Coquelicots [Poppy Field]
When he returned from England in 1871, Monet settled in Argenteuil and lived there until 1878. These years were a time of fulfilment for him. Supported by his dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, Monet found in the region around his home the bright landscapes which enabled him to explore the potential of plein-air painting.
He showed Poppy Field to the public at the first Impressionist exhibition held in the photographer Nadar's disused studio in 1874. Now one of the world's most famous paintings, it conjures up the vibrant atmosphere of a stroll through the fields on a summer's day.
Monet diluted the contours and constructed a colourful rhythm with blobs of paint starting from a sprinkling of poppies; the disproportionately large patches in the foreground indicate the primacy he put on visual impression. A step towards abstraction had been taken.
In the landscape, a mother and child pair in the foreground and another in the background are merely a pretext for drawing the diagonal line that structures the painting. Two separate colour zones are established, one dominated by red, the other by a bluish green. The young woman with the sunshade and the child in the foreground are probably the artist's wife, Camille, and their son Jean.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): 1880 Claude Monet
?Charles Ephrussi, Paris (from 1880; bought from the artist in July 1880 for Fr 400); Dr. X. . . [Paulin], Paris (until 1901; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, November 21, 1901, no. 52, as "Dans les coquelicots," for Fr 6,900 to Leclanché); Maurice Leclanché, Paris (from 1901); Josse and Gaston Bernheim-Jeune, Paris (until 1910; sold May 22, 1910 to Bernheim-Jeune); [Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, 1910; stock no. 18110; sold May 30, 1910 to Liacre]; Georges Liacre, Paris (1910–11; sold October 18, 1911 to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1911; stock no. 9754; sold November 25, 1911 to Durand Ruel]; [Durand-Ruel, New York, 1911–12; stock no. 3503; sold April 30, 1912 to Emmons]; Arthur B. Emmons, New York and Newport (1912–20; sale, American Art Association, New York, January 14, 1920, no. 27, for $7,000 to Durand-Ruel [possibly bought in for Emmons]); his widow, Julia W. Emmons, New York and Newport (until d. 1956)
Paris. Salons du panorama de Reischoffen. "7me exposition des artistes indépendants [7th Impressionist exhibition]," ?March 1–31, 1882, no. 89 (as "Sentier dans l'île St. Martin," possibly this picture).
Boston. Chase's Gallery. "Paintings by the Impressionists of Paris: Claude Monet, Camille Pisarro, Alfred Sisley, from the Galleries of Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York," March 17–28, 1891, no. 12 (as "Sentier de l'Île Saint Martin," possibly this picture).
New York. Durand-Ruel. "Exhibition of Paintings by Claude Monet," February 11–25, 1902, no. 10 (as "Sentier dans l'Île St. Martin," possibly this picture).
New York. Durand-Ruel. "Monet," 1911, no. 10 (possibly this picture) [see Wildenstein 1974].
New York. Durand-Ruel. "Paintings of different periods by Monet," February 8–25, 1911, no. 11 (as "Vue de Vétheuil").
Boston. Brooks Reed Gallery. "Paintings by Corot . . .," 1912, no. 50 [see Wildenstein 1996].
New York. Acquavella Galleries. "Four Masters of Impressionism," October 24–November 30, 1968, no. 26.
Auckland City Art Gallery. "Claude Monet Painter of Light," April 9–May 28, 1985, no. 7.
Sydney. Art Gallery of New South Wales. "Claude Monet Painter of Light," June 11–July 23, 1985, no. 7.
Melbourne. National Gallery of Victoria. "Claude Monet Painter of Light," August 6–September 17, 1985, no. 7.
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "The New Painting: Impressionism 1874–1886," January 17–April 6, 1986, no. 124.
San Francisco. M. H. de Young Memorial Museum. "The New Painting: Impressionism 1874–1886," April 19–July 6, 1986, no. 124.
Rome. Complesso del Vittoriano. "Monet: Il maestro della luce," March 4–June 25, 2000, no. 18.
Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. "Claude Monet – Fields in Spring," May 20–September 24, 2006, no. 9 (as "Lane in the Poppy Field, Île Saint-Martin").
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 87.
Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.
Vienna. Belvedere. "Looking at Monet: The Great Impressionist and His Influence on Austrian Art," October 24, 2014–February 8, 2015, unnumbered cat. (as "View of Vétheuil [Sentier dans les coquelicots, île Saint-Martin]").
James J. Rorimer and Dudley T. Easby Jr. "Review of the Year 1956–1957." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (October 1957), pp. 38, 63, ill. p. 46.
William Innes Homer. Seurat and the Science of Painting. Cambridge, Mass., 1964, p. 64.
Luigina Rossi Bortolatto. L'opera completa di Claude Monet, 1870–1889. Milan, 1966, p. 101, no. 199, ill.
McCandlish Phillips. "Hole Poked in $250,000 Monet at Metropolitan, Suspect Seized." New York Times (June 17, 1966), pp. 47, 49, ill.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 3, XIX–XX Centuries. New York, 1967, p. 132, ill.
Douglas Cooper. "The Monets in the Metropolitan Museum." Metropolitan Museum Journal 3 (1970), pp. 302–5, fig. 34.
Daniel Wildenstein. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. Vol. 1, 1840–1881: Peintures. Lausanne, 1974, pp. 104, 115, 368, no. 592, ill. p. 369, tentatively identifies it with one bought from Monet by Ephrussi in July 1880, and mentioned in two of Monet's letters that chronicle the transaction.
Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 124–25, 252, ill. (color, overall and detail).
Daniel Wildenstein. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. Vol. 4, 1899–1926: Peintures. Lausanne, 1985, p. 53 n. 485.
Charles F. Stuckey, ed. Monet: A Retrospective. New York, 1985, ill. p. 90.
John House inClaude Monet: Painter of Light. Exh. cat., Auckland City Art Gallery. Auckland, New Zealand, 1985, pp. 12, 14, 18, 52, 54–56, 110, no. 7, ill. (color).
Shunsuke Kijima. Monet. Tokyo, 1985, unpaginated, fig. 29 (color).
John House. Monet: Nature into Art. New Haven, 1986, pp. 59, 117–18, 120, 167, colorpl. 149.
Joel Isaacson inThe New Painting: Impressionism 1874–1886. Ed. Charles S. Moffett. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington. San Francisco, 1986, pp. 394–95, 406, no. 124, ill. (color), suggests that it was included as no. 89 in the seventh Impressionist exhibition of 1882.
Richard Kendall, ed. Monet by Himself. London, 1989, ill. p. 93 (color).
Karin Sagner-Düchting. Claude Monet, 1840–1926: Ein Fest für die Augen. Cologne, 1990, ill. p. 105 (color).
Daniel Wildenstein. Monet. Vol. 2, Catalogue raisonné–Werkverzeichnis: Nos. 1–968. 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, p. 229, no. 592, ill. (color).
Daniel Wildenstein. Monet or the Triumph of Impressionism. Vol. 1, 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, p. 163.
Carla Rachman. Monet. London, 1997, p. 152, fig. 100 (color).
The Reader's Digest Collection. Sotheby's, New York. November 16, 1998, p. 82, fig. 1 (color), under no. 19.
Marc Restellini. Monet, il maestro della luce. Exh. cat., Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome. Milan, 2000, p. 110, no. 18, ill. pp. 48 (color), 110.
David Joel. Monet at Vétheuil and on the Norman Coast, 1878–1883. Woodbridge, England, 2002, pp. 99–100, ill. p. 111 (color).
Christofer Conrad in Christian von Holst and Christofer Conrad. Claude Monet: Fields in Spring. Exh. cat., Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. Stuttgart, 2006, pp. 68, 72, 156, no. 9, fig. 40 (color).
Christian von Holst in Christian von Holst and Christofer Conrad. Claude Monet: Fields in Spring. Exh. cat., Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. Stuttgart, 2006, p. 26, fig. 6 (color).
Eric M. Zafran inClaude Monet (1840–1926): A Tribute to Daniel Wildenstein and Katia Granoff. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, 2007, p. 133.
Kathryn Calley Galitz inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 123, 240, no. 87, ill. (color and black and white).
Looking at Monet: The Great Impressionist and His Influence on Austrian Art. Ed. Agnes Husslein-Arco and Stephan Koja. Exh. cat., Belvedere. Vienna, 2014, p. 246, fig. 85 and ill. pp. 254–55 (color, overall and detail).
In 1880 and 1881, Monet painted a number of views of the town of Vétheuil from the nearby Île Saint-Martin in the Seine (W592–95, 678, 679), using both horizontal and vertical formats. The same buildings can be recognized in some of these paintings, which were painted from different points around the small island.
In addition to this version (W592), Arthur B. Emmons also at one time owned W678.