The Bodmer Oak, Fontainebleau Forest, 1865
Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)
Oil on canvas; 37 7/8 x 50 7/8 in. (96.2 x 129.2 cm)
Signed (lower right): Claude Monet.
Gift of Sam Salz and Bequest of Julia W. Emmons, by exchange, 1964 (64.210)
The Bodmer Oak—named after the Swiss artist Karl Bodmer (1809–1893), who exhibited his painting of the tree at the 1850 Salon—was one of several imposing trees in the Fontainebleau Forest that had acquired a special appellation.
The carpet of russet leaves signals that Monet painted this canvas just before he left Chailly-en-Bière, near Fontainebleau, in October 1865. It is probably the last of several landscapes executed in connection with his monumental Déjeuner sur l'herbe (fragments of which are now at the Musée d'Orsay, Paris).
The slash in the upper right-hand corner of the painting may have been made by Monet, who reputedly mutilated some canvases in order to discourage a landlord from seizing them in 1866.