Monet experimented with technique in this early seascape, using subdued colors and applying paint in broad strokes, sometimes with a palette knife. The composition is simple—the horizon line divides the canvas into bands of sea and sky, interrupted by the sailboat positioned slightly off center, its flag flapping in the wind. While many of Monet’s seascapes are sunlit scenes, this painting emphasizes dark skies, deep shadows, and choppy waves. Having grown up on the Normandy coast, the artist was familiar with the sea’s appearance in different atmospheric conditions.
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||19 3/16 x 25 7/16 in. (48.7 x 64.6 cm) Frame: 27 x 33 1/4 x 2 1/2 in. (68.6 x 84.5 x 6.4 cm)|
|Acquisition||Acquired by Sterling and Francine Clark, 1950|
Claude Monet, Seascape, Storm, 1866, Oil on canvas. The Clark Art Institute, 1955.561.
Lees, Sarah, ed. Nineteenth-Century European Paintings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute; New Haven and London: distributed by Yale University Press, 2012.
[Possibly Alexander Reid, Glasgow, sold to Bain];¹ Andrew Bain, Glasgow (by 1901); Étienne Moreau-Nélaton, Paris, sold to Durand-Ruel, 22 May 1906; [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1906–12, sold to Frankfurter Kunstverein, 31 Aug. 1912; Provenance given in letter from Durand-Ruel, 4 Apr. 2005, in the Clark’s curatorial file.]; Frankfurter Kunstverein (from 1912); possibly D. S. MacColl, Glasgow; [Fine Arts Associates, New York, sold to Knoedler, Oct. 1950]; [Knoedler, New York, sold to Clark, 7 Nov. 1950]; Robert Sterling Clark (1950–55); Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1955.
1. Douglas Cooper includes the Clark painting in a list of works that “may indeed have been bought from Reid.” See Douglas Cooper, The Courtauld Collection, pp. 64–65. Similarly, Frances Fowle also speculates that the painting “could conceivably have come from the exhibition of French paintings Reid held at La Société des Beaux Arts in December of 1898.” See Frances Fowle, "Vincent's Scottish Twin: The Glasgow Art Dealer Alexander Reid," Van Gogh Museum Journal, p. 99.
2. Provenance given in letter from Durand-Ruel, 4 Apr. 2005, in the Clark’s curatorial file.