Description & Technical information

In 1865, the young Claude Monet was accepted for the first time at the annual Salon des Beaux-Arts with two paintings including "L'Embouchure du fleuve à Honfleur", today held at the Norton Simon Foundation in Pasadena, California. To promote his work, the artist was invited to produce a drawing of that painting meant to be reproduced in "L'Autographe au Salon de 1865 et dans les ateliers", a broadsheet journal offering an overview of the exhibits at the Salon. It was finally published in the 9th edition of
the journal, on June 24th 1865. It was the first time that a work by Monet was engraved.

The original ink drawing was copied by A. Belloguet, a professional illustrator employed by the journal. The copy
was then given to specialists who transposed and engraved it on a zinc plate. This technique allows to preserve the artist's original work without it being alterated.

Monet's way of drawing recalls us here the style of Johan Barthold Jongkind's dynamic engraving, representing the "Sortie du Port de Honfleur",also shown at the Salon and reproduced in the 5th edition of the journal. In that drawing, Monet adopts the "scribbling" line of the Dutch artist. The cloudy sky occupies the two thirds of the composition
and is separated from the rough sea by boats and earth. The lighthouse represented in the horizon, called the "Phare de l'Hopital" or "Phare de l'Hospice" was built in 1853 and was lit for the first time in 1857, a few years before Monet's painting.

This work is the only ink drawing known by Claude Monet. In the Catalogue Raisonné by Daniel Wildenstein, two drawings of this same painting are mentioned: the one
from Monet and the one from Belloguet. An image of this latter's engraving illustrates the note of the ink drawing whose location was unknown at that time.
There is another version of our drawing but the attribution to Claude Monet seems a bit doubtful. Indeed, several
errors can be noted. On the canvas and on our drawing as well, there is the presence of an H(o) on the sail of the boat located on the left, as it was the practice at the time to identify the provenance of the ships.
In that case, these initials refer to the city of Honfleur. But on the copy of the original drawing, this letter is changed into a sort of N, the copyist not habing understood the meaning.
On the other hand, the paddles of the boat in the foreground seem to be falling into vacuum with no help from the sailors on board. The drawing as a whole is less
precise and less detailed, wether in the depiction of the landscape, the houses and the lighthouse or in the features of the sky. Finally, the size of the copy (24,5 x 36 cm) is larger then the original drawing (17,5 x 28,5 cm).

Born in Paris, Claude Monet moved to Le Havre,
on the Normandy coast, with his family when he was five. He began as a cartoonist and drew the attention of Eugène Boudin who introduced him to the study of nature. He met Jongkind some years later and it's under the supervision of these two already famous painters that he improved his technique and developed his own style. It is his paintings of the Honfleur bay executed in the 1860s that allowed him to be distinguished and to boost his career.

Our drawing corresponds to a key moment in Monet's life, it marks the beginning of his public recognition but also the beginning of a promotion campaign of his work that he would lead his entire career.

Date:  1865
Period:  19th century
Origin:  Suisse
Medium: Ink on paper
Signature: Signed lower left: Claude Monet

Dimensions: 17.5 x 28.5 cm (6⁷/₈ x 11¹/₄ inches)
Provenance: Max Kaganovitch Gallery, Paris.
Private collection, Paris.


Théodore Duret, Histoire des Peintres
Impressionistes, Éditions H. Floury, Paris, 1906, illustrated p.38
(under the title of Vue de Honfleur).
Le Bulletin de la vie artistique, Paris, 1er février 1921, illustrated p.78.

Claude Roger-Marx, Les maîtres du XIXe siècle et du XXe siècle, Genève, 1954, illustrated p.151.

Wildenstein, Claude Monet : Catalogue Raisonné, Tome V, Supplément aux
peintures - Dessins - Pastels - Index, Wildenstein Institute, Lausanne,
1991, illustrated under the n°D 423, p.124.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, Monet/Boudin, exhibition catalogue, 2018, illustrated under the n°13, p.116.

work will be included in the supplement of the Catalogue Critique de
l'oeuvre de Claude Monet being prepared by the Wildenstein Institute.
Notification of inclusion dated May 10th 2017.

Exhibitions: Les 30 ans de la Galerie Max Kaganovitch, Paris, May 4th - June 18th 1966 (label on the back).
Monet/Boudin, Madrid, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, June 26th - September 30th 2018, n°13.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints