1840-1926 | French
Ravin de la Creuse
(Valley of the Creuse)
Stamped “Claude Monet” (en verso)
Oil on canvas
This color-filled view of a picturesque river valley is an outstanding example of Claude Monet's distinctive style. The stunning cliff-top scene is part of a series of works the artist completed during his 1889 stay at Fresselines in the Massif Central region of France. A visual record of the effects of light and atmosphere on the world around him, this breathtaking series embodies the defining objectives of Monet's groundbreaking Impressionist ideals.
Monet had a fascination with the ever-evolving landscape, and his genius in reflecting it on canvas is most evident in this work. His strong horizontal brushstrokes and rich dabs of color focus not on detail, but rather the dense color and light of the scene. The jagged cliffs are simplified down to their most basic form, a stylistic technique that was embraced by the Impressionists, particularly Pierre-Auguste Renoir. A brilliancy of color is apparent in Ravin de la Creuse, and is modified through each of the other canvasses of the series, showing Monet’s legendary variance of light and mood.
Unlike his Impressionist contemporaries, Monet pushed the boundaries of abstract experimentation in his revolutionary compositions. The present example is dominated by a myriad of energetic and complicated brushstrokes in an array of vibrant and pastel hues. The work demonstrates Monet’s talent for using only the most basic elements – the earth, sea, and sky – to reflect a sense of both atmosphere and vitality. Other works from the 1889 series are currently held in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar. Viewing each together, one achieves a sense of this master painter’s unparalleled talent for capturing changes in light and atmosphere at different moments in time.
Born in Paris in 1840, Claude Monet was a leading figure of the Impressionist movement. Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Berthe Morisot were counted among his colleagues, and his works stood beside theirs at the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874. Today, Monet’s works are represented in the finest museums around the globe, including the National Gallery (London), the Musée D’Orsay (Paris), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Louvre (Paris), The Hermitage (St. Petersburg), and many others.
Painted in 1889
Canvas: 28 7/8” high x 28 3/4” wide
Frame: 39 1/8” high x 40 1/4” wide
Monet, I luoghi della pittura, Treviso, Case dei Carraresi, September 2001 - February 2002, no. 51
Claude Monet: Biographie et Catalogue Raisonné, 1887-1898, Paris, 1979, by D. Wildenstein, p. 122, no. 1227(illustrated)
Monet: Catalogue Raisonné, Cologne, 1996, p. 467, no. 1227 (illustrated)
The artist’s estate
Anonymous sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 4 June 1943, lot 34
Galerie Drouant, Paris
Mr. X, Estate Sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 22 November 1995, lot 111
Private collection, Korea
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans, 2019