The prolonged freeze and heavy snowfalls in the winter of 1892–93 inspired Monet to capture their effects on the Seine in a series of paintings for which he chose a vantage point not far from his home in Giverny. The river had frozen in mid-January but began to thaw on the 23rd; the following day, in a letter to his dealer, Durand-Ruel, Monet lamented that "the thaw came too soon for me . . . the results—just four or five canvases and they are far from complete." By the end of February, however, he had finished more than a dozen paintings, including this view of the melting ice floes.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): Claude Monet 93
[Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1897; bought from the artist, with I. Montaignac, on February 3, 1897, for Fr 11,400; stock no. 4067; sold on the same day to Havemeyer]; Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, New York (1897–his d. 1907); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1907–d. 1929; cat., 1931, pp. 158–59, ill., as "Landscape—Les Glaçons")
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 11–November 2, 1930, no. 87 [as "The Ice Floe (Les Glaçons)"][2nd ed., 1958, no. 174].
New York. Richard L. Feigen & Co. "Claude Monet," October 15–November 15, 1969, no. 32 (as "The Ice Floe").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Monet's Years at Giverny: Beyond Impressionism," April 19–July 9, 1978, no. 23.
Saint Louis Art Museum. "Monet's Years at Giverny: Beyond Impressionism," August 1–October 8, 1978, no. 23.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A408.
Washington. Phillips Collection. "Impressionists in Winter: Effets de neige," September 19, 1998–January 3, 1999, no. 27.
San Francisco. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. "Impressionists in Winter: Effets de neige," January 30–May 2, 1999, no. 27.
Brooklyn Museum of Art. "Impressionists in Winter: Effets de neige," May 27–August 29, 1999, no. 27.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 91.
Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.
Vienna. Kunsthistorisches Museum. "Wintermärchen. Winter-Darstellungen in der europäischen Kunst von Bruegel bis Beuys," October 18, 2011–January 8, 2012, no. 156.
Kunsthaus Zürich. "Wintermärchen. Winter-Darstellungen in der europäischen Kunst von Bruegel bis Beuys," February 10–April 29, 2012, no. 156.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Monet and the Seine: Impressions of a River," October 26, 2014–February 1, 2015, no. 37.
Harry B. Wehle. "The Exhibition of the H. O. Havemeyer Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 25 (March 1930), p. 56.
H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, pp. 158–59, ill.
Stephen Gwynn. Claude Monet and His Garden: The Story of an Artist's Paradise. New York, 1934, p. 168.
Oscar Reuterswärd. Monet. Stockholm, 1948, p. 282.
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, p. 138, ill.
Douglas Cooper. "The Monets in the Metropolitan Museum." Metropolitan Museum Journal 3 (1970), pp. 295, 304–5, fig. 16, as "The Thaw"; compares it unfavorably with Monet's earlier scenes of ice floes from 1879–81.
Lydie Huyghe in René Huyghe. La Relève du réel: la peinture française au XIXe siècle: impressionnisme, symbolisme. Paris, 1974, fig. 106, as "La débâcle".
Sabine Cotté. Monet. Paris, 1974, p. 46, fig. 16 (color).
Daniel Wildenstein. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. Vol. 3, 1887–1898: Peintures. Paris, 1979, pp. 49, 160–61, no. 1335, ill., tentatively identifies it with the "Glaçons" mentioned by Monet in several letters of 1896–97 [see pp. 292–93, nos. 1354–55, 1357, 1361, 1364].
Daniel Wildenstein. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. Vol. 2, 1882–1886: Peintures. Lausanne, 1979, p. 294, pièce justificative no. 95, tentatively identifies the MMA work with "Glaçons à Vétheuil" mentioned in this letter [see Ref. Wildenstein, III, 1979, p. 160].
Marion Grayson. "Monet's Houses of Parliament: Toward nostalgia and a new reality." Pharos 16 (May 1979), pp. 8–9, fig. 4.
Jacqueline Guillaud and Maurice Guillaud. Claude Monet au temps de Giverny. Exh. cat., Centre Culturel du Marais. Paris, 1983, p. 309, fig. 51 (color).
René Huyghe. "Monet précurseur." Aspects of Monet. Ed. John Rewald and Frances Weitzenhoffer. New York, 1984, p. 250, fig. 96.
Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 142–43, 252, ill. (color).
Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, p. 257.
John House. Monet: Nature into Art. New Haven, 1986, pp. 27, 57, 65, 69, 100, 128, 173–74, colorpl. 213.
Susan Alyson Stein inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 221.
Gary Tinterow inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 33.
Gretchen Wold inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 365–66, no. A408, ill.
Steven Z. Levine. Monet, Narcissus, and Self-Reflection: The Modernist Myth of the Self. Chicago, 1994, pp. 170–71, fig. 86, discusses the provenance of this work and Monet's paintings of ice floes as the pursuit of "an inexpressible absolute".
Daniel Wildenstein. Monet or the Triumph of Impressionism. Vol. 1, 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, p. 288.
Daniel Wildenstein. Monet. Vol. 3, Catalogue raisonné–Werkverzeichnis: Nos. 969–1595. 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, pp. 542–43, no. 1335, ill. (color).
Caroline Durand-Ruel. "Quand les Havemeyers aimaient la peinture française." Connaissance des arts no. 544 (November 1997), p. 108, mistakenly assigns it to the 1880 "Débâcle" series.
Katherine Rothkopf inImpressionists in Winter: Effets de neige. Exh. cat., Phillips Collection. Washington, 1998, pp. 54, 126–27, 211–12, no. 27, ill. (color), remarks that this painting is one of Monet's numerous "effet de neige" pictures that are purely landscape, in contrast to the human elements included in Pissarro's snowscapes; states that this is one of thirteen views of ice floes by Monet and notes similarities between these works and his later views of Mount Kolsaas, Norway, from 1895; discusses the climatic conditions during two weeks in January 1893, when ice floes, caused by freezing and thawing on the Seine, prompted Monet to work outdoors in "rather frigid conditions"; remarks that all thirteen were painted on the Bennecourt bank of the river, across from Giverny, and that the MMA canvas is one of nine examples that face towards the hills on the left bank; compares it with two other similar compositions from the same series: "Floating Ice at Bennecourt" (Waterhouse Collection) and "Morning Haze" (Philadelphia Museum of Art), all of which include the islet of Forée at the center.
Karin Sagner-Düchting inMonet and Modernism. Ed. Karin Sagner-Düchting. Exh. cat., Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung. Munich, 2001, pp. 40–41, ill. p. 45 (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. 84.
Kathryn Calley Galitz inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 127, 241, no. 91, ill. (color and black and white).
Kathryn Calley Galitz inMasterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 143, 284, no. 132, ill. (color and black and white).
Tanya Paul in Helga Kessler Aurisch and Tanya Paul. Monet and the Seine: Impressions of a River. Exh. cat., Philbrook Museum of Art. Houston, 2014, pp. 126–27, no. 37, ill. (color), notes that the picture is one of seven of the same view of the Islet of Forée and that, despite its limited palette, the technique is remarkably varied; states that this series of pictures informed Monet's approach to his Rouen cathedral series.
Helga Kessler Aurisch in Helga Kessler Aurisch and Tanya Paul. Monet and the Seine: Impressions of a River. Exh. cat., Philbrook Museum of Art. Houston, 2014, p. 124, compares it to "The Seine at Bennecourt in Winter" (private collection).
Nancy Ireson inImpressionism: The Art of Landscape. Ed. Ortrud Westheider and Michael Philipp. Exh. cat., Museum Barberini, Potsdam. Munich, 2017, p. 46, fig. 5 (color), notes the picture as an example of Monet's turn toward abstraction and a possible relationship to concurrent reports of Fridtjof Nansen's polar exploration.
Another version of this work was sold at Christie's, New York, on November 3, 1981, no. 22, as "Glaçons à Bennecourt."