Rouen Cathedral, Façade
Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)
100.6 x 66.0 cm (39 5/8 x 26 in.)
Medium or Technique
Oil on canvas
Out on Loan
On display at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Japan, July 18, 2017 – October 9, 2017
Monet’s series paintings of the 1890s—multiple variations of a single motif conceived, executed, and exhibited as a group—are among his most inventive and remarkable works. In the winter of 1892 the artist spent several months studying and painting the façade of Rouen Cathedral in his native Normandy. From rooms facing the cathedral across a square, Monet concentrated on the analysis of light and its effects on the forms of the façade, changing from one canvas to another as the day progressed. Later he extensively reworked the thirty paintings of the cathedral series in his studio at Giverny. Their encrusted surfaces of dry, thickly layered paint evoke the rough texture of weathered stone, absorbing and reflecting light like the walls of the cathedral itself.
Lower left: Claude Monet 94
1907, sold by the artist to Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York (stock no. 3327); 1917, sold by Durand-Ruel to Hannah Marcy Edwards (d. 1929), Boston; by inheritance to Grace M. Edwards (d. 1938), Boston; 1939, bequest of Hannah Marcy Edwards to the MFA [see note 1]. (Accession Date: October 11, 1939)
 Siblings Robert (d. 1924), Hannah (d. 1929), and Grace (d. 1938) Edwards were each collectors of art, who seemed to have had joint ownership of the objects in their possession. When Robert died, he bequeathed his collection to the MFA in memory of their mother, Juliana Cheney Edwards. In 1925, after his death, part of his collection was acquired by the Museum, and the remainder went to his sisters, with the understanding that the objects would ultimately be left to the MFA in the collection begun in memory of their mother. The collections of Hannah and Grace were left to the MFA in 1939, following Grace's death. It is not always possible to determine exactly which paintings each sibling had owned.
Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection