Success of Monet's 'Haystacks'
Monet exhibits fifteen paintings from his 'Haystacks' series at
Durand-Ruel's gallery in Paris and the exhibition meets with
astonishing success. Within three days of opening all have been
sold, but even this triumph does not stop the artist from selling
his work privately.
25th Theo van Gogh dies in Utrecht.
1st The British art magazine The Portfolio publishes an enthusiastic
survey of Impressionism by its editor, Philip Hamerton, as part of
its series 'The Present State of the Fine Arts in France'.
5th The Renoirs go to stay, until April, with Teodor de Wyzewa and his wife at their house, the Villa des Roses, in
7th Les Vingt in Brussels shows works by Cezanne,
Gauguin, Camille and Lucien Pissarro, Seurat and van Gogh at their
13th The critic Paul Alexis writes to Zola saying Cezanne has become
a fervent Catholic because he is frightened of death and doesn't
want to 'run the risk of roasting for all eternity.'
auctions thirty of his pictures at the Hotel Drouot.
but one are sold, and his target of 10,000 francs for the sale is
At the auction Degas buys La Belle Angele for 450
francs and a landscape of Martinique for 260 francs — he later
acquires several other works by Gauguin, including the copy Gauguin
made of Manet's Olympia.
Spirit of the Dead Watching
5th The Salon of the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts
It includes several works by Sisley (who was to exhibit there
7th Gauguin visits his wife and family in Copenhagen (it is the last
that he will see them). He returns to Paris a fortnight later.
A photograph of Gauguin taken February 13th, 1891.
17th An exhibition described as 'Paintings by the Impressionists of
Paris from the galleries of Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York' opens
the Chase Gallery in Boston.
29th Seurat dies of an infection at the age of 32.
31st Gauguin departs for Marseilles by train, en route to Tahiti.
Renoir spends the month at Le Lavandou in the south of France.
An exhibition of watercolours, pastels and prints by Pissarro and
Cassatt opens at Durand-Ruel's gallery.
Afternoon Tea Party
This colour print with drypoint and aquatint ably demonstrates
Cassatt's extraordinary skill as a printmaker. In a letter to his
son Lucien the day before the joint exhibition of works by Cassatt
and Pissarro opened, Pissarro wrote, 'You remember the effects that
you strove for in Eragny? Well, Miss Cassatt has realized just such
effects and admirably: the matt tone, subtle but delicate, without
stains or smudges; adorable blues, fresh rose ... The result is
admirable, as beautiful as Japanese work.'
7th The art patron
Victor Ghocquet dies at Yvetot in Normandy.
14th Van Gogh's friend Alexander
Reid opens a gallery in Glasgow called the Societe des
Beaux-Arts, dealing in contemporary French paintings. His first
exhibition includes works by Degas and van Gogh.
Publication of the last issue of Durand-Ruel's short-lived magazine L'Art dans les deux mondes.
4th Monet shows fifteen of
his Haystacks series at Durand-Ruel's gallery. The
catalogue includes a laudatory preface by the radical journalist and
critic Gustave Geffroy. The exhibition is an enormous success, all
the paintings being sold within three days of the opening.
1st Dur and-Ruel holds an exhibition of recent works by Renoir.
12th Manet and Monet are represented in the Internationale
Kunstausstellung in Berlin.
20th Pissarro has an eye operation, after which he does not paint
outdoors for some time.
5th Renoir visits Berthe Morisot and her husband, Eugene Manet, at
Mezy and introduces them to his wife, Aline.
Girl Picking Cherries
Shortly after his visit to Mezy in August, Renoir wrote to Morisot
urging her to finish her 'painting with the cherry trees'. He was
referring to The Cherry Tree. a large painting of Morisot's daughter
Julie and her niece Jeanne picking fruit. It was developed from the
largest group of preliminary studies Morisot had ever made for a
painting, which included this red chalk drawing.
In a letter to his mother, Toulouse-Lautrec mentions that 'Degas has
encouraged me by saying my work this summer wasn't too bad.' Renoir
spends a week with Gaillebotte at the latter's home in Petit-Gennevilliers,
During December and January Degas sees Sigurd, a mediocre opera by
Reyer, twenty-nine times — as it features Rose Caron, the
with whom he is infatuated.
1st Alexander Reid's Societe des Beaux-Arts holds an exhibition at
Mr Collier's Rooms, 39b Old Bond St, London. It includes works by
Degas, Monet, Pissarro and Sisley.
3rd Sisley exhibits at Georges Petit's gallery.
5th Monet visits London. He and Degas have works shown at the
annual exhibition of the New English Art Club.
12th Guillaumin wins 100,000 francs in the Paris city lottery.
MONET'S DEALINGS WITH DURAND-RUEL
The first showing of the Haystacks series in May 1891 was Monet's
most successful exhibition to date, and it confirmed his reputation
as the most financially successful of the Impressionists. His
correspondence with Durand-Ruel gives an indication of the interplay
between artist and dealer that characterized their professional
relationship. Monet was anxious to avoid having Durand-Ruel as his
sole agent, and wished to continue selling privately and through
others. The following letters were all written from Monet's home in
Giverny. In the absence of Paul Durand-Ruel, the letter of June 30th
was addressed to the dealer's son Joseph.
Haystack in Winter,
In later years Monet said that the origin of the Haystacks series
were the rapid changes in atmospheric conditions while he was trying
to paint the haystacks behind his house at Giverny, which can be
seen in the contemporary photograph. Each time the light
changed he asked Blanche Hoschede to fetch him another canvas.
Monet worked on the series from the summer of 1890 to the end of the
winter of 1891. Fifteen of the twenty-five canvases were included in
Monet's exhibition at Durand-Ruel's gallery in May.
Dear M. Durand,
In response to your request that I myself should make a selection of
my most recent works and reserve them for you, I must confess
frankly that to do so would be most embarrassing for me, as well as
involving a matter of some delicacy. I would prefer therefore to
wait till it is possible for you to come to Giverny, so that you can
make your own choice according to your taste.
I have enough here at the moment to offer you an ample choice, and
in case others come here before you I shall arrange not to show them
With my best wishes, Yours truly,
Dear M. Durand,
Here is my catalogue. I have been tardy in sending it, so will you
please make sure that it gets to the
printer immediately so that I can correct the proofs straight away?
In haste. See you soon.
Yours sincerely, Claude Monet
Dear M. Durand,
I am a little late in sending you the measurements of the frames.,
for the pictures I have to deliver to you - the haystacks and
others. I shall exhibit twelve, including the one of the haystacks
that I delivered to you the other day. There are therefore twelve
frames that you must have for May 2nd or 3rd:
6 frames measuring 92 x 65cm, one of them
5 frames measuring 1m x 60cm, one of them
I frame measuring lm x 65cm.
I shall look after the ones that I have - but if I am short, perhaps
I can rely on you to supply the difference? In haste.
With my best wishes, Claude Monet
Dear M. Durand,
I think that by now you will have received my telegram correcting
the mistake in my catalogue. As I have told you, I shall have
twenty-two pictures to exhibit, including a series of fifteen
paintings of haystacks. I hope that by now my friend Geffroy has
sent you the text of his preface. In any case, as he is coming here
shortly, I shall chivvy him up about it.
I am hoping to come up to Paris myself either on Thursday evening or
Friday morning. Could you kindly let me know immediately when the
Peintres-Graveurs will have left the gallery reserved for me? And
then I would like you to collect the paintings from M. Paul Galhmard
and M. G. Clemenceau, 12 rue CUmont-Marot. Get this done on Thursday
morning. Have all the frames ready for the same day.
Till we meet.
Tours very sincerely. Claude Monet
Dear M. Durand,
Would you be good enough to let me know how my exhibition is coming
on? I have hardly seen any notices about it in the papers — but
despite this, I am sure those who are interested in my painting will
come to see it anyway.
In the hope of hearing some news from you.
Tours sincerely, Claude
Dear M. Durand.
I shall send to your address tomorrow morning the six paintings that
your father bought from me on his last visit. Two of these canvases
need a little retouching (they are the haystack ones). Keep the
other four, and send me back these two in the same case. I would
have liked to have sent them to you today, but it was impossible to
get them down to Vernon [the station nearest to Giverny]. As to what
you said to me in your previous letter, I would retort that it is
impossible for me to tell people who come to my house that I don't
have anything to sell them, no matter whether they are Americans or
anyone else. The important thing is that I should not put you at a
disadvantage. In fact, you can absolutely rely on the contrary:
although collectors hope to buy pictures from me directly on the
cheap, I often demand prices higher than those which you charge.
Sometimes I sell sketches at a reduced price, but that is to other
artists or friends.
As to commercial prices, you can rest assured that I have always
favoured your father, and I am sure that to charge on an agreed
scale is the right thing, especially for you, but also for me.
With best wishes, Claude Monet
Dear M. Durand,
I have constantly been hoping to receive a visit from you, and
indeed even yesterday was still expectingyou. So I am now writing to
you with the request that you should take steps to send me the sum
of 20,000 francs, which I need by the 25th of this month in order to
complete the purchase of this house. If I can, I shall come and
collect the money myself this week, but I cannot be more precise
because of the weather - indeed, since your last visit here I have
had nothing but problems and difficulties with my poor trees, about
which I am not at all happy. However, if I cannot come myself, I
shall send my son - or perhaps you yourself could bring me the money
next Sunday, which will be the 25th. But in that case, it is
essential that I should be absolutely certain [that you will bring
it]. In any event, I expect a word from you to let me know, one way
or another, whether I can rely on you.
I am all the more regretful that you were not able to come before,
since M. Valadon [of Boussod & Valadon] came here three days ago and
chose several paintings. But don't be alarmed- there are still
plenty left for you, and I put on one side those that you marked as
being likely to sell. Finally, I hope that if you have to go away
soon you will find time to come here first.
With all my best wishes,