Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926) Attributed: Personnage au Chapeau, ca 1867. Oil on carton board. Signed "Cl. M" bottom left in graphite. The work presents several interesting marks, stamps, and inscriptions. Front: bottom-right: a collector's stamp. black ink. deep in the painting. appears to be read as "JLL"-Back, large pencil inscription: "INV 3329 - no glass on there- 4- Claude Monet” on the old protective sheet that was in place. Along the wood of the original framing a black ink stamp: "Property of Antoinelle L Adams”. Two hand inscriptions: "3329" in red pencil and "80" red pen.
Comments from the painting's previous owner:
First, the back inscriptions on the board have been discovered after I unframed it. The only marks I could read when I bought it were the inscriptions on the paper-sheet protecting the back of the board. I did not remark the front pencil monogram "Cl. M".
This appears to be a small, even rather definite, study for a young character (male or female?) with a campaign-hat. with a white opened shirt, resting on the ground. The shadow provided by the hat offers a strange look to the character, whose eyes do not appear immediately to the spectator. Her attitude (let's say her, as it appears to be mostly female) is calm and contemplative, not looking directly at the spectator, but observing a point in space, wide away. The clothes are typical of the end of 19th century. country clothes. The style itself is absolutely well mastered. A former wide apply of grey painting seems to constitute the general back of the painting. On some parts, mostly on bottom. you will see some remains of the original pencil sketch, left on unfinished parts. For example, the right hand of the character. near the monogram. has just been drawn with pencil and was not painted later. Then, on this neutral tone painting-basis, a large apply of blue painting is shaping the top-background of the painting (you can easily observe this through the accidents of the work). The parts of the character itself -face, hat, shirt, etc.- have been then painted on this background. The manner is rather soft and the painting has been executed with an economy of quantity, for very delicate and sensitive effects. The face is very well treated, with a particular insistence on the eyes and mouth, providing her a decisive aspect. The hat also is very well executed, in a sensitive manner. giving the impression to feel the material. The shirt is executed more freely, with larger applies of painting, in larger touches. The ensemble is a very harmonious and sensitive work. purely of the impressionist period. Regarding the pencil signature "Cl. M", we have here a clear example of a monogram the Monet generally used to sign small works or sketches. Among several examples I could observe. it appears correct to me. The back inscriptions / stamp provides us good information regarding provenance. Regarding the quality and age of the protection paper, the work should have been in this collection for a certain time. The more ancient front stamp "JLL'". seems to indicate that the work came from a more ancient collection. I could not go far in both directions, in order to complete the history of the work, as traces seem to be lost now.
Comments from the painting's owner:
In the early decades Claude Monet’s financial situation was consistently difficult, his paintings were often rejected in the salons.
Monet and his first wife, Camille Doncieux, married and experienced great financial hardship around the birth of their first son, Jean (August 1867). It was during this period of time that Monet was so despondent that he attempted suicide in 1868 by trying to drown himself in the River Seine.
In 1868 Monet spent time in Fecamp & Etretat, where he received commissions by the ship owner and patron M. Gaudibert that allowed him a certain income. It is conjectured that this unfinished portrait is nearer the time when Monet was experiencing financial hardship and could generate occasional income by producing smaller, more rapidly executed portraiture.
6.89 x 4.72 inches (17.5 x 12 cm).
‘JLL’ proper name unknown; Property of Antoinelle L Adams; Private collection Geneva, Switzerland 2004; Private collection Los Angeles, California, USA; 2005,North Carolina estate, USA.
This painting is in need of some light restoration; scattered paint loss throughout the composition; several small areas along the edges have lost the top layer of cardboard; corners are rounded and tattered; light surface grime throughout.
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