This work was created in 1872, the same year in which the artist painted the famous Impression, Soleil Levant (Musée Marmottan, Paris). Although the layout of the composition was possibly inspired by Fantin-Latour (Flowers and Fruit on a Table, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), who tackled the genre within the classical tradition, in this case an innovative approach to the theme has clearly been taken. This conception has a contemporary parallel in Édouard Manet’s Still Life with Melon and Peaches (National Gallery of Art, Washington D. C.), painted around 1866, in which the painter deliberately sought to instil inanimate objects with the subjective content of his personal vision.
An ordered sequence of spherical forms magnificently structures the representation – the fruits of the summer season establish a chromatic dialogue with the Chinese porcelain objects carefully arranged in the space – and allows the whole to be perceived as a coherent visual confrontion. The open-air aesthetic that was so dear to the impressionists floods the entire surface of the canvas with light, thereby granting it a unique originality. It is through colour, however, that Monet best expresses a scene that is fundamentally intended to be perceived by the senses.
Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1872; Hiltbrunner, Paris; Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1882; Charles Cotinaud, Périgueux; Durand Ruel, Paris, 1903; Georges Hoentschel, Paris, 1903; Galeries Barbazanges, 1924. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian from Knoedler, London, 25 April 1924.
H. 53 cm; W. 73 cm
Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet. Biographie et catalogue raisonné. Lausanne/Paris: Bibliothèque des Arts, 1974, vol. I, pp. 218–19, no. 245.
Hommage à Claude Monet (1840–1926), exhibition catalogue. Paris: Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, 1980, p. 138, no. 44b.
Impressionist Still Life. The Philips Collection, exhibition catalogue. Washington D. C.: Harry N. Abrams, 2001, pp. 82–5.
Luísa Sampaio, Painting in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon/Milan: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum/Skira, 2009, pp. 226–7, cat. 102.
Claude Monet. 1840–1926. Paris: Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, 2010, p. 220–5, 228, no. 86.
In the Presence of Things. Four Centuries of European Still-Life Painting, vol. I, exhibition catalogue. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2010, pp. 128–9, no. 98.
In the Presence of Things. Four Centuries of European Still-Life Painting, vol. II, exhibition catalogue. Lisboa: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2011, pp. 64–5, no. 14.
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2011, p. 187, cat. 166.
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