Les tilleuls à Poissy
THE PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Estate of the artist.
D. Wildenstein, Monet, biographie et catalogue raisonné, Lausanne, 1979, vol. II, p. 74 (illustrated, p. 75).
The present canvas is noteworthy as one of just four views that Monet painted of Poissy, where he lived from December 1881 until April 1883. Located on the banks of the Seine about twenty kilometers west of Paris, Poissy was a town of nearly six thousand inhabitants in Monet's day, roughly ten times the size of Vétheuil, where the artist had lived and worked since 1878 (see lot ___). At Poissy, Monet rented a large, three-story house, the Villa Saint-Louis, which he shared with his two sons, Jean and Michel, and with Alice Hoschedé (whom he would later marry) and her six children; Monet's first wife, Camille, had died in 1879, and Alice's husband, Ernest Hoschedé, had left the family home and taken up residence in Paris. Poissy may have been recommended to Monet by Emile Zola, who had used the earnings from his early success as a novelist to purchase a house at the nearby town of Médan. Poissy was closer to Paris than Vétheuil and was located on the rail line, enabling Monet to travel more easily to the capital to meet with dealers and collectors. It also had better schools than Vétheuil for the two eldest boys, Jean Monet and Jacques Hoschedé, aged fourteen and twelve respectively in 1881. Although Monet was initially pleased with Poissy, reporting to Paul Durand-Ruel only a few days after his arrival that he had already taken up his brushes, he ultimately found it unsatisfactory. Just sixteen months after moving there, he re-located with Alice and the children to Giverny, a rural hamlet twelve kilometers from Vétheuil where he would live until his death.
Les tilleuls Poissy depicts the view from the window of the Villa Saint-Louis, overlooking the linden trees on the Cours du 14-Juilliet and behind them the houses of Old Poissy. The Seine lies immediately to the left, just outside of the picture. The long shadows cast by the trees and the golden glow that suffuses the houses suggest a late afternoon scene. The trees are in full leaf, indicating that the canvas was most likely painted during the spring of 1882, between two extended sojourns that Monet took to the coastal site of Pourville in February-April and June-October. Monet is known to have painted only three other scenes of Poissy during the year and a half that he spent there: two depictions of fishermen on the Seine (Wildenstein, nos. 748-749; Österreichische Galerie, Vienna, and private collection), also painted from the window of the Villa Saint-Louis, and a view of the nearby Saint-Germain Forest (Wildenstein, no. 750; Yamagata Museum of Art, Japan). The bulk of Monet's work during this period was painted instead during the two campaigns at Pourville and a trip to Etretat, another site on the Normandy coast, in January-February 1883. A rare pictorial document of Monet's time at Poissy, the present canvas remained in collection of Jean-Pierre Hoschedé, the youngest of Alice's children, until 1951, twenty-five years after the artist's death.