Monet, London Parliament

Claude MONET (1840-1926), London Parliament, 1903, oil on canvas, 81 x 92 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Claude MONET (1840-1926)
London Parliament
1903
oil on canvas
81 x 92 cm
© MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
HD image
After a brief trip to London in 1870, Claude Monet (1840–1926) was invited back in 1887 by the painter Whistler. Captivated by the city, he decided to return the following years to paint some of "the effects of fog on the Thames". After four years spent observing the motif, Monet began a major series on the capital city in his Giverny studio. Through constant and simultaneous work on all of the paintings, he succeeded in completing thirty-seven canvases in 1904 with the aim of exhibiting them.

London Parliament belongs to the series comprising around one hundred works in which Monet focuses on three motifs: the bridges of Charing Cross and Waterloo, as well as the House of Parliament. But the true subject of these paintings is the changing weather and light that bathe the monuments of the London skyline. This painting with subtle violet and purplish blue washes evokes Monet's passionate investigations into recreating the distinctive effects of fog in the English capital. Tinged with the memory of Turner's work, which Monet discovered in 1870–1871, it can be especially compared to Whistler's Nocturnes.

In May–June 1904, the Durand-Ruel gallery in Paris held a vast exhibition exclusively dedicated to these "Views of the Thames in London". Hailed as a major event by critics, the exhibition was also very well received by art connoisseurs. A few days after the opening, on May 19, a collector from Le Havre by the name of Pieter van der Velde purchased a painting from the large-scale series "Westminster Palace" for the considerable sum of 18,000 francs.

Not only did he enrich his own collection, Van der Velde, with the support of his friends Dusseuil and Marande, two members of the acquisitions committee for the Le Havre museum, was likely a key participant in the municipality's negotiations with Monet in 1910. The name of the Impressionist master had been mentioned by the committee as early as 1901, but it was ten years before three of the artist's paintings graced the municipal collections: Cliffs at Varengeville, Waterlilies and London Parliament. Purchased directly from the artist for the symbolic amount of 3,000 francs, these paintings were added to the small collection of Impressionist works—a painting by Maufra and two Views of the Port of Le Havre by Pissarro—that entered the museum's collections in 1903.

Artworks in context : Impressionism (24)

Edgar DEGAS (1834-1917), Washerwomen, ca. 1870-1872, oil on canvas, 15 x 21 cm. © Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication / Didier Plowy
Alfred SISLEY (1839-1899), The Loing at Saint-Mammès, 1885, oil on canvas, 55 x 73.2 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR (1841-1919), Portrait of Nini Lopez, 1876, oil on canvas, 54 x 39 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Camille PISSARRO (1831-1903), The Pilots' Jetty at Le Havre, 1903, oil on canvas, 54.5 x 65 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Claude MONET (1840-1926), Waterlilies, 1904, oil on canvas, 89 x 92 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Claude MONET (1840-1926), Winter Sun at Lavacourt, 1879-1880, oil on canvas, 55 x 81 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Édouard MANET (1832-1883), Boats at Sea, Sunset, ca. 1868, oil on canvas, 43 x 94 cmŒuvre récupérée à la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. déposée en 1961 par l'Etat ; en attente de sa restitution à ses légitimes propriétaires. MNR 873. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Johan Barthold JONGKIND (1819-1891), Quay at Honfleur, 1866, oil on canvas, 32.5 x 46 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Armand GUILLAUMIN (1841-1927), Snowy Landscape at Crozant, vers 1895, oil on canvas, 60 x 73 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Claude MONET (1840-1926), London Parliament, 1903, oil on canvas, 81 x 92 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Edgar DEGAS (1834-1917), After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself, ca. 1884-1886 / 1890 / 1900, pastel on wove paper, 40.5 x 32 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR (1841-1919), The Excursionist, ca. 1888, oil on canvas, 61.5 x 50 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Camille PISSARRO (1831-1903), Statue of Henri IV and Hôtel de la Monnaie, Morning, Sun, 1901, oil on canvas, 46 x 55 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard
Armand GUILLAUMIN (1841-1927), The Seine at Samois, ca. 1898, oil on canvas, 60 x 73 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Charles Maslard
Armand GUILLAUMIN (1841-1927), The Creuse at Crozant, ca. 1893, oil on canvas, 60 x 73.5 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Johan Barthold JONGKIND (1819-1891), Paris, Pont Marie and the Quai des Célestins, 1874, oil on wood, 23.5 x 32 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Claude MONET (1840-1926), The Seine at Vétheuil, 1878, oil on canvas, 50. 5  x 61.5 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Camille PISSARRO (1831-1903), Quai du Pothuis, Banks of the Oise, 1882, oil on canvas, 46.3 x 55.3 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Camille PISSARRO (1831-1903), Sunrise at Éragny, 1894, oil on canvas, 38.3 x 46 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Camille PISSARRO (1831-1903), Crossroads at L'Hermitage, Pointoise, 1876, oil on canvas, 38.5 x 46.5 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / David Fogel
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR (1841-1919), Bay of Salerno or Southern Landscape, 1881, oil on canvas, 46 x 55.5 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR (1841-1919), Woman Seen from the Back, ca. 1875-1879, oil on canvas, 27.1 x 22.1 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Pierre-Auguste RENOIR (1841-1919), Pines at Cagnes, ca. 1919, oil on canvas, marouflage on cardboard, 31.5 x 38.7 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn
Jules CHÉRET (1836-1932), Woman in Black with Muff, ca. 1885, oil on canvas, 33 x 25 cm. © MuMa Le Havre / Florian Kleinefenn