Claude Monet - The Mount Riboudet in Rouen at Spring 1872

The Mount Riboudet in Rouen at Spring 1872
The Mount Riboudet in Rouen at Spring
1872 56x74cm oil/canvas
Private collection

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From Sotheby's:
Le Mont Riboudet à Rouen au printemps belongs to an important group of works dating from 1872 that would come to typify Monet’s approach to landscape painting over the following years. In these pictures, the artist explored the importance of light and shadow, rendering his compositions en plein air and applying pigment directly to the canvas without any preparatory drawings. The resulting depictions are characterised by a sense of creative freedom and spontaneity, a style which would be labelled ‘Impressionist’ two years later by the critic Louis Leroy. Another contemporary critic, Jules-Antoine Castagnary, wrote that these paintings were not merely landscapes, but ‘the sensation produced by a landscape’ (J.-A. Castagnary, ‘Exposition du boulevard des Capucines – Les Impressionnistes’, in Le Siècle, Paris, 29th April 1974, translated from French).
The present work was created in the early spring of 1872, while the artist was visiting his brother Léon in the outskirts of Rouen, north-west of Paris. During his brief stay he painted about a dozen oils depicting this region and the rapidly industrialising landscape of the suburbs of Déville and Robec. Several of these compositions, including Vue de Rouen and La Seine à Rouen depict views of the town across the Seine, showing in the distance the Gothic spires of Rouen Cathedral, which would become the subject of a major series of Monet’s paintings in the 1890s. Daniel Wildenstein wrote that ‘Monet was immensely prolific during his stay in Rouen. He no longer avoided the signs of industrialisation, which are obvious enough in The Robec Stream and The Goods Train. Déville, where Léon lived, on the outskirts of Rouen, became the subject of several paintings, and Monet also painted The Mont Riboudet in Rouen in Springtime [the present work], which was then still largely as nature had made it; it stands between Rouen and Déville’ (D. Wildenstein, op. cit., 1996, vol. I, p. 96).