of sunlight, filtered through the branches overhead. Monet’s skillful use of contrasting colors, meanwhile, reveal a growing appreciation for vibrant, luminous tones, most noticeable in the pops of red and pink blossoms in the foreground of the present work, as they interact with the surrounding passages of green. In this way, Au Jardin, la famille de l’artiste reveals the manner in which Monet was, as Paul Cézanne put it at the time, “replacing modelling by the study of colors” (quoted in J. House, Monet: Nature into Art, New Haven, 1986, p. 115).
The painting was purchased directly from the artist shortly after it was completed in 1875 by the renowned French baritone Jean-Baptiste Faure, who was an avid collector of Monet’s work. While Faure’s collecting journey had begun in the 1860s, with purchases of works by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Eugène Delacroix and Jean-François Millet, he sold his entire holdings of Barbizon School paintings at auction in 1873 and began to focus exclusively on the work of the Impressionists, often purchasing paintings directly from the artists he favored. By the 1890s, he had acquired more than sixty paintings by Edouard Manet, between fifty and sixty each by Monet and Alfred Sisley, around twenty-five by Camille Pissarro, and at least ten by Edgar Degas.
Faure’s interest in Monet’s paintings had emerged in the immediate aftermath of the First Impressionist exhibition, with the artist recording his first sale of four paintings to the performer in June 1874, in a deal brokered by Manet. Faure bought regularly through the rest of the 1870s, adding a wealth of the artist’s early masterpieces to his collection, including Le Pont d’Argenteuil (Wildenstein no. 311, 1874; Musée d’Orsay, Paris), Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (Wildenstein, no. 62; The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow), La Plage de Sainte-Adresse, temps gris (Wildenstein, no. 92; The Art Institute of Chicago), Le Boulevard des Capucines (Wildenstein, no. 292; The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow), and Prairie à Bezons (Wildenstein, no. 341; Nationalgalerie, Berlin).
Au Jardin, la famille de l’artiste remained in Faure’s collection for over three decades, before selling to the wealthy banker and industrialist, Baron Mór Lipót Herzog, who built one of the most diverse and extensive collections of art in Hungary during the early twentieth century. Indeed, Herzog was a voracious collector, with interests spanning all eras of art history, which he displayed together in the family palace on Andrássy boulevard in Budapest. His huge collection numbered between 1,500 and 2,500 objects at its peak, and included Gothic objets d’art, paintings from the Early Renaissance and the Dutch Golden Age, an exceptional selection of canvases by El Greco, as well as a rich grouping of works by Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Manet, Cézanne and Paul Gauguin, many of which were purchased on the advice of his friend, mentor and fellow collector, Marcell Nemes. The painting remained with Herzog until at least 1919, after which time it was acquired by Kurt and Henriette Hirschland, of Essen, with whom it remained until the 1960s.
This painting has erroneously been noted in Wildenstein (1996, pp. 158-159) as having been damaged in a fire and repainted by the artist. This statement has since been withdrawn and corrected by the Wildenstein Plattner Institute following examination of the work, who have issued a new certificate. Please contact the department for a condition report.

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