3 Morning on the Seine near Giverny

Morning on the Seine near Giverny
Monet 1

Monet 2
© Diana Rosenthal 2014.

Claude Monet
(French, Paris 1840–1926 Giverny)
Date: 1897
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 32 1/8 x 36 5/8 in.
Classification: Paintings
Credit Line: Bequest of Julia W. Emmons, 1956
Accession Number: 56.135.4
On view in Gallery 819

Claude Monet’s Morning on the Seine near Giverney is one painting of a series of at least 17 canvases on the same topic. The oil painting beautifully depicts an Impressionist viewpoint of the early hours of the day along the Seine River near Monet’s hometown. His use of light, the blue and purple color palette, and the blurred quality to the reflections of the trees and sky in the water, encapsulates the feeling of the first hours of the day as the sun rises.

In addition to depicting a moment in time in quiet elegance, this painting represents somewhat of a turning point in Monet’s successful career. In the late 1890s, the success of his Haystacks series inspired him to continue working in series and to explore one theme across multiple canvases. In this way, “Monet’s dedication to making works in series and presenting these works as ensembles was his most important, influential, and abiding legacy to modern art” (Stuckey, 2007: 83). According to Stuckey, Monet’s success painting series can be attributed to the commercialization of art in the late 1800s and the desire among members of the public to own artwork (2007). For this reason, painting many canvases in the same manner instead of creating singular works of art was beneficial to Monet’s career.

The Morning on the Seine series, which Monet painted over the course of two years from both a makeshift boat-studio and a studio on land, is among the lesser known Monet paintings, mainly because the pieces were dispersed to different owners outside France following the 1898 George Petit exhibition (Crespelle, 1986). The series took two years to complete because Monet encountered bad weather for months on end and was known for his perfectionism (Tucker, 1989).

The success of the Morning on the Seine series is thought to anticipate Monet’s Water Lilies series, which he painted in the early 1900s (Seiberling, 1981).

A note about provenance
Morning on the Seine near Giverny was bequest to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1956 by Julia W. Emmons. After its creation, the painting was owned by Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, until 1906. In the same year, it was sold to Durand-Ruel, Paris, and then Durand-Ruel, New York. In 1907, it was sold to Arthur B. Emmons, husband to Julia Emmons.

(1957). Additions to the collections, eighty-seventh annual report of the trustees for the fiscal year 1956–1957. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 16(2), 62–70.

Baetjer, K. (1995). European paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art by artists born before 1865: A summary catalogue (p. 478). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Brettell, R. R. (1984). Monet’s Haystacks reconsidered. Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, 11(1), 4–21.

Cooper, D. (1970). The Monets in the Metropolitan Museum. Metropolitan Museum Journal, 3, 281–305.

Crespelle, J.-P. (1986). Monet. New York: Universe Books.
Crespelle’s work helps provide background information and context for the Morning on the Seine series. He discusses Monet’s family and connection to Giverny, which sheds light on his interest in depicting the river closest to his home.

De Montebello, P., Moffett, C. S., Wood, J. N., & Wildenstein, D. (1978). Monet’s years at Giverny: Beyond Impressionism (p. 28). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Herrmann, L. (2005). Turner, Whistler, Monet: A superb three-course feast. The British Art Journal, 6(1), 83–84.

House, J. (1986). Monet, nature into art. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Lochnan, K. J. (2004). TurnerWhistlerMonet: Impressionist visions. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario.

Moffett, C. S. (1985). Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (pp. 146–147, 252–253). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Neff, J. H. (1969). Puvis de Chavannes: Three easel paintings. Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, 4, 66–86.

Sagner-Düchting, K. (1994). Monet at Giverny. Munich, New York: Prestel.

Seiberling, G. (1981). Monet’s series. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc.
This dissertation, which was written by Seiberling in 1976 at Yale University, has great insight on Monet as a serial artist. Seiberling relates his work in the Morning on the Seine series thoughtfully to his Water Lilies series while also focusing on the evolution of his style from one theme to the next.

Stuckey, C. (2007). The predications and implications of Monet’s series. In The repeating image: multiples in French painting from David to Matisse (pp. 83–85). New Haven: Yale University Press.

Tinterow, G., Stein, S. A., Burn, B., & de Montebello, P. (1993). The new nineteenth-century European paintings and sculpture galleries. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Tucker, P. H. (1989). Monet in the ’90s: the series paintings. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts.

Wildenstein, D. (1999). Monet, or the Triumph of Impressionism. Köln: Taschen.
Wildenstein seems like the author to know when conducting in-depth research on Monet. He has compiled an impressive and thorough four-volume set that includes a detailed biography of Monet and a catalogue raisonné.

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