Claude Monet, Au jardin, la famille de l’artiste, 1875. Estimate: $12 Million - $18 Million. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021
New York – Claude Monet’s Au jardin, la famille de l’artiste, 1875 (estimate: $12 Million - $18 Million) will be a leading highlight of Christie’s 20th Century Evening Sale this November in New York. Publicly exhibited only a handful of times since its creation, the painting was last seen at auction in 1984 and has remained in the same collection ever since. Au jardin, la famille de l’artiste will be exhibited in Hong Kong from 7 - 12 October, in London 18 - 21 October, and on display in Christie’s New York galleries ahead of the auction in November.
Keith Gill, Head of Impressionist and Modern Art, Christie’s London: “Created just a year after the first Impressionist Exhibition introduced the public to the artist’s revolutionary plein-air aesthetic and modern subject matter, Au jardin, la famille de l’artiste dates from a key moment in Monet’s career. Offering an intimate glimpse into the quiet routines of his family life, the work is filled with vibrant colour and golden sunlight, and contains all the hallmarks of the artist’s classic Impressionist style. It is an honor to present Au jardin, la famille de l’artiste this November in our 20th Century Evening Sale in New York.”
Filled with the warm glow of summer sunshine and the vibrant hues of flowers in full bloom, Au Jardin, la famille de l’artiste is a romantic portrait of the artist’s family, glimpsed in a private moment as they enjoy the calm, tranquil atmosphere of their garden. At the time the work was created, Monet was living in Argenteuil, a lively suburb of Paris, located on the right bank of the Seine just eleven kilometres west of the capital. As with many of the artist’s paintings from 1875, Au Jardin, la famille de l’artiste eschews any details that suggest the rapidly changing character of the town at this time. Instead, the composition restricts its view, focusing on the lush abundance of the intimate space of Monet’s garden, allowing the artist to portray Argenteuil purely as a place of comfort, leisure and peace.
The idyllic scene in Au Jardin, la famille de l’artiste captures a sense of the peaceful rhythms that marked Monet’s days during this period. The artist’s wife, Camille, and eldest son Jean, are depicted along with another female figure as they enjoy a leisurely afternoon in the resplendent, well-manicured gardens of their second home in the town. The figures almost disappear amidst the foliage surrounding them, from the tall, towering screen of trees that mark the edge of the garden, to the luscious blooms of the roses, geraniums, and gladioli that fill the carefully cultivated flower beds. Through the briefest of brushstrokes, Monet captures the essential characteristics of each of the different species of flowers that populate the garden, revealing his own keen interest in horticulture and gardening, which would reach its apogee in his famed gardens at Giverny.
Au Jardin, la famille de l’artiste has been a highlight of a number of prestigious Impressionist collections since the year it was painted. The painting was purchased directly from the artist shortly after it was completed in 1875 by the renowned French baritone Jean-Baptiste Faure, who was an avid early collector of Monet’s work, acquiring over fifty compositions from the artist during the 1870s. Au Jardin, la famille de l’artiste remained in Faure’s collection for over three decades, before selling to Durand-Ruel in 1907, who lent the painting to a number of important early exhibitions of Impressionist art in Germany during the first decade of the 20th Century. The painting was then purchased from Durand-Ruel by the wealthy banker and industrialist, Baron Mór Lipót Herzog in 1911. Herzog was a voracious collector, with interests spanning all eras of art history; his huge collection included Gothic objets d’art, paintings from the Early Renaissance and the Dutch Golden Age, as well as a rich grouping of works by Monet, Renoir, Manet, Cézanne and Gauguin, which hung in the family palace in Budapest. Au jardin, la famille de l’artiste was subsequently acquired by the pre-eminent German collectors Kurt and Harriet Hirschland in 1928, and was among the artworks brought by the family to New York when they were forced to flee Europe in the late-1930s. The painting remained in the Hirschland collection until the mid-1960s, when it passed into the possession of Mr & Mrs David Bakalar of Boston, with whom it remained for a further two decades before being auctioned in their single owner collection sale in 1984, where it was acquired by the present owners.