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Claude Monet | Vétheuil, 1880

"I have painted the Seine throughout my life, at every hour, at every season...
I have never tired of it: for me the Seine is always new" - Claude Monet

Claude Monet | Vétheuil, 1880 | Sotheby's

The present work depicts Vétheuil, the small village situated sixty kilometres north of Paris on the riverbanks of the Seine, where the artist lived with his wife and children from 1878 until 1881.
Unlike Monet’s previous home of Argenteuil, Vétheuil was further along the Seine and thus slightly out of reach for Parisians escaping the city on a weekend.
As a result, both the village and surrounding countryside had remained largely untouched and the remote setting became the ideal vehicle for Monet’s increasing interest in painting nature en plein air.

Claude Monet | The Artist's Garden at Vétheuil, 1881 | National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Monet became completely absorbed in depicting the natural world; creating a pastoral idyll out of Vétheuil and its bucolic surroundings, and in doing so nurturing his art to the point at which it reached the purest expression of the Impressionist style.
Monet’s views of Vétheuil frequently include the impressive medieval buildings of the town, as seen from many points in the surrounding area, most particularly the imposing thirteenth century church of Notre-Dame de Vétheuil.
However, Monet’s growing interest in nature and the change in climate at different times of day and in different seasons, became ever more noticeable in his canvases during this period.

Claude Monet | Banks of the Seine Vétheuil, 1880 | National Gallery of Art Washington DC

By 1880, his focus had moved away from the architectural features of the village and towards the natural phenomenon of the landscape.
Perfectly demonstrated by the present work, the church is now partially obscured by the poplar trees and full attention is given to the verdant vegetation and its reflection in the river in the foreground.

With regard to the artist's technique in the 1880s, Andrew Forge has written, "Colour which he now learned to use with an unprecedented purity offers an infinitely subtle and flexible alternative to the traditional massing of light and shade.
Systems of interlocking blues and oranges, for example, of lilacs and lemons will carry the eye across the whole surface of the canvas and these colour structures, each marvellously turned to the particulars of light will be augmented by a vast range of accents of comma, slash, dot, flake, each attuned economically to its object that the eye is continually at work in its reading" (A. Forge, Claude Monet (exhibition catalogue), New York, 1976).

Claude Monet | Der Garten von Vetheuil | Museum Barberini

Claude Monet | L'Inondation Vétheuil, 1881 | Collection Eberhard W Kornfeld, Berne

Claude Monet | View over Vétheuil, 1881

Claude Monet | Banks of the Seine at Vétheuil, 1881

Claude Monet | The Spring at Vétheuil, 1881

Claude Monet | Poppies near Vétheuil, 1879

Claude Monet | At the meadow Vétheuil, 1881

Claude Monet | Late afternoon Vétheuil, 1880

"Ho dipinto la Senna per tutta la vita, ad ogni ora, ad ogni stagione...
Non mi sono mai stancato: per me la Senna è sempre nuova" - Claude Monet

Claude Monet | Flowers at Vétheuil, 1880

Claude Monet | The Terrace at Vétheuil, 1881