Rouen Cathedral, the Façade in Sunlight

“What a task this cathedral is!” wrote Monet from Rouen, in a letter to his wife in Giverny. He painted nearly thirty views of the cathedral’s façade, moving from one canvas to the next to capture different moments throughout the day. After returning home, he continued to work on this series for two more years. The encrusted brushstrokes on this canvas evoke the blinding radiance of sunlight glinting off pale stone. When the painting is viewed from a distance, the cathedral’s arched doorways, rose window, and towers become clearly visible.


Maurice Masson, Paris (until 1911, his sale, Drouot, Paris, 22 June 1911, no. 26, as Le portail de la cathédrale de Rouen, possibly sold to Durand-Ruel); [Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York, possibly from 1911–at least 1914]; Frank F. Nicola, Pittsburgh (in 1925); Murdock (c. 1932); Lucius D. Humphrey, New York; [Wildenstein, New York, until at least 1952]; Ramon Aspillaga, Lima (by 1956); sale, Christie’s, London, 2 Dec. 1966, no. 36, ill., as La Cathédrale de Rouen, sold to Arthur Tooth & Sons, London, as agent for the Clark; Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1966.

Claude Monet

French, 1840–1926

Rouen Cathedral, the Façade in Sunlight

c. 1892–94

Oil on canvas

42 x 29 in. (106.7 x 73.7 cm)

Acquired by the Clark in memory of Anne Strang Baxter, 1967