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An image of Port-Goulphar, Belle-Île by Claude Monet

Claude Monet

(France 14 Nov 1840 – 06 Dec 1926)

Port-Goulphar, Belle-Île
Other titles:
Media category
Materials used
oil on canvas

81.0 x 65.0 cm stretcher; 98.0 82.0 x 10.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., red oil "Claude Monet 87".
Purchased 1949
Accession number
19th & 20th c European art
Further information

Painted in the same year as Pissarro's pointillist canvas, this impressionist seascape by Claude Monet is conservative in comparison. Nevertheless, in the context of Monet's oeuvre at the time it represents an adventurous advance. This is no conventional example of marine painting. The horizon, a feature generally used by seascapists to stabilise their compositions, is completely occluded by the rocks and cliff faces of Belle-Île. These outcrops range with claustrophobic effect across the upper register of the work, appearing as well in the form of cramped promontories on either side of the foreground. The ragged patch of sea thus formed, filled by the painter with countless flecks of paint to indicate waves, is the real subject of the picture. Japanese woodblock prints, commonly available in Paris at the time, provided impressionist and later painters with radical solutions to the problem of representing three-dimensional forms on a flat surface. Few seized these solutions with the alacrity of Monet, or adapted them with such distinction.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.

Provenance (5)

Paul Durand-Ruel, post Jan 1887, Paris/France, Letter from Caroline Durand-Ruel Godfroy, 19 July 2000. Ms Durand-Ruel Godfroy writes that it is possible that Durand-Ruel Paris purchased the painting from Monet on 7 January 1887. It is certainly listed in their 1891-1901 Stock Book under the number 1216. In the following stock book it is mentioned as being part of the private collection of Paul Durand-Ruel and is therefore not mentioned as being part of the stock of the gallery. On 26 October 1925 the painting was sent to Durand-Ruel New York and remained in the private collection of the Durand-Ruel family. In December 1935 the painting, now in the collection of Mme Georges Durand-Ruel, was returned to Paris and was later sold by Mme Durand-Ruel on 7 April 1944 to Durand-Ruel Paris who sold it to L Renard on the same day.

Mme George Durand-Ruel, Dec 1935-07 Apr 1944, Paris/France, by descent

Durand-Ruel, Paris, 07 Apr 1944, Paris/France, Purchased by Durand-Ruel Paris from Mme George Durand-Ruel on 7 April 1944 (stock number 14312) and sold to L Renard on the same day.

Mr L Renard, post 07 Apr 1944, Lyon/France

Rousso Gallery, Paris, pre Sep 1949, Paris/France, Purchased by the AGNSW from Rousso Gallery 1949. David Jones Ltd, London acting on behalf of the AGNSW.

Bibliography (26)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 32 (colour illus.).

Art Gallery of New South Wales, A selection of eighty-two reproductions mainly from the Australian collection and including examples from the British, French and Dutch [Art Gallery of New South Wales]., Sydney, 1959. plate no. 58

Denise Delouche, Monet à Belle-Île, France, 2006, 71 (colour illus.).

Denise Delouche, Monet à Belle-Ile, France, 1992, 57 (illus.).

Renee Free, Art and Australia [vol. 10, no. 1], 'European Collection', p.63-75, Sydney, Jul 1972, 74 (illus.).

Renée Free, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 138, 139 (colour illus.).

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Sydney, 1988, 48.

Marco Goldin (Curator), L'impressionismo e l'età di Van Gogh, Treviso, 2002, 299 (colour illus.). 91

John House, Claude Monet, painter of light, Auckland, 1985.

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Sydney, 1999, 49 (colour illus.).

Alan Krell, Art Gallery of New South Wales collection series 4, 'Camille Pissarro 1830-1903 Peasants' Houses, Eragny. 1887', pg. 1-3, Sydney, Winter 1983, 3 (illus.).

Sarah Lees, Monet/Kelly, 'Monet: places and process', pg.12-27, Williamstown, 2014, 17-18, 34-35 (colour illus.).

Terence Maloon, Paths to abstraction 1867-1917, Sydney, 2010, 109 (colour illus.).

Caroline Mathieu, The Impressionists: masterpieces from the Musée d'Orsay, Melbourne, 2004, 74, 75 (colour illus.).

John McDonald, Art of Australia. Vol 1: Exploration to Federation, 'The only school of art', pg. 485-544, Sydney, 2008, 492, 493 (colour illus.).

Ursula Prunster, Belle-Île: Monet, Russell & Matisse in Brittany, 'Painting Belle-Île', pg.19-47, Sydney, 2001, 18 (colour illus.), 20, 24, 37, 60, 61, 62, 70 (colour illus.)., illustration on page 18 is a detail

Queensland Art Gallery, French art from Australian collections, Brisbane, 1959.

Peter Raissis, Look, 'Rehanging the Old Courts', pg. 6, Heidelberg, Mar 1997, 9.

Prue Rushton, Sporting Doctor Magazine, 'The Lost Impressionist', Sydney, Sep 1996, 56.

Jennifer Saville, Calendar news, 'Claude Monet's 'Port-Goulphar, Belle-Île' on view', pg.8, Honolulu, Nov 2005-Dec 2005, 8 (colour illus.).

Sotheby's New York, Sotheby's New York: Impressionist and Modern art, part 1, New York, 16 Nov 1998, 52 (illus.). Illustrated in reference to 54, 'Entree de Port-Goulphar, Belle-Ile' 1886

Virginia Spate, Turner to Monet: the triumph of landscape painting, 'Claude Monet', pg. 228, Canberra, 2008, 228, 229 (colour illus.). 88

Virginia Spate and David Bromfield, Monet & Japan, 'A new and strange beauty. Monet and Japanese art: The forces of nature. Cliffs, rocks and sea. The 1880s', pg.26-35,, Canberra, 2001, 35 (colour illus.), 93 (colour illus.). 16

Ross Steele, Art and Australia, 'French Impressions', pg. 87-93, Sydney, Spring 1984, 90 (colour illus.), 93.

Elena Taylor, Australian impressionists in France, 'John Russell and friends: Roberts, Monet, van Gogh, Matisse, Rodin', pg. 52-70, Melbourne, 2013, 60 (colour illus.), 175, 176.

Daniel Wildenstein, Monet, Köln, 1996, 414 (colour illus.), 415.

Exhibition history (12)

French art from Australian collections, Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane, Jun 1959–Jul 1959

Claude Monet, painter of light:

Monet & Japan:

Belle-Île: Monet, Russell & Matisse in Brittany:

L'impressionismo e l'età di Van Gogh, Casa dei Carraresi, Treviso, Treviso, 09 Nov 2002–30 Mar 2003

The Impressionists: masterpieces from the Musée d'Orsay, NGV: International, Melbourne, 17 Jun 2004–26 Sep 2004

Claude Monet's Port-Goulphar, Belle-Île on view, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, 24 Oct 2005–30 May 2006

The triumph of landscape: Turner to Monet, National Gallery of Australia, Parkes, 14 Mar 2008–09 Jul 2008

Monet and the Impressionists, Te Papa - Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, 14 Feb 2009–17 May 2009

Paths to abstraction 1867-1917, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Jun 2010–19 Sep 2010

Australian impressionists in France, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne, 15 Jun 2013–06 Oct 2013

Monet/Kelly, 23 Nov 2014–15 Feb 2015