La Japonaise (Camille Monet in Japanese Costume)
Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)
231.8 x 142.3 cm (91 1/4 x 56 in.)
Medium or Technique
Oil on canvas
Sidney and Esther Rabb Gallery (Gallery 255)
Monet exhibited this work at the second group show of the Impressionist painters in 1876, where it attracted much attention. Large-scale figure paintings had traditionally been considered the most significant challenge for an artist. Using this format, Monet created a virtuoso display of brilliant color that is also a witty comment on the current Paris fad for all things Japanese. The woman shown wrapped in a splendid kimono and surrounded by fans is Monet’s wife, Camille, wearing a blond wig to emphasize her Western identity.
Lower left: Claude Monet 1876
April 14, 1876, Monet and Ernest Hoschedé sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, lot 37 [see note 1]. April 19, 1877, anonymous ("L.") sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, lot 48, to Constantin de Rasty (d. 1923), Paris; 1918, sold by Rasty to Paul Rosenberg and Co., Paris and New York [see note 2]; 1920, sold by Rosenberg to Philip Lehman (b. 1861 - d. 1947), New York [see note 3]; 1921, sold by Lehman to Duveen Brothers, Inc., London [see note 4]; 1937, shipped from Duveen, London to Duveen, New York; 1956, sold by Duveen to the MFA for $45,000. (Accession Date: March 8, 1956) NOTES:  Traditionally referred to as Monet's sale, the auction was organized by Ernest Hoschedé (b. 1837 - d. 1891) and included several works belonging to him, leading Hélène Adhemar ("Ernest Hoschedé," in Aspects of Monet: A Symposium on the Artist's Life and Times, ed. John Rewald and Frances Weitzenhoffer [New York: Abrams, 1984], p. 61) to suggest it was a joint sale and Hoschedé "was without a doubt in possession of the Monet paintings" ("il était sans doute en possession des tableaux de Monet"). When the painting was acquired, Edward Fowles of Duveen Brothers stated that "it was originally in the collection of a Mr. Hoschede" (letter to W. G. Constable, MFA, February 16, 1956).  René Gimpel noted on August 10, 1918, that the dealer Georges Bernheim informed him that "Rosenberg has bought a life-size Monet, a Japanese woman." See his "Diary of an Art Dealer", trans. John Rosenberg (New York, 1966), p. 55; also pp. 59 (August 19) and 67 (October 29). Monet himself wrote to Rosenberg about the painting (August 6, 1918, copy of letter in curatorial file).  In the brief notice "New Monet for New York," American Art News XVIII, no. 18 (February 21, 1920): p. 1, the painting is said to have "recently been purchased by a New York collector." Edward Fowles (as above, n. 1) stated that "Philip Lehman purchased it from Paul Rosenberg."  According to a memo from the London office to the Paris office of Duveen Brothers (December 31, 1926, Duveen Brothers Records, Getty Research Institute, Box 267, folder 24). The official sale date is given, in a memo to the New York branch of the gallery (December 13, 1937), as January 1, 1922.
1951 Purchase Fund