claude monet 1840 - 1926
"pont dans le jardin de Monet" 1895/96
(the japanese bridge in Monet´s garden, Giverny)
Oil on canvas
89 x 92 cm
Price: 44,0 Mio. € plus 10% commission
according to wildenstein (w 1419a) this work was painted circa 1895 - 96. see paul tucker´s extensive note.
galerie durand-ruel, paris (acquired directly from the artist, october 1911)
p. esterez (1913)
arthur kaufmann, london (aquired from the above in 1947; sold: sotherby´s london, december 4, 1984, lot 8)
private collection, new york (sold: sotherby´s new york, may 11, 1987, lot 48)
berry hill galerie, inc., new york (acquired at the above sale)
private collection, new york (acquired at the above sale)
christie´s new york, may 12, 1999, lot 21, ( asquired at the above sale by the present owner)
private collection, new york
vienna, galerie arnot, französische impressionisten, 1911, n0. 11
zürich, kunsthaus, französische kunst, february - march 1913, no. 165 (as "brücke im Garten des künstlers")
basel, kunstmuseum, claude monet: nympheas, impression-vision, july - october 1986, p. 171 no.2, illustrated in color p. 19
treviso, casa del carraresi, monet, 1 luoghi della pittura, september 29, 2001 - february 10, 2002, p. 389, no. 65 ( illustrated in color, pp. 272 and 389)
lionello venturi, les aricheves de límpressionisme, paris and new york, 1935, vol. 1. p. 429
denis rouart, jean dominique rey and robert maillard, monet nympheas, paris, 1972, illustrated p. 154
daniel wildenstein, claude monet: biographie et catalogue raisonné, lausanne, 1974, vol. 11, p. 192, no. 1419bis ( illustrated, p. 193)
marianne alphant, claude monet, une vie dans le paysage, paris, 1993, p. 567
steven z. levine, monet, narcissus, and self-reflection, the modernist myth of the self, chicago, 1994, p. 129 ( illustrated fig. 70)
paul hayes tucker, claude monet: life and art,new haven, 1995, p. 235, no. 8
daniel wildenstein, monet: catalogue raisonne, vol. 3, (nos. 969 - 1595), cologne, 1996, p. 588, no. 1419a, illustradet in color p. 587
paul haves tucker, monet in the 20th century, exh. cat., royal academy of arts, london and museum of fine arts, boston, 1999, p. 18 (illustated in color, fig. 17)
v. Spate and d. bromsfeld, monet & japan, e3xh. cat., national gallery of australia, canberr, 2001, p. 51
widely hailed as landmarks of late impressionism, the paintings that moent made of his gardens an giverny constitute some of the most compelling and invetive works of his entire career. as paul tucker ha written, "they stand as eloquent witness to an aging artist´s irrespressible urge to express his feeling in front of nature...... [and] also attest to his persistent desire to reinvent the look of landscape art and to leave a legacy of sifnificance" (P.h.tucker,monet in the 20th century, op. cit., p. 14). during the last 25 years of his life, monet devoted himself almost single-mindedly to depiciting
the flower garden and lily pond that he had fashioned at geverny, producing an astonishingly complex and diverse group of around 300 canvases. as one of the very first pictures in the exceptional series, the present painting occupies a position of seminal importence in Monet´s oeuvre.
the artist and his family moved to giverny in april of 1883. situated at the confluence of the seine and the epte, about 40 miles northwest of paris. giverny was at the time a quiet picturesque farming community of just 279 residents. upon his arrival there, monet rented a large, pink stucco house on two acres of land that the former inhabitants had used for a kitchen garden and orchard. when the property came up from sale in 1890, monet purchased it at the asking price of 22,000 francs- " certain of never finding a better situation or more beautiful countryside," as he explained to durand-ruel (w1079) - and immediately began tearing up the hitchen garden to make an elaborate flower garden. three years later, he acquired an adjacent plot of land and applied to the local goverment for permission " to install a price d´eau in order to ptovide enough water to fresh the pont that I am going to dig....for the purpose of culitvating aquatic plants (w1191).
by autumn of 1893, monet had converted nearly 1.000 square meters into a lavish lily pond, spanned by a wooden footbridge and ringed by an artful arrangement of flowers, trees and bushes. in its finished from, the water garden was nothing short of magical; as one visitor reported:
" you enterbthe aquatic garden over an arched bridge covered with wisteria in June - the frangance is so heavy that is it like going through a pipe of vanilla. the clusters of white and mauve.... fall like fanciful grapes in the water, and the passing breeze harvests the aroma..."
(quoted in r. gordon and a. forge, monet, new york, 1988, p. 213)
the mysterious and contempaltive aquatic garden formed an apt contrast to the more traditional flower garden near the house. with is fanciful layout and refelctive pools, the water garden was unmistakably eastern in insperation, a feature that monet accentuated by palinting bamboo, gongko trees, and japanese fruits trees around the pond. the arched footbridge, moreover, is closely related to structures depicet in japanese prints, such as hiroshige´s color woodcut wisteria and drum bridge from the series a 100 farmous palces in yedo (fig.1).
the eastern favor of the water garden was ar farm from accidential. Monet was an avid collector of japanese prints, and praised japanese in a 1904 interview as " a profoundly artistics people" (quoted in p.a.tucker, monet in the ´90s: the series paintings, exh., cat., museum of fine art boston, 1989, p. 264.).
an enthusiastic gardener all his life, monet felt particular affinity for the deep engangement with the natural world that distinguisged japanese cultur. As the artist himself repeatedly insisted. "what i need most of all are flowers. always, always" (quoted in r. gordon and a. forge, op. cit.; p. 199)
the garden in giverny, however, were created not only to fulfill monet´s passion of nature, but also to provide the painter witj tje artistic motifs. in the petition to the préfer de l´eure for permission to build the lily pond, monet specified that it would serve "for the pleasure of the eyes and also for the purpose of having subjects to paint" (W1191).
critics, too, repeatedly commented on the painterly quality of monet´s garden, marcel proust, for instance, wrote," if.... i can someday see m. claude monet´s garden, i feel sure that i shall see something that is not so much a garden with flowers as of colors and tones, less an old-fashioned flower gardenthan a color garden, so to speak...." (quoted in c. stuckey, monet: a restrospective, new york,1985, p. 250).
and arséne alexandre made a similar point: "he is a painter who, in our own time, has multiplied the harmonie of color, has gone as far as one person can into the sublety, opulence, and resonance of color.... who inspered all this? his flowers. who was his teacher? his garden...." (quoted in ibid., p. 223)
nonetheless, in the years before 1897, monet made only three paintings of this water garden and none at all of his flower garden. it is possible that he was waiting for the plainings to mature, or that he was merely preoccupated with other series. all three of the early canvases depict the same view, looking across the pond toward the japanses bridge; one shows the scene in winter ( wildenstein no. 1392), the other two in spring or summer ( The present work and wildenstein no. 1419).