Johan Barthold Jongkind (Dutch, Latrop 1819–1891 La-Côte-Saint-André)
Oil on canvas
21 1/2 x 32 1/8 in. (54.6 x 81.6 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Mendelsohn, 1980
Not on view
This view is based on drawings (Musée du Louvre, Paris) that Jongkind made along the Seine in 1849, the year he began to paint scenes of Paris. He took liberties with the prospect by reducing the number of the bridge’s arches from five to four, eliminating the Place Dauphine, and making Notre-Dame Cathedral appear closer than it is from this vantage point on the river’s left bank. These alterations, together with the dramatic sky and open brushwork, amount to a composition very much in the manner of Jongkind’s mentor, the Romantic marine painter Eugène Isabey (1803–1886).
Inscription: Signed and inscribed (lower right): Souvenir du Pont Neuf / Jongkind
Louis-Charles-Emile Vial (until d. 1917; estate sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, March 6–7, 1918, no. 32, as "Le Vieux Pont-Neuf à Paris," for Fr 12,900); Myran Eknayan (until 1926; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 12, 1926, no. 37, as "Le Vieux Pont-Neuf à Paris vers 1850"); vicomte de Beuret (until 1931; his sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 11–12, 1931, no. 21, for Fr 19,000); Gula Investments Ltd., London (until 1965; sale, Christie's, London, July 9, 1965, no. 111, for £3,150 to Mendelsohn); Mr. and Mrs. Walter Mendelsohn, New York (1965–80)
Rouen. Musée des Beaux-Arts. "Cathédrales, 1789–1914, un mythe moderne," April 12–August 31, 2014, no. 146.
Étienne Moreau-Nélaton. Jongkind raconté par lui-même. Paris, 1918, p. 14, fig. 15, dates it about 1850.
Victorine Hefting. Jongkind: sa vie, son oeuvre, son époque. Paris, 1975, p. 84, no. 88, ill., under 1851; gives erroneous dimensions as 27 x 41 cm.
Victorine Hefting. J.B. Jongkind voorloper van het impressionisme. Amsterdam, 1992, p. 45, ill., dates it 1851 and misstates dimensions as 27 x 41 cm.
Adolph Stein et al. Jongkind: Catalogue critique de l'œuvre. Vol. 1, Peintures. Paris, 2003, p. 84, no. 69, ill., as "Le Pont-Neuf à Paris".
Asher Ethan Miller and Sophie Scully. "'The Pont Neuf': A Paris View by Johan Barthold Jongkind Reconsidered." Metropolitan Museum Journal 50 (2015), pp. 179, 182–87, 191 nn. 1, 12–14, p. 192 nn. 18, 21, figs. 1, 6a, 6b, 7, 8, 11, 12 (color, overall and detail; pre- and post-treatment with crack lines, perspectival lines, and underpainting overlays; X-radiograph), ill. p. 178 (color detail), discuss The Met's picture at length in terms of the development of its composition in the wake of a recent conservation treatment; illuminate the artist's working process.
In 1846, Jongkind left Holland for Paris, where he entered the studio of the marine painter Eugène Isabey. From 1849, views of the Seine became a mainstay of his work, and the Pont Neuf, often shown with laundry barges, was among his favorite motifs. This is the earliest known painting of the bridge. It is based on two drawings found in a sketchbook now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris (inv. nos. RF 11636,16-17 and RF 11636,20).
The first known owner of the Museum's painting, Emile Vial, was acquainted with Jongkind by the 1870s, but it is not known when or from whom he acquired it. In 1918, it fetched the highest price of any work by Jongkind in Vial's estate sale, which included eleven other paintings and five watercolors by the artist.