Monet spent most of February 1883 at Étretat, a fishing village and resort on the Normandy coast. He painted twenty views of the beach and the three extraordinary rock formations in the area: the Porte d'Aval, the Porte d'Amont, and the Manneporte. The sunlight that strikes the Manneporte has a dematerializing effect that permitted the artist to interpret the cliff almost exclusively in terms of color and luminosity. Most nineteenth century visitors were attracted to the rock as a natural wonder. Monet instead concentrated on his own changing perception of it at different times of day.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): Claude Monet 83
the artist, Paris (1883; sold July 28, 1883 for ?Fr 600 to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1883; stock no. 2980; sold August 9, 1883 to Georges Petit]; [Georges Petit, Paris, 1883–at least 1886]; William H. Fuller, New York (by 1899–d. 1902; his estate sale, American Art Association, New York, March 12–13, 1903, no. 153, as "L'aiguille d'Etretat" for $2,700 to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, New York, 1903; stock no. 2881; sold April 30, 1903 to Osborn]; William Church Osborn, New York (1903–d. 1951)
Paris. Galerie Georges Petit. "Exposition internationale de peinture: Quatrième année," May 15–?, 1885, no. 66.
Brussels. Palais des Beaux-Arts. "Troisième exposition annuelle des XX," February 6–March 7, 1886, no. 4 (lent by M. Georges Petit, possibly this picture).
New York. American Art Association. "Works in Oil and Pastel by the Impressionists of Paris," April 10–28, 1886, no. 123 (possibly this picture).
New York. National Academy of Design. "Works in Oil and Pastel by the Impressionists of Paris," May 25–June 30, 1886, no. 123 (possibly this picture).
New York. Lotus Club. "Pictures by Claude Monet," January 1899, no. 21 (as "The Great Arch at Étretat," lent by W. H. Fuller).
Boston. Copley Hall. "Loan Collection of Paintings by Claude Monet and Eleven Sculptures by Auguste Rodin," March 1905, no. 20 (as "L'aiguille, Étretat," lent by William Church Osborn, Esq.).
Utica, N.Y. Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. "Masterpieces of French Impressionist Painting," January 4–25, 1953, no catalogue (continuing series of one painting at a time).
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Claude Monet: Seasons and Moments," March 9–May 15, 1960, no. 36.
Tokyo National Museum. "Treasured Masterpieces of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," August 10–October 1, 1972, no. 96.
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Treasured Masterpieces of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 8–November 26, 1972, no. 96.
Art Institute of Chicago. "Claude Monet, 1840–1926," July 22–November 26, 1995, no. 71.
Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "Paris–Bruxelles, Bruxelles–Paris: Réalisme, Impressionnisme, Symbolisme, Art Nouveau; Les relations artistiques entre la France et la Belgique, 1848–1914," March 18–July 14, 1997, no. 113 (as "La Manneporte").
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Ghent. "Paris–Bruxelles, Bruxelles–Paris: Réalisme, Impressionnisme, Symbolisme, Art Nouveau; Les relations artistiques entre la France et la Belgique, 1848–1914," September 6–December 14, 1997, no. 113.
Canberra. National Gallery of Australia. "Monet & Japan," March 9–June 11, 2001, no. 15.
Perth. Art Gallery of Western Australia. "Monet & Japan," July 7–September 16, 2001, no. 15.
Edinburgh. Royal Scottish Academy. "Monet: The Seine and the Sea, 1878–1883," August 6–October 26, 2003, no. 74.
County Durham. Bowes Museum. "Boudin, Monet, and the Sea Painters of Normandy," May 29–August 30, 2004, unnumbered cat. (pl. 23).
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "Monet in Normandy," June 17–September 17, 2006, no. 41.
Raleigh. North Carolina Museum of Art. "Monet in Normandy," October 15, 2006–January 14, 2007, no. 41.
Cleveland Museum of Art. "Monet in Normandy," February 18–May 20, 2007, no. 41.
Paris. Galeries nationales, Grand Palais. "Claude Monet: 1840–1926," September 22, 2010–January 24, 2011, no. 67 (as "The Manneporte").
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 6, 2012–January 4, 2013, no. 129.
Beijing. National Museum of China. "Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 8–May 9, 2013, no. 129.
Claude Monet. Letter to Durand-Ruel. July 27, 1883 [published in L. Venturi, "Les archives de l'impressionnisme," Paris, 1939, vol. 1, p. 259].
G. Dargenty. "Exposition internationale de peinture." Courrier de l'art (May 29, 1885), p. 264 [see Ref. Wildenstein 1979].
"W. H. Fuller's Monets Sold, Only $31,400 Paid for the Eleven Pictures." Sun 70 (March 14, 1903), p. 2.
Gustave Geffroy. Claude Monet: Sa vie, son temps, son œuvre. Paris, 1922, p. 108.
Madeleine Octave Maus. Trente années de lutte pour l'art: 1884–1914. Brussels, 1926, p. 43 n. 2, lists pictures by Monet exhibited at Les XX in 1886, possibly including this picture [see Notes].
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Miniatures, French Impressionists: Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, and Boudin. Vol. 27, Album 51, New York, 1951, unpaginated, ill. (color).
Margaretta M. Salinger. Claude Monet: 1840–1926. New York, 1957, unpaginated, colorpl. 27 [see Ref. Sterling and Salinger 1967].
William C. Seitz. Claude Monet. New York, , pp. 32, 118–19, ill. (color).
William C. Seitz. Claude Monet: Seasons and Moments. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1960, pp. 19–20, 61, no. 36, ill.
Raymond Lindon. "'Falaise à Etretat' par Claude Monet." Gazette des beaux-arts 55 (March 1960), pp. 180–81, fig. 3.
Luigina Rossi Bortolatto. L'opera completa di Claude Monet, 1870–1889. Milan, 1966, p. 105, no. 259, ill. p. 259 and colorpl. XXXIV.
Raymond Cogniat. Monet and His World. London, 1966, p. 139, ill. p. 94.
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. 135, ill.
Douglas Cooper. "The Monets in the Metropolitan Museum." Metropolitan Museum Journal 3 (1970), pp. 291–92, 294, 302–5, fig. 14.
Lydie Huyghe in René Huyghe. La Relève du réel: la peinture française au XIXe siècle: impressionnisme, symbolisme. Paris, 1974, fig. 125.
Daniel Wildenstein. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. Vol. 2, 1882–1886: Peintures. Lausanne, 1979, pp. 10, 12, 38 n. 392, p. 44 n. 465, pp. 45–46, 104–5, no. 832, ill.
Charles S. Moffett inManet, 1832–1883. Ed. Françoise Cachin and Charles S. Moffett. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1983, p. 67 [French ed., Paris, 1983].
Robert Gordon and Andrew Forge. Monet. New York, 1983, p. 291, ill. p. 107.
Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 11, 134, 252, ill. (color).
Daniel Wildenstein. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. Vol. 4, 1899–1926: Peintures. Lausanne, 1985, p. 1 n. 7, p. 44 n. 412.
John House. Monet: Nature into Art. New Haven, 1986, pp. 59–60, 66, 71, 86, 90, 125, 167, 179, 189, 195, colorpl. 129, discusses various compositional elements, relating it especially to the other version of this subject in the MMA (31.67.11).
Richard Kendall, ed. Monet by Himself. London, 1989, ill. p. 140 (color).
Karin Sagner-Düchting. Claude Monet, 1840–1926: Ein Fest für die Augen. Cologne, 1990, p. 127, ill. pp. 132–33 (color, overall and detail).
Michael F. Zimmermann. Seurat and the Art Theory of His Time. Antwerp, 1991, p. 398, colorpl. 545.
Virginia Spate. Claude Monet: Life and Work. New York, 1992, pp. 158–59, fig. 174 (color).
Chuji Ikegami. New History of World Art. Vol. 22, Period of Impressionism. Tokyo, 1993, p. 182, colorpl. 110.
Steven Z. Levine. Monet, Narcissus, and Self-Reflection: The Modernist Myth of the Self. Chicago, 1994, pp. 53–54, fig. 43.
Robert L. Herbert. Monet on the Normandy Coast: Tourism and Painting, 1867–1886. New Haven, 1994, pp. 86–88, 115–16, figs. 96–97 (color, overall and detail).
Charles F. Stuckey. Claude Monet, 1840–1926. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1995, pp. 9, 93, 209, 212, 231, 237, no. 71, ill. (color), notes that the picture was brought to Poissy from Étretat on February 21, 1883; finds it possible that it was in the 1886 exhibition of Les XX in Brussels.
Paul Hayes Tucker. Claude Monet: Life and Art. New Haven, 1995, pp. 115–16, colorpl. 132.
John Russell Taylor. Claude Monet: Impressions of France from Le Havre to Giverny. London, 1995, ill. p. 90 (color).
Andrew Forge. Monet. Chicago, 1995, p. 34, fig. 8.
Stephan Koja. Claude Monet. Exh. cat., Österreichische Galerie, Vienna. Munich, 1996, pp. 96, 190, 217, no. 43, colorpl. 43.
Daniel Wildenstein. Monet. Vol. 2, Catalogue raisonné–Werkverzeichnis: Nos. 1–968. 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, p. 309, no. 832, ill. p. 307 (color).
Daniel Wildenstein. Monet or the Triumph of Impressionism. Vol. 1, 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, p. 185, ill. p. 187 (color).
Françoise Dumont inParis–Bruxelles, Bruxelles–Paris: Réalisme, Impressionnisme, Symbolisme, Art Nouveau; Les relations artistiques entre la France et la Belgique, 1848–1914. Ed. Anne Pingeot and Robert Hoozee. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. Paris, 1997, p. 190, no. 113, ill. (color).
Impressionist and Nineteenth Century Art. Christie's, New York. May 5–6, 1998, p. 82, fig. 1, discusses it in the entry for another Manneporte picture (W833).
Virginia Spate and David Bromfield. "A New and Strange Beauty: Monet and Japanese Art." Monet & Japan. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Australia. Canberra, 2001, pp. 33–34, ill. (color).
Monet & Japan. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Australia. Canberra, 2001, p. 195, no. 15, ill. p. 92 (color).
Horst Keller. Monets Jahre in Giverny, Ein Garten wird Malerei. Cologne, 2001, p. 43, ill. p. 40 (color).
Michael Clarke and Richard Thomson. Monet: The Seine and the Sea, 1878–1883. Exh. cat., Royal Scottish Academy. Edinburgh, 2003, pp. 148–49, 171, 176, no. 74, ill. (color).
Sue Hubbard. "Beginning to See the Light." Independent (August 12, 2003), p. 14.
Eric M. Zafran. "Monet in the United States: The Early Years." Claude Monet–A Hymn to Light. Exh. cat., Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum. 2004, p. 194.
Amy Barker et al. Boudin, Monet, and the Sea Painters of Normandy. Exh. cat., Bowes Museum. County Durham, England, 2004, p. 34, colorpl. 23 (cropped).
Impressionist & Modern Art Part One. Sotheby's, New York. May 3, 2005, p. 24, under no. 6.
David Steel inMonet in Normandy. Exh. cat., Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. New York, 2006, pp. 128, 130–35, 138, 185, no. 41, ill. p. 134 and on slipcase (color).
Petra ten-Doesschate Chu. Nineteenth-Century European Art. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J., 2006, p. 394, fig. 16-28 (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. 110.
Christine I. Oaklander. "Jonathan Sturges, W. H. Osborn, and William Church Osborn: A Chapter in American Art Patronage." Metropolitan Museum Journal 43 (2008), p. 191.
Richard Thomson inClaude Monet: 1840–1926. Exh. cat., Galeries nationales, Grand Palais. Paris, 2010, pp. 40, 178 n. 26, p. 367, no. 67, ill. p. 189 (color).
Nadine Lehni et al. Monet Rodin. Rien que vous et moi. Exh. cat., Musée Rodin. Paris, 2010, ill. p. 61 (color), discuss the series more generally and Monet's choice to exhibit several of the paintings with Rodin's sculptures in 1889.
Jeremy Lewison. Turner Monet Twombly: Later Paintings. Exh. cat., Moderna Museet. Stockholm, 2011, pp. 45, 262, fig. 28 (color), mistakenly associates a letter Monet wrote in 1885 about painting the Manneporte and almost getting tossed into the cliffs by a large wave with this 1883 picture.
Susan Alyson Stein inEarth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. [Tokyo], 2012, pp. 19, 192, 200, 262, no. 129, ill. (color and b&w) [Chinese ed., Hefei Shi, 2013, pp. 284–85, no. 129, ill. (color)].
Frances Fowle inThe Draw of the Normandy Coast. Exh. cat., Portland Museum of Art. Portland, Me, 2012, p. 53.
Stephen F. Eisenman inImpressionism: The Art of Landscape. Ed. Ortrud Westheider and Michael Philipp. Exh. cat., Museum Barberini, Potsdam. Munich, 2017, p. 59, fig. 8 (color), compares it to Gaston Tissandier's writings on water.
The Manneporte is one of several unusual rock formations near the town of Étretat on the coast of the English Channel. Monet painted these rock formations many times. Another work in the MMA (31.67.11; W1052) depicts the Manneporte from the same vantage point, on the same size canvas, but in a vertical, rather than a horizontal, format.
According to Wildenstein (1979), this picture may have been exhibited at the Société des Vingt in Brussels in 1886 as no. 4. However, Sterling and Salinger (1967) suggest that it was possibly included as no. 123 in the exhibition that originated at the American Art Association and later moved to the National Academy of Design in New York in 1886. Wildenstein does not identify any of Monet's pictures with no. 123 in the New York exhibition. If the MMA work was exhibited in Brussels in 1886, then it was not shown in New York in the same year, because the dates of the two exhibitions overlap. And although five of Monet's pictures from Les Vingt joined the New York show when it went to the National Academy and were listed as supplementary numbers in the catalogue, the MMA work was not among them.