Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkeys and Monet's Montgeron series

The Turkeys at Montgeron is the only painting I know in which Claude Monet painted birds. It was planned and painted as part of series of four decorative panels commissioned by his patron Ernest Hoschedé.

The Turkeys at Montgeron 1877
by Claude Monet
oil on canvas, 174 x 172cm
Musee d'Orsay

These turkeys were painted in the grounds of the Chateau of Rottenburg at Montgeron (just south of Paris) which was the home of Monet's patron, Ernest Hoschedé, a wealthy department store magnate and art collector and his wife Alice and their children.

While at Montgeron in 1876, Monet started the four paintings which were intended to decorate the main drawing room of the chateau. The other three paintings in the series are:
It struck me that maybe the series was supposed to be in some way represent the four seasons of life at the castle

The other three panels in the series by Claud Monet
L to R: Corner of the garden at Montgeron, The Hunt, Pond at Montgeron

Images from the Atheneaum

The lives of the Monet and Hoschedé would later become very much intertwined following Ernest's bankruptcy (the following year). Ernest's art collection (including Monet's paintings) was auctioned off and Ernest, Alice, and their children moved into a house in Vétheuil with Monet, Monet's first wife Camille, and their two sons. Alice Hoschedé eventually became Claude Monet's second wife after Camille's death in 1879 and Ernest's in 1891.

The two families went through a lot together and I guess at the end of the day Monet, Alice and their children had a lot to be thankful about in one way and another.

However, one does rather wonder if Monet ever got paid for these commissioned works............

Best wishes to all my American readers - I hope you have a great turkey, that all your commissions pay up on time and that you have a really wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday! :)



  1. I hope you're not forgetting "The Magpie":
    Not such a big bird, perhaps, but one of my favourite pictures - and nothing to do with my local football club :)

  2. I had forgotten about this Monet painting! Thank you for bringing a smile to my face as I stuff our Thanksgiving turkley and get it into the oven early this gray morning.

    And thanks for a top notch blog, always informative and well though out. I learn so much each time I visit here!


  3. Thank you for the holiday greetings, Katherine.

    You know how much I love the turkeys, and the white domestic plumage is stunning and it makes a fine white mass in these Monets.

    But, I much prefer the wild turkey's fan - co colorful.

    I am slowly becoming a Monet fan, speaking of fans. This tidbit of information is a good primer on the old boy.

  4. I'm thankful for you, Katherine, and your wonderfully informative ad entertaining blog posts. I'll toast you later today at the Thanksgiving dinner I'll be attending. Blessings!

  5. Thank you for all your thanks

    Harry - I shall plead "plural"!

    I had forgotten about The Magpie - but that's partly because I always forget that that wonderful picture has that title! I will now think of it as The Georgie Magpie!

  6. Oh, that's "Geordie", but you knew that!

  7. I tremendously enjoy looking at this painting. I tell people about it, to see if they know about it. I look it up often on Thanksgiving, and study it over and over. I think the composition and subject matter are genius.


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