Monet painted more than thirty views of Rouen Cathedral in 1892–93. Moving from one canvas to another as each day progressed, he painted the facade with highly textured brushstrokes that convey the aspect of sculpted stone and make the atmosphere and light palpable. Monet later finished the works in his studio at Giverny, carefully adjusting the pictures both independently and in relation to each other. Hence, most are signed and dated 1894, as is this example. In 1895, Monet exhibited twenty of his cathedral pictures at Galerie Durand-Ruel in Paris. This one was titled Le Portail (Soleil), or The Portal (Sunlight).
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Title:Rouen Cathedral: The Portal (Sunlight)
Artist:Claude Monet (French, Paris 1840–1926 Giverny)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:39 1/4 x 25 7/8 in. (99.7 x 65.7 cm)
Credit Line:Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): Claude Monet 94
[Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1895; bought from the artist; sold in May 1895 for 15,000 francs to Davis]; Theodore M. Davis, Newport, R.I. (1895–d. 1915; his estate, on loan to The Met, 1915–30)
Paris. Durand-Ruel. "Exposition de Tableaux de Claude Monet," May 10–31, 1895, no. 4, 5, or 6 (as "Le Portail [Soleil]" under the general heading "La cathédrale de Rouen").
Worcester Art Museum. "Winter Exhibition," Winter 1898–99, no. 45 (as "Cathedral at Rouen," lent by Mr. Theodore M. Davis).
Boston. Copley Hall. "Loan Collection of Paintings by Claude Monet and Eleven Sculptures by Auguste Rodin," March 1905, no. 94 (lent by Theodore M. Davis, Esq.).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Landscape Paintings," May 14–September 30, 1934, no. 50.
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Claude Monet: Seasons and Moments," March 9–May 15, 1960, no. 65.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Masterpieces of Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 16–November 1, 1970, unnumbered cat. (p. 80).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries," November 14, 1970–June 1, 1971, no. 379.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Painter's Light," October 5–November 10, 1971, no. 30.
Tokyo National Museum. "Treasured Masterpieces of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," August 10–October 1, 1972, no. 99.
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Treasured Masterpieces of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 8–November 26, 1972, no. 99.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Impressionist Epoch," December 12, 1974–February 10, 1975, not in catalogue.
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT.
Lucien Pissarro. Letter. March 1893 [translated excerpt published in W.S. Meadmore, "Lucien Pissarro: Un coeur simple," New York, 1963, p. 70].
Camille Pissarro. Letter to Lucien Pissarro. May 9, 1894 [published in Janine Bailly-Herzberg, ed., "Correspondance de Camille Pissarro," 5 vols., Paris, 1980–1991, vol. 3, no. 1005, p. 450], mentions that an expected exhibition of Monet's "Cathédrales" will not occur.
A[ry]. R[enan]. "Petites Expositions: Cinquante Tableaux de M. Claude Monet." Chronique des arts et de la curiosité, supplément à la Gazette des beaux-arts no. 20 (May 18, 1895), p. 186.
Gustave Geffroy. "Claude Monet." Le Journal (May 10, 1895) [reprinted in Gustave Geffroy, "La Vie Artistique," Paris, vol. 6, 1900, pp. 165–67].
Camille Mauclair. "Choses d'art." Mercure de France 66 (June 1895), pp. 357–58.
Camille Pissarro. Letter to Lucien Pissarro. May 26, 1895 [published in Janine Bailly-Herzberg, ed., "Correspondance de Camille Pissarro," 5 vols., Paris, 1980–1991, vol. 4, no. 1138, p. 75].
Henry Eon. "Les Cathédrales de Claude Monet." La Plume no. 147 (June 1, 1895), p. 259.
Thadée Natanson. "Expositions I. M. Claude Monet." La revue blanche 8 (June 1, 1895), pp. 521–23.
[François] Thiebault-Sisson. "Au jour le jour: L'exposition Claude Monet." Le temps (May 12, 1895), unpaginated.
"Exposition Claude Monet." L'art moderne 15 (May 26, 1895), p. 164.
Camille Pissarro. Letter to Lucien Pissarro. June 1, 1895 [published in Janine Bailly-Herzberg, ed., "Correspondance de Camille Pissarro," 5 vols., Paris: 1980–1991, vol. 4, no. 1140, p. 78].
Georges Lecomte. "Les Cathédrales de M. Claude Monet." La Nouvelle revue 94 (June 1, 1895), p. 672.
Louis Lumet. "Sensations d'Art (Claude Monet)." L'Enclos no. 3 (June 1895), pp. 44–45.
Georges Clemenceau. Letter to Gustave Geffroy. May 18, 1895 [published in Jean-Baptiste Duroselle et al., "Georges Clemenceau à son ami Claude Monet: Correspondance," Paris, 1993, p. 39].
Georges Clemenceau. Letter to Claude Monet. May 21, 1895 [published in Jean-Baptiste Duroselle et al., "Georges Clemenceau à son ami Claude Monet: Correspondance," Paris, 1993, pp. 31–32, 39–40, 71], discusses Exh. Paris 1895 and his review [see Ref. Clemenceau 1895].
Georges Clemenceau. "Révolution de Cathédrales." La Justice (May 20, 1895) [published in François Bergot et al., "Rouen, Les 'Cathédrales' de Monet," exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen, 1994, pp. 99–103].
Gustave Geffroy. La Vie artistique. Vol. 5, Paris, 1897, p. 240.
Léon Bazalgette. L'Esprit Nouveau. Paris, 1898, pp. 373, 376–79, 389–91.
Sam A. Lewisohn. Painters and Personality: A Collector's View of Modern Art. [New York], 1937, pp. 85–86, pl. 44.
Preface by Edward Alden Jewell inFrench Impressionists and Their Contemporaries Represented in American Collections. New York, 1944, ill. p. 145 (color).
Oscar Reuterswärd. Monet. Stockholm, 1948, p. 287.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Miniatures, French Impressionists: Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, and Boudin. Vol. 27, Album 51, New York, 1951, unpaginated, ill. (color).
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 69.
William C. Seitz. Claude Monet. New York, , pp. 38–39, fig. 49.
George Heard Hamilton. Claude Monet's Paintings of Rouen Cathedral. London, 1960, fig. 2.
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. 138–40, 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. 297–301, 304–5, fig. 26.
John Rewald. "The Impressionist Brush." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 32, no. 3 (1973/1974), pp. 42–43, no. 27, ill. (overall and color detail).
Carl R. Baldwin. The Impressionist Epoch. Exh. brochure, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. [New York], 1974, p. 19.
Steven Z. Levine. Monet and His Critics. PhD diss., Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. New York, 1976, pp. 177–222.
Daniel Wildenstein. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. Vol. 3, 1887–1898: Peintures. Paris, 1979, pp. 45–46, 52, 66 n. 1278, pp. 156–57, no. 1325, ill., dates it 1892, and identifies it as no. 4 in the 1895 exhibition at Durand-Ruel.
Grace Seiberling. Monet's Series. PhD diss., Yale University. New York, 1981, pp. 155–56, 160–62, 271, 365, no. 4, fig. 23.
Robert L. Herbert. "The Decorative and the Natural in Monet's Cathedrals." Aspects of Monet: A Symposium on the Artist's Life and Times. Ed. John Rewald and Frances Weitzenhoffer. New York, 1984, pp. 162, 167–71, 173–74.
Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 10, 144–45, 252, ill. (color, overall and detail).
Daniel Wildenstein. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. Vol. 4, 1899–1926: Peintures. Lausanne, 1985, p. 44 n. 412.
Charles F. Stuckey, ed. Monet: A Retrospective. New York, 1985, ill. p. 178.
John House inClaude Monet: Painter of Light. Exh. cat., Auckland City Art Gallery. Auckland, New Zealand, 1985, pp. 23–24, 91, fig. 15, dates it 1892–94.
Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, pp. 34–35, 37, colorpl. 19.
Grace Seiberling. Monet in London. Exh. cat., High Museum of Art. Seattle, 1988, p. 12, fig. 7.
Richard Kendall, ed. Monet by Himself. London, 1989, ill. p. 214 (color).
Joachim Pissarro. Monet's Cathedral: Rouen 1892–1894. London, 1990, pp. 16, 30–31, 48–49, colorpl. 7.
Georges Clemenceau. Claude Monet: Les Nympheas. Rpt. ed. [1st ed. Paris, 1928]. [Paris], 1990, pp. 73, 75, 77–80 [see Ref. Herbert 1984, pp. 175, 178 n. 28].
Gary Tinterow. "Miracle au Met." Connaissance des arts no. 472 (June 1991), p. 36.
Chuji Ikegami. New History of World Art. Vol. 22, Period of Impressionism. Tokyo, 1993, p. 219, fig. 134, dates it 1892.
Rouen: Les "Cathédrales" de Monet. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen. Rouen, 1994, ill. p. 96 (color).
Georges Clemenceau. Le Grand Pan. Ed. Jean-Noël Jeanneney. new ed. [1st ed., Paris, 1896]. [Paris], 1995, pp. 471, 473, 475–78, 499 n. 30.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 477, ill.
Daniel Wildenstein. Monet or the Triumph of Impressionism. Vol. 1, 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, p. 293.
Daniel Wildenstein. Monet. Vol. 3, Catalogue raisonné–Werkverzeichnis: Nos. 969–1595. 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, pp. 533, 539–40, no. 1325, ill. (color).
Ziad Mahayni. "Atmosphäre als Gegendstand der Kunst: Monets Gemäldeserie der Kathedrale von Rouen." Neue Ästhetik: Das Atmosphärische und die Kunst. Munich, 2002, pp. 67–68, fig. 3 and ill. on cover (color).
Eric M. Zafran inClaude Monet (1840–1926): A Tribute to Daniel Wildenstein and Katia Granoff. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, 2007, pp. 117, 149 n. 263.
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. 168, 204.
Charles Stuckey inThe Repeating Image: Multiples in French Painting from David to Matisse. Ed. Eik Kahng. Exh. cat., Walters Art Museum. Baltimore, 2007, p. 108.
Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 144, 284–85, no. 133, ill. (color and black and white).
Sylvie Patin inClaude Monet: 1840–1926. Exh. cat., Galeries nationales, Grand Palais. Paris, 2010, p. 264, ill. before p. 282 (color), dates it 1892; notes that although the Rouen Cathedral series is dated 1894, it was "painted during two campaigns in 1892 and 1893 (each time from February to mid-April) using three slightly different sites, and then completed in the studio at Giverny".
Richard Kendall inNineteenth-Century European Paintings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Ed. Sarah Lees. Williamstown, Mass., 2012, vol. 2, p. 546 n. 10, under no. 229.
Sandra Gianfreda. "The early 'Japonistes'." Monet, Gauguin, Van Gogh . . . "Japanese Inspirations" Museum Folkwang. Exh. cat., Museum Folkwang, Essen. Göttingen, 2014, p. 67.
Christoph Heinrich inImpressionism: The Art of Landscape. Ed. Ortrud Westheider and Michael Philipp. Exh. cat., Museum Barberini, Potsdam. Munich, 2017, pp. 76–77, 83.
Katharine Baetjer inEuropean Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exh. cat., Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art. South Brisbane, 2021, ill. p. 31 (color installation view).
Monet's series of the cathedral of Rouen was painted from the second-floor windows of several shops on the rue du Grand-Pont opposite the façade during the winter of 1892–93, and completed at Giverny.
Monet worked on several canvases simultaneously, each one recording the appearance of the façade in the light of varying times of day and weather conditions. The Museum's picture depicts a time around noon or early afternoon on a clear day.
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