Overview

Monet planted gardens wherever he lived. When he rented this house at Vétheuil, he made arrangements with the owner to landscape the terraces, which lead down to the Seine. The boy with the wagon is Monet's young son, and on the steps behind him are other members of his extended household.

On the path, the brilliant sunlight is dappled with shade that falls in blues, plums, and various greens. Figures and faces are defined —briefly— with color. The large flowerpots were Monet's, and he took them with him each time he moved, using them in other gardens. They are "blue and white" only in our understanding: examined up close they are blue and green where they reflect the grass behind them, elsewhere tinged with gold or pink.

By the early 1880s, when this work was painted, Monet had become increasingly interested in the painted surface itself and less concerned with capturing a spontaneous effect of light and atmosphere. The very composition of this painting, with its high horizon, traps our eye in the canvas—even the path is blocked in the distance by the rising steps. We are forced back to the surface, where the paint is textured and heavily layered. At close range, these brushstrokes, though still inspired by nature, seem less descriptive than decorative.

Inscription

lower right: Claude Monet 80

Marks and Labels

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Provenance

Acquired 1910 from the artist by (Georges Bernheim, Paris). (René Gimpel, Paris). Guez, Paris.[1] (Gimpel Fils, London), by 1946 until at least 1950;[2] sold to (Lagarde) for (Wildenstein & Co., London, New York, and Paris); sold 15 March 1961 to Ailsa Mellon Bruce [1901-1969], New York;[3] bequest 1970 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1899
Exposition de tableaux de Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, & Sisley, Galeries Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1899, no. 13 as Maison de Monet à Vétheuil.
1928
Claude Monet, Galerien Thannhauser, Berlin, 1928, no. 28, repro.
1946
A Selection from Five Centuries of French Painting, Gimpel Fils, London, 1946, no. 15, as Son Jardin.
1950
Claude Monet, Gimpel Fils, London, 1950, no. 2.
1957
Cent chefs-d'oeuvre de l'art français 1750-1950, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, 1957, no. 59, repro.
1966
French Paintings from the Collections of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon and Mrs. Mellon Bruce, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1966, no. 86, repro.
1980
Hommage à Claude Monet, Grand Palais, Paris, 1980, no. 83.
1986
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, State Hermitage Museum, Leningrad; State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, 1986, no. 18, repro.
1989
Impressionisti della National Gallery of Art di Washington, Ala Napoleonica e Museo Correr, Venice, and Palazzo Reale, Milan, 1989, unnumbered catalogue, repro.
1998
Monet, a Turning Point, Dallas Museum of Art, 1998, no cat.
1999
Around Impressionism: French Paintings from the National Gallery of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1999, no cat.
1999
Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, 1999, no. 43, repro.
2003
Monet: The Seine and the Sea 1878-1883, Royal Scottish Academy Building, Edinburgh, 2003, no. 46, repro.
2004
Monet's Garden, Kunsthaus Zürich, 2004-2005, no. 20, repro.
2010
Claude Monet 1840-1926, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, 2010-2011, no. 152, repro.
2011
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The National Art Center, Tokyo; Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, 2011, no. 32, repro.

Bibliography

1966
Young, Mahonri Sharp. "The Mellon Collections: The Great Years of French Painting." Apollo 83 (June 1966): 432, repro.
1974
Wildenstein 1974, no. 685.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 244, repro.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 487, no. 722, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 280, repro.
1986
Bernard, Bruce. The Impressionist Revolution. London, 1986:255, repro. 139.
1991
Coman, Florence E. Joie de Vivre: French Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1991: no. 17, repro.
1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 263.
1997
Kelder, Diane. The Great Book of French Impressionism, 1997, no. 181, repro.
1997
Southgate, M. Therese. The Art of JAMA: One Hundred Covers and Essays from The Journal of the American Medical Association. St. Louis, 1997: 76-77, 203, color repro.
2006
Brettell, Richard R., and Stephen F. Eisenman. Nineteenth-Century Art in the Norton Simon Museum. New Haven and London, 2006: 327 fig. 86d.
2009
Kostyrko, Diana. "From Fragonard to Kennard: René Gimpel, art dealer." Art Monthly Australia 217 (March 2009):33.
2012
Kennicott, Philip. "French Rooms Reopen, With Different Accents." Washington Post 135, no. 55 (January 29, 2012): E25.

Conservation Notes

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