The Forest of Fontainebleau, south of Paris, became an artistic hot spot in the 1830s. One popular motif was the Bodmer Oak, named after Swiss artist Karl Bodmer (1809–1893), who exhibited a painting of the tree at the Salon of 1850. Monet used bright yellows, greens, and oranges to depict sunlight filtering through the canopy of branches. The carpet of russet leaves signals that he painted this view just before he concluded a months-long visit to Fontainebleau in October 1865. It is probably the last of several landscapes related to his monumental Luncheon on the Grass (1865–66; Musée d’Orsay, Paris), which is set in a sunny woodland glade.
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Title:The Bodmer Oak, Fontainebleau Forest
Artist:Claude Monet (French, Paris 1840–1926 Giverny)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:37 7/8 x 50 7/8 in. (96.2 x 129.2 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of Sam Salz and Bequest of Julia W. Emmons, by exchange, 1964
Inscription: Signed (lower right): Claude Monet.
the artist; seized from his studio at Ville-d'Avray in 1866 or 1867; [Joseph Paschal, nephew of the dealer Pierre-Firmin Martin]; the artist (until 1873; sold to Durand-Ruel for Fr 600); [Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York, 1873–1900]; Chauncey J. Blair, Chicago (1900); [Durand-Ruel, New York, from 1900]; [Sam Salz, New York, by 1962–64]
New York. Durand-Ruel. "Exhibition of Paintings by Claude Monet," January 26–February 14, 1907, no. 23 (as "Le Pavé à Chailly," 1867).
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Claude Monet: Memorial Exhibition," January 1927, no. 43 (as "Le Pavé à Chailly," lent by the Durand-Ruel galleries).
Paris. Durand-Ruel. "Exposition Claude Monet: 1840-1926," May 22–September 30, 1959, no. 4 (as "Le Pavé de Chailly").
San Francisco. California Palace of the Legion of Honor. "Barbizon Revisited," September 27–November 4, 1962, no. 109 (as "Le Pavé de Chailly," lent by Mr. Sam Salz).
Toledo Museum of Art. "Barbizon Revisited," November 20–December 27, 1962, no. 109.
Cleveland Museum of Art. "Barbizon Revisited," January 15–February 24, 1963, no. 109.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Barbizon Revisited," March 14–April 28, 1963, no. 109.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Impressionist Epoch," December 12, 1974–February 10, 1975, not in catalogue.
Amsterdam. Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh. "Franse meesters uit het Metropolitan Museum of Art: Realisten en Impressionisten," March 15–May 31, 1987, no. 20.
Cologne. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. "Landschaft im Licht: Impressionistische Malerei in Europa und Nordamerika, 1860-1910," April 6–July 1, 1990, no. 118.
Kunsthaus Zürich. "Landschaft im Licht: Impressionistische Malerei in Europa und Nordamerika, 1860-1910," August 3–October 21, 1990, no. 118.
Paris. Galeries nationales du Grand Palais. "Impressionnisme: Les origines, 1859–1869," April 19–August 8, 1994, no. 120 (as "The Bodmer Oak, Fontainebleau Forest, the Chailly Road").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Origins of Impressionism," September 27, 1994–January 8, 1995, no. 120.
Art Institute of Chicago. "Claude Monet, 1840–1926," July 22–November 26, 1995, no. 3.
Atlanta. High Museum of Art. "Monet and Bazille: A Collaboration," February 23–May 16, 1999, no. 11 (as "The Bodmer Oak, Fontainebleau Forest, the Chailly Road").
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyons. "L'école de Barbizon: Peindre en plein air avant l'impressionnisme," June 22–September 9, 2002, no. 84 (as "La Chêne Bodmer, forêt de Fontainebleau").
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 84.
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet," March 2–June 8, 2008, no. 43.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet," July 13–October 19, 2008, no. 43.
Madrid. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. "Impresionismo y Aire Libre: De Corot a Van Gogh," February 5–May 12, 2013, no. 55.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence," March 12–July 29, 2018, unnumbered cat.
Arsène Alexandre. Claude Monet. Paris, 1921, pp. 51–52, claims that it was among a number of pictures slashed by Monet when he had to abandon his studio in 1867 because of debts, and that it was later recognized by Boudin and bought by the nephew of the picture dealer Martin.
John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. New York, 1946, ill. p. 85, dates it about 1867.
John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. rev., enl. ed. New York, 1961, ill. p. 95, dates it about 1866.
Charles Merrill Mount. Monet, a biography. New York, 1966, pp. 89, 225–26, 414, lists it among works bought from Monet by Durand-Ruel in March 1873; claims mistakenly that this work was exhibited in the Salon of 1866.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 3, XIX–XX Centuries. New York, 1967, pp. 124–25, ill.
Margaretta M. Salinger. "Windows Open to Nature." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27 (Summer 1968), unpaginated, ill.
Douglas Cooper. "The Monets in the Metropolitan Museum." Metropolitan Museum Journal 3 (1970), pp. 281–84, 302, 305, fig. 3, discusses re-titling it, identifying the subject as the Bodmer oak; calls it the latest of several open-air studies made for "Déjeuner sur l'herbe" (W36ab).
Anthea Callen. "Jean-Baptiste Faure, 1830–1914: A Study of a Patron and Collector of the Impressionists and their Contemporaries." Master's thesis, University of Leicester, 1971, p. 318, no. 432, claims that it was sold by Durand-Ruel to Faure on March 13, 1873 and that Faure probably sold it back to Durand-Ruel at a later date [this transaction is not included in Ref. Wildenstein 1974].
Joel Isaacson. Monet: Le déjeuner sur l'herbe. New York, 1972, pp. 99–100 n. 16, finds it "more problematical in its relationship" to the "Déjeuner sur l'herbe" than the landscapes in Paris and Copehagen (W56 and W57) and a third work in a private collection (W19).
Kermit Swiler Champa. Studies in Early Impressionism. New Haven, 1973, p. 5, fig. 9, as "Forest Interior, Fontainebleau"; discusses it as a study of the interactions of light and color occurring in the forest setting.
John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. 4th rev. ed. New York, 1973, ill. p. 95, as "Le Pavé de Chailly"; dates it about 1866.
Lydie Huyghe in René Huyghe. La Relève du réel: la peinture française au XIXe siècle: impressionnisme, symbolisme. Paris, 1974, fig. 95, as "Le chêne Bodmer, forêt de Fontainebleau"; dates it about 1866.
Daniel Wildenstein. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. Vol. 1, 1840–1881: Peintures. Lausanne, 1974, pp. 17, 29, 142–43, no. 60, ill., as "Un chêne au Bas-Bréau (Le Bodmer)"; dates it 1865.
Elizabeth H. Jones inMonet Unveiled: A New Look at Boston's Paintings. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston, 1977, p. 12, mentions that a tree very similar in shape to this one is revealed through infrared and radiography under the paint surface of "Road in a Forest with Woodgatherers," of about 1863 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).
Robert Gordon and Andrew Forge. Monet. New York, 1983, ill. p. 21.
Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 106–7, 251, ill. (color).
Charles F. Stuckey, ed. Monet: A Retrospective. New York, 1985, ill. p. 34.
Sjraar van Heutgen et al. inFranse meesters uit het Metropolitan Museum of Art: Realisten en Impressionisten. Exh. cat., Rijksmuseum Vincent van Gogh, Amsterdam. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1987, pp. 66–67, no. 20, ill. (color, overall and detail).
Marianne Alphant. Claude Monet: Une vie dans le paysage. [Paris], 1993, p. 113, as "Un chêne au Bas-Bréau".
Henri Loyrette inOrigins of Impressionism. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, pp. 274, 359 [French ed., Paris].
Gary Tinterow in Gary Tinterow and Henri Loyrette. Origins of Impressionism. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1994, pp. 73–74, 296, 330, 422–23, no. 120, fig. 96 (color) [French ed., "Impressionnisme: Les origines, 1859–1869," Paris], as "Le Chêne de Bodmer: La Route de Chailly (The Bodmer Oak, Fontainebleau Forest, the Chailly Road"; dates it early or late October 1865; notes that the oak tree was named after the Swiss artist Karl Bodmer, who exhibited his painting of it in the 1850 Salon.
Jack Flam. "The New Painting." New York Review of Books (November 17, 1994), pp. 48, 50, ill. (color), compares it to Courbet's "Oak Tree in Flagey" (Murauchi Art Museum, Tokyo).
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 471, ill. p. 472.
Daniel Wildenstein. Monet. Vol. 2, Catalogue raisonné–Werkverzeichnis: Nos. 1–968. 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, pp. 30–31, no. 60, ill. (color), as "Un Chêne au Bas-Bréau (le Bodmer)".
Christoph Heilmann inCorot, Courbet und die Maler von Barbizon: "Les amis de la nature". Ed. Christoph Heilmann, Michael Clarke, and John Sillevis. Exh. cat., Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen and Haus der Kunst München. Munich, 1996, p. 12, fig. 3, as "Bodmer-Eiche (La chêne de Bodmer, La Route de Chailly)".
Daniel Wildenstein. Monet or the Triumph of Impressionism. Vol. 1, 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, p. 58, ill. p. 31 (color).
Joachim Pissarro. Monet and the Mediterranean. Exh. cat., Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth. New York, 1997, pp. 88, 185 n. 3, as "the so-called Pavé de Chailly (1864–65)".
Matthias Arnold. Claude Monet. Hamburg, 1998, p. 97.
Dianne W. Pitman inMonet & Bazille: A Collaboration. Ed. David A. Brenneman. Exh. cat., High Museum of Art. Atlanta, 1998, pp. 42, 46, 106, no. 11, ill. pp. 43, 66 (color, overall and detail), states that this picture is a study for "Luncheon on the Grass".
Phaedra Siebert inMonet & Bazille: A Collaboration. Ed. David A. Brenneman. Exh. cat., High Museum of Art. Atlanta, 1998, p. 98.
Guido Guiffrè inLa nascita dell'impressionismo. Ed. Marco Goldin. Exh. cat., Casa dei Carraresi, Treviso. Conegliano, Italy, 2000, p. 272.
Laurence des Cars inLa nascita dell'impressionismo. Ed. Marco Goldin. Exh. cat., Casa dei Carraresi, Treviso. Conegliano, Italy, 2000, p. 73, ill.
Greg M. Thomas. Art and Ecology in Nineteenth-Century France: The Landscapes of Théodore Rousseau. Princeton, 2000, p. 76, fig. 45.
Vincent Pomarède inL'école de Barbizon: Peindre en plein air avant l'impressionnisme. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyons. Lyons, 2002, pp. 255, 297, no. 84, ill. p. 270 (color).
Christoph Becker et al. Monet's Garden. Exh. cat., Kunsthaus Zürich. Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany, 2004, pp. 19, 195, no. 6, ill. p. 21 (color).
Richard R. Brettell and Stephen F. Eisenman. Nineteenth-Century Art in the Norton Simon Museum. Ed. Sara Campbell. Vol. 1, New Haven, 2006, p. 428, fig. 112a.
Belinda Thomson inTurner e gli impressionisti: La grande storia del paesaggio moderno in Europa. Ed. Marco Goldin. Exh. cat., Museo di Santa Giulia, Brescia. Treviso, 2006, p. 184, ill.
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.
Gary Tinterow inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 120, 237–38, no. 84, ill. (color).
Kimberly Jones in Kimberly Jones. In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2008, p. 65, ill. p. vii (color detail) and colorpl. 43.
Sarah Kennel in Kimberly Jones. In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2008, p. 162.
Helga Aurisch in Kimberly Jones. In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2008, p. 175.
Dominique de Font-Réaulx inGustave Courbet. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2008, p. 238, fig. 3 (color) [French ed., Paris, 2007].
Anne Roquebert inClaude Monet: 1840–1926. Exh. cat., Galeries nationales, Grand Palais. Paris, 2010, p. 92, fig. 3 (color).
Mary Mathews Gedo. Monet and His Muse: Camille Monet in the Artist's Life. Chicago, 2010, pp. 34, 241 n. 48, fig. 1.11.
Laura Prins inVan Gogh: Into the Undergrowth. Exh. cat., Cincinnati Art Museum. Cincinnati, 2016, p. 124, states that Monet painted the Bodmer Oak twice to honor Bodmer and that the other picture of it is in a private collection (W60a).
George T. M. Shackelford inMonet: The Early Years. Exh. cat., Kimbell Art Museum. Fort Worth, 2016, p. 96, fig. 94 (color).
Kimberly A. Jones inFrédéric Bazille (1841–1870) and the Birth of Impressionism. Ed. Michel Hilaire and Paul Perrin. Exh. cat., Musée Fabre, Montpellier. Paris, 2016, pp. 58, 60 [French ed., "Frédéric Bazille (1841–1870): La Jeunesse de l'impressionnisme," p. 60], compares it to Bazille's "Landscape at Chailly" (1865, Art Institute of Chicago).
Colta Ives. Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2018, pp. 35, 185, fig. 30 (color).
George T. M. Shackelford. Monet: The Late Years. Exh. cat., Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Fort Worth, 2019, p. 176, fig. 174 (color).
Paul Hayes Tucker inClaude Monet: The Truth of Nature. Ed. Angelica Daneo et al. Exh. cat., Denver Art Museum. Munich, 2019, p. 15.
Paloma Alarcó. The Impressionists and Photography. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid, 2019, p. 40, fig. 13 (color), identifies Gustave Le Gray's photograph "Oak Trees in Bas-Bréau" (1852, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris) as a compositional model for The Met's picture.
Monet frequented Chailly, a village on the edge of the Fontainebleau Forest, from 1863 to 1866. It was there in 1865 and 1866 that he worked on his large composition Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe, as well as on numerous landscape studies.
This picture was for many years incorrectly known as "The Chailly Road," confusing it with two other paintings of that subject now in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris (W56), and the Ordrupgaardsamlingen, Copenhagen (W57). The Met work (W60) depicts an oak tree, no longer extant, made famous by the Swiss artist Karl Bodmer (1809-1893), and often portrayed by painters working in the Fontainebleau Forest.
Wildenstein (1974) dates this work 1865. It is related to the large composition of Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe, on which Monet worked in 1865 and 1866, and which exists today as two fragments, one in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris (W63a), and one in a private collection (W63b). There is also a completed study in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow (W62).
Publishing and Marketing Assistant Rachel High sits down with curator emerita Colta Ives to discuss the transformation of Paris during the nineteenth century into a city of tree-lined boulevards and public parks.
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