Monet's Bouquet of Sunflowers

9" x 12” reproduction as a part of a late 1940s collection of the "World's Great Paintings" with title and commentary on reverse.

In November 1888, Van Gogh wrote: "Gauguin was telling me the other day—that he’d seen a painting by Claude Monet of sunflowers in a large Japanese vase, very fine. But—he likes mine better. I’m not of that opinion." Critics had earlier praised the "brio and daring" of Monet’s technique when he showed this still life, depicting sunflowers that grew along the pathway to his garden at Vétheuil, at the 1882 Impressionist exhibition.

Oscar-Claude Monet (1840-1926) was a French painter and founder of impressionist painting who is seen as a key precursor to modernism, especially in his attempts to paint nature as he perceived it.

Commentary on the reverse reads:

“When, in 1874, a group of French painters whose work had been rejected by the academic Salon organized their own exhibition, their canvases were jeered and laughed at not only by the public but by the critics. The names of these painters and their universal acceptance today should at least make us hesitate to condemn the work of any new artist before we are quite sure we know what we are talking about. Among the independents were Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Pissarro, Degas and Cezanne. Imagine the scoffers at that Paris show, for instance, if they had been told-in the language they could surely understand--that some of Monet's canvases would rise in price with the years from ten francs to a hundred thousand. As it hap-pened, one of Monet's pictures was titled Sunrise, an Impression, and one of the critics gave himself a good time by contemptuously labelling all the exhibitors Impressionists.

Claude Monet, the son of a grocer of Le Havre, is considered the founder of impressionism. Such phenomena as light and atmosphere were nothing new to painters; Monet and his fellow impressionists simply carried their investigation of light and atmosphere further. They saw matter as disintegrated light, endeavored to transcribe nature in terms of the spectrum. They found their subject matter in everyday life, were sturdy realists and liked to paint in pure and brilliant colors.

Monet was early influenced by the English Turner and the French Manet. Only seven years after the absurdly unsuccessful independent show, he had a highly successful one man show in Paris. Thereafter his reputation was assured. When he died at his country home at Giverny, at the age of eighty-six, his funeral procession was led by his lifelong friend, Georges Clemenceau. Sunflowers may be seen in New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art.“ — Edwin Seaver