Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving DinDons

Best wishes to all my American Readers who are celebrating Thanksgiving.

Les Dindons
a.k.a. The Turkeys at Montgeron
(1877) by Claude Monet

oil on canvas, 174 x 172cm
Musee d'Orsay

This is my photo, taken nearly a decade ago at the Musee d'Orsay, of a 140 year old painting of turkeys. Plus the accompanying label identifying its title as "Les Dindons" by Claude Monet

They have a curious story.

The turkeys - the Dindons - were painted by Monet in 1877 in the grounds of the Chateau of Rottenburg at Montgeron (just south of Paris) which was the home of Ernest Hoschedé, a wealthy department store magnate who was also an art collector and Monet's patron.

This painting is unique insofar as:
  • this 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 for the Chateau at Montgeron

As it happens the same year that this painting was painted, Hoschedé went bankrupt and his wife Alice and their children moved in with the Monets at Vertheuil while Hoschedé continued to try and work in Paris and subsequently moved to Belgium.

Monet's wife Camille had become ill with tuberculosis the previous year (1876). Then she gave birth to their second son in March 1878 - so having a second woman around may well have been a godsend.

Camille subsequently died (of cancer) on 5 September 1879 at the age of thirty-two - and Alice Hoschedé then helped Monet to raise his two sons, Jean and Michel.

Monet finally married Alice Hoschedé in 1892 after the death of her first husband.

Alice died in 1911 and Monet in 1926.

What happened to the painting?

The painting was exhibited at the Third Impressionist Exhibition 140 years ago in 1877 - and seems to have been sold
The third exhibition is considered “the most balanced and coherent” of the eight exhibitions held over a dozen years. Caillebotte contrived, solicited and arranged for what he wanted to see as a “democratic” exhibition of 230 works that represented 18 artists and attracted around fifteen thousand visitors in its thirty-day run. Gustave Caillebotte’s Dinner Invitation Leads to the Exquisite Third Impressionist Exhibition of 1877

Timeline of Ownership 

It's clear the painting was sold following the bankruptcy and the timeline of ownership is interesting.
  • from 1878, collection G. de Nittis, Paris
  • from 1884, in the Theodore Duret collection, Paris
  • 1894, sale of the Théodore Duret collection, paintings and pastels, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, March 19, 1894, n ° 24
  • from 1894, in the Théodore Duret collection 
  • bought on sale on March 19, 1894
  • from 1903 to 1906, in the collection François Depeaux, Rouen1906, sale of the Depeaux collection, Paris, Georges Petit Gallery, May 31 and June 1, 1906, No. 27
  • from 1906 to 1944, in the collection of the princess Edmond de Polignac, born Miss Winnaretta Singer, then became princess of Scey-Montbéliard (acquired on the sale of Depeaux collection of May 31 and June 1)
  • 1947, accepted by the State as legacy of Princess Edmond de Polignac to the National Museums for the Louvre Museum (committee of 27/06/1945, council of 03/07/1945, decree of 19/01/1947)
  • from 1944 to 1947, Louvre Museum, Paris
  • 1947, attributed to the Louvre Museum, Paris
  • from 1947 to 1986, Louvre Museum, Jeu de Paume Gallery, Paris
  • 1986, assigned to the Musée d'Orsay, Paris


After its exhibition in 1877 it didn't get out much - until 1980 - after which it has been exhibited all over the world!
  • Third impressionist exhibition, Paris, France, 1877
  • Claude Monet, A. Rodin, Paris, France, 1889
  • World and International Exhibition, Brussels, Belgium, 1910
  • Monet, Paris, France, 1928
  • Claude Monet: retrospective exhibition, Paris, France, 1931
  • Exhibition of masters of English 19th century painting, London, United Kingdom, 1936National Museums: New Acquisitions 1939-1945, Paris, France, 1945
  • French painting in the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, Nice, France, 1955Tribute to Claude Monet, Paris, France, 1980
  • Monet, Tokyo, Japan, 1982Monet, Kyoto, Japan, 1982
  • The new painting impressionism 1874-1886, San Francisco, USA, 1986
  • The New Painting - Impressionism 1874-1886, Washington, United States, 1986
  • Claude Monet - Auguste Rodin, centenary of the 1889 exhibition, Paris, France, 1989
  • Monet: A Retrospective, Tokyo, Japan, 1994
  • Monet: A Retrospective, Nagoya, Japan, 1994
  • Monet: A Retrospective, Hiroshima, Japan, 1994Claude Monet: 1840-1926, Chicago, United States, 1995
  • Impresionismo: A Nuevo Renacimiento, Madrid, Spain, 2010
  • Birth of Impressionism. Masterpieces from the Orsay Museum, San Francisco, USA, 2010
  • Claude Monet 1840-1926, Paris, France, 2010