Monet’s Matinée sur la Seine, Temps Net To Sell For £18 Million

In an unprecedented art event, Christie’s is set to present Claude Monet’s esteemed work, “Matinée sur la Seine, temps net” (1897), at auction for the first time in nearly half a century.

With an estimated value between £12,000,000 and £18,000,000, this painting is poised to be a marquee feature of the 20th / 21st Century: London Evening Sale on 7th March.

This piece stands out for its serene depiction of the Seine River, bathed in the gentle glow of morning light, showcasing Monet’s unparalleled ability to capture the ephemeral beauty of the natural world.

Matinée sur la Seine, Temps Net: An Impressionist’s Vision

“Matinée sur la Seine, temps net” marks a significant turning point in Claude Monet’s illustrious career, signifying his initial foray into the practice of serialising motifs.

This innovative technique, which involved capturing the same scene under various lighting and weather conditions, allowed Monet to delve deeper into the essence of his subjects, presenting them from an array of perspectives.

The painting, which has not been displayed publicly since its appearance in the 1990 ‘Monet in the ‘90s: The Series Paintings’ exhibition, is a testament to Monet’s mastery in portraying the transient effects of light and atmosphere. The exhibition, which spanned several renowned institutions, underscored the pivotal role of this work in Monet’s oeuvre.

With the forthcoming auction, Christie’s will showcase this masterpiece in New York and Hong Kong, prior to its final display in London, offering art enthusiasts and collectors a rare glimpse into Monet’s evolving artistic journey.

This presentation not only highlights the historical significance of “Matinée sur la Seine, temps net” but also underscores the continuous allure and relevance of Monet’s work in the contemporary art world.

The anticipation surrounding its auction debut reflects the enduring fascination with Monet’s ability to capture the ephemeral beauty of nature, cementing his status as a pioneer of the Impressionist movement.

A Summer’s Symphony: The ‘Matinées sur la Seine’ Series

Within the broader context of Monet’s oeuvre, the ‘Matinées sur la Seine’ series stands out for its vivid portrayal of the Seine’s landscape during the early hours of summer mornings.

The series encapsulates Monet’s unparalleled skill in documenting the subtle nuances of the dawn’s light as it bathes the river and its surroundings in a kaleidoscope of colours.

Monet's Matinée sur la Seine, Temps Net To Sell For £18 Million
Claude Monet, Matinée Sur La Seine, Temps Net 1897,
(Estimate: £12,000,000-18,000,000)

This meticulous study of light, shadow, and reflection underscores Monet’s devotion to capturing the fleeting moments of natural beauty, providing viewers with an immersive sensory experience.

The paintings from this series, crafted during the summers of 1896 and 1897, represent some of Monet’s final depictions of the Seine—a motif that recurrently appears throughout his work and symbolises the essence of the Impressionist movement.

These artworks not only highlight Monet’s technical prowess and innovative approach to painting but also evoke a deep sense of tranquillity and reflection, inviting the viewer to contemplate the serene beauty of the natural world.

Through these masterpieces, Monet’s enduring legacy as a key figure in Impressionism continues to resonate, illustrating his profound impact on the art of painting.

Innovation Through Serialisation

Monet’s exploration into serialisation was a groundbreaking shift that set the stage for some of his most iconic works. This technique, which he refined through his ‘Matinées sur la Seine‘ series, allowed him to capture the essence of time and place through the lens of changing light and atmosphere.

Monet’s dedication to this approach was evident in his disciplined routine, which involved early morning sessions where he would paint en plein air, transitioning between canvases as the light evolved. This method not only underscored Monet’s commitment to portraying the natural world with authenticity but also highlighted his innovative spirit.

The serialisation of the Seine landscapes, particularly through the ‘Matinées sur la Seine’ series, marked a significant departure from traditional painting techniques of the time.

Monet’s ability to simultaneously work on multiple canvases allowed him to document the subtle shifts in light with remarkable precision, creating a dynamic and cohesive series that captures the ephemeral beauty of the river at dawn.

This approach not only enriched Monet’s artistic repertoire but also offered a new perspective on the landscape genre, further solidifying his influence on future generations of artists.

Monet’s Quest for the Impossible

Monet’s artistic vision transcended the mere representation of physical landscapes; he sought to capture the intangible—the atmosphere and light that envelop his subjects. His quest to “paint the air” where objects reside reflects a profound desire to grasp the elusive and the ethereal, challenging the conventions of his time.

Monet’s ambition to achieve the impossible set him apart from his contemporaries, pushing the boundaries of Impressionist painting towards new horizons. This relentless pursuit of capturing the essence of the natural world drove Monet to explore innovative techniques and approaches, ultimately enriching the artistic landscape of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Monet’s statement on pursuing the impossible serves as a profound reflection of his artistic philosophy, emphasising the importance of the surrounding atmosphere in his compositions. This aspiration to convey the beauty of the air around his subjects reveals Monet’s deep understanding of the interplay between light, colour, and form.

It is this visionary approach that has endeared Monet’s work to both art critics and the public alike, ensuring his legacy as a master of Impressionist art continues to inspire and captivate audiences around the world.

A Historic Sale

The upcoming Christie’s auction represents a monumental event in the art world, bringing “Matinée sur la Seine, temps net” back into the public domain after 45 years in private hands.

This sale not only offers collectors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire a masterpiece by one of the most celebrated artists in history but also allows a new generation to engage with Monet’s transformative vision of the natural world.

The anticipation surrounding this event underscores the painting’s significant cultural and historical value, as well as its enduring appeal to connoisseurs of fine art.

The reintroduction of this iconic piece into the public eye reaffirms Monet’s indelible impact on the development of Impressionism and the broader narrative of art history.

As “Matinée sur la Seine, temps net” prepares to find a new home, its legacy as a symbol of Monet’s innovative spirit and his profound connection to the natural landscape continues to resonate. This historic sale not only celebrates Monet’s artistic achievements but also highlights the timeless beauty and relevance of his work in an ever-evolving art world.

Image: Christie’s

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