Monet spent the spring of 1889 painting the landscape around the confluence of two rivers, the Petite Creuse and the Grande Creuse, at the village of Fresselines in central France. For this view, which is nearly identical to another picture (private collection), he positioned his easel on the steep bank of the ravine edging the Petite Creuse, looking down on the shallow rapids from above. The resulting composition omits the sky and other indicators of depth, creating an ambiguous space that produces a strongly two-dimensional effect.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): Claude Monet 89
the artist, Giverny (1889–1900; sold on November 22, 1900 to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York, 1900–55; sold on December 15, 1955 to Chollet]; Louis de Chollet, Paris (1955–58; sale, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, June 11, 1958, no. 289, to Wildenstein); [Wildenstein, Paris and New York, 1958; sold to de Groot]; Adelaide Milton de Groot, New York (1958–d. 1967)
Paris. Galerie Georges Petit. "Claude Monet, A. Rodin," June 21–August ?, 1889, no. 136 (as "Étude d'eau," 1889, possibly this picture).
Paris. Durand-Ruel. "Oeuvres récentes de Claude Monet," November 22–December 15, 1900, no. 25 [see Wildenstein 1979].
Brussels. Musée d'Art Moderne. "Exposition des peintres impressionnistes," February 25–March 29, 1904, no. 104 (as "Le Torrent de la Petite-Creuse").
Berlin. Paul Cassirer. "Ausstellung VIII. Jahrgang," 1905, no. 41 [see Wildenstein 1996].
Paris. Durand-Ruel. "Tableaux par Claude Monet," March 2–21, 1914, no. 42.
New York. Durand-Ruel. "Monet," 1915, no. 6 [see Wildenstein 1979].
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Claude Monet: Seasons and Moments," March 9–May 15, 1960, no. 43 (lent by Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot, New York).
Los Angeles County Museum. "Claude Monet: Seasons and Moments," June 14–August 7, 1960, no. 43.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 12–September 2, 1963, no. 44 (as "Torrents in the Creuse," lent by Adelaide Milton de Groot).
Jacksonville, Fla. Arts Assembly of Jacksonville. "Jacksonville Arts Festival," March 30–April 5, 1976, no catalogue?
Auckland City Art Gallery. "Claude Monet Painter of Light," April 9–May 28, 1985, no. 19.
Sydney. Art Gallery of New South Wales. "Claude Monet Painter of Light," June 11–July 23, 1985, no. 19.
Melbourne. National Gallery of Victoria. "Claude Monet Painter of Light," August 6–September 17, 1985, no. 19.
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "Claude Monet (1840–1926): A Tribute to Daniel Wildenstein and Katia Granoff," April 27–June 15, 2007, no. 40 (as "Torrent of the Petite Creuse at Fresselines").
Madeleine Octave Maus. Trente années de lutte pour l'art: 1884–1914. Brussels, 1926, p. 323.
William C. Seitz. Claude Monet. New York, , p. 136, in discussing various Creuse motifs painted by Monet, mentions "an unprecedented study of a torrent rushing by the shore," possibly this picture.
William C. Seitz. Claude Monet: Seasons and Moments. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1960, pp. 23, 61, no. 43, ill. p. 18.
Luigina Rossi Bortolatto. L'opera completa di Claude Monet, 1870–1889. Milan, 1966, p. 109, no. 336, ill.
Daniel Wildenstein. Monet, Impressions. Lausanne, 1967, ill. p. 51 (color).
Douglas Cooper. "The Monets in the Metropolitan Museum." Metropolitan Museum Journal 3 (1970), pp. 292, 305, fig. 12.
Roger Terry Dunn. "The Monet-Rodin Exhibition at the Galerie Georges Petit in 1889." PhD diss., Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., 1978, pp. iii, 125–26, 250, fig. 6.
Daniel Wildenstein. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. Vol. 3, 1887–1898: Peintures. Paris, 1979, pp. 19–20 n. 820, p. 21 n. 825, pp. 128–29, no. 1239, ill., includes an excerpt of a letter from Monet to Durand-Ruel of 1900, where Monet mentions that he is sending it to the dealer.
Grace Seiberling. Monet's Series. PhD diss., Yale University. New York, 1981, p. 77.
Robert Gordon and Andrew Forge. Monet. New York, 1983, ill. p. 195.
Andrew Forge. "Voilà mon atelier. A moi!." Aspects of Monet. Ed. John Rewald and Frances Weitzenhoffer. New York, 1984, pp. 103–4, fig. 40.
Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 11, 136–37, 252, ill. (color).
Daniel Wildenstein. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. Vol. 4, 1899–1926: Peintures. Lausanne, 1985, p. 22 n. 181, p. 44 n. 412, p. 79 n. 726, lists this picture in an exhibition at Paul Cassirer in Berlin in 1905, although he does not include the exhibition in the catalogue entry for this work (see Ref. Wildenstein 1979).
John House inClaude Monet: Painter of Light. Exh. cat., Auckland City Art Gallery. Auckland, New Zealand, 1985, pp. 16, 18, 74, 76, 78–80, 106, no. 19, ill. (color), points out that it is one of the earliest works in which Monet completely omits the sky and concentrates on depicting the surface of water, as in the later water lily paintings.
Richard Kendall, ed. Monet by Himself. London, 1989, ill. p. 167 (color).
Daniel Wildenstein. Monet. Vol. 3, Catalogue raisonné–Werkverzeichnis: Nos. 969–1595. 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, p. 473, no. 1239, ill. (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. 137.
Joseph Baillio and Cora Michael inClaude Monet (1840–1926): A Tribute to Daniel Wildenstein and Katia Granoff. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, 2007, pp. 167, 203, ill. pp. 201–2 (color detail).
Eliot Rowlands et al. inClaude Monet (1840–1926): A Tribute to Daniel Wildenstein and Katia Granoff. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, 2007, pp. 316, 318, no. 40, ill. p. 257 (color).
Richard Thomson inClaude Monet: 1840–1926. Exh. cat., Galeries nationales, Grand Palais. Paris, 2010, p. 209, 211 n. 28, fig. 5 (color).
Richard Thomson. Art of the Actual: Naturalism and Style in Early Third Republic France, 1880–1900. New Haven, 2012, pp. 232–33, calls it a "triumph of impressionist naturalism" and discusses its relation to the experience of vision over time.
Monet spent the spring months of 1889 in the Creuse valley in Berry, where this picture was painted, perhaps during his stay with the poet Maurice Rollinat. Another, very similar version of this composition (W1240) is in a private collection.