Banks of the Seine, Paris
Department of Art after 1800
|Medium, technique||oil on canvas|
64.5 x 81 cm
|Collection||Department of Art after 1800|
|On view||Hungarian National Gallery Building D, First Floor, From Delacroix to Vasarely – Highlights from the Collection of International Art after 1800, Baroque Hall|
Between 1878 and 1881 Claude Monet rented a house in the commune of Vétheuil, just downstream from Paris along the river Seine. The beautiful orchard that surrounded the house may have offered him some solace during the trials and tribulations he had to endure at this stage of his life. He was unable to sell his paintings, his dealer was of little help to him, and his wife and son were chronically ill. In May 1879 his wife was confined to bed, and in September she passed away.
Among the three paintings by Monet in Budapest, Plum Trees in Blossom is the one that most completely bears the distinctive hallmarks of impressionism. His beloved wife fell ill at the end of a very long and cold winter, but when spring arrived in full flower, Monet was still able to work in relative serenity.
There is a constant debate among scholars whether the artist painted the work in the open air, in the garden at Vétheuil, or inside, looking through the window of the house. The fresh, uncut grass and the brilliant white blanket of plum blossom occupy the first spatial layer in the painting, behind which stands the village and then the towering mass of the neighbouring hill. The angle of perspective seems to confirm that the painter made this composition from the window, which was a position commonly taken up by his contemporaries.
This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.