An exceptional painting by ‘one of the greatest artists of the 20th century’, to be featured in Looking Forward to the Past, a curated evening sale on 11 May.
Executed in 1900-1901, Monet’s Le Parlement, soleil couchant depicts the dark silhouette of London’s Houses of Parliament, set against a pink evening sky.
The view is one of the most exceptional in a series of 19, painted by Monet towards the end of his career between 1901 and 1904. Frequently working outside, the artist would set up his canvas on the banks of the Thames, capturing the city in the dwindling light of the late afternoon.
The work pays homage to a city that would become instrumental in Monet’s career. Born in Paris in 1840, the artist first came to London at the end of the 19th century; it was here he would meet Paul Durand-Ruel, the influential dealer who would have a determining effect on his career.
Claude Monet, Le Parlement, soleil couchant. Oil on canvas, executed in 1900-1901. Estimate on request. Courtesy Christie's.
Le Parlement, soleil couchant represented a significant point in Monet’s career, and would prove to be a huge influence to his peers. ‘It’s a picture that heralded a new age in painting,’ comments Christie’s Global President Jussi Pylkkanen. ‘Artists were inspired by Monet to liberate colour and create wonderful abstractions by interpreting real subjects.’
The series would lay the foundations for some of the twentieth century’s greatest movements. Pylkkanen comments: ‘One could argue that these pictures heralded the end of academic painting as artists were inspired to follow the path of abstraction from 1902 onwards. Monet was the father of modernism’.
Monet’s views of the Thames established a new departure in his work, preparing the ground for his last, mythic feat: the Nymphéas (Water Lilies) series. For Pylkkanen, ‘this wonderfully expressive Monet is simply one of the greatest depictions of the Houses of Parliament by the greatest artist of the 19th century.’
Le Parlement, soleil couchant is set to be amongst the most anticipated pieces in Christie’s Looking Forward to the Past auction. Set to take place on 11 May, the sale has been conceived and curated by Loic Gouzer as a forum to explore some of the most innovative artists and movements of the 20th Century, through a choice selection of some of their most exemplary works.
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