Google helps you: an art historian finds missing Monet's painting through the power of the web
This painting was recently found by art historian Richard Thomson, who conducted a simple Google search to solve this puzzle.
Thomson, a professor of Fine Art at the University of Edinburgh, had originally seen the painting was featured in Paul Hayes Tucker’s 1982 book Monet at Argenteuil, in black and white, and in a 1990s catalogue in colour, where it was "only the size of a Christmas-card postage stamp". The catalogue raisonné had listed it as being in a private collection.
Art historians apparently found out that the painting had been sold in London in 2007, in an anonymous sale at Christie’s, and with little fanfare, for £412,000 (~$550,000 US).
According to the listing on the art dealer’s website, it has only been exhibited just three times before: 'possibly' in London in 1874 and in Boston and New York in 1895.
The website of the auction house notes that Galerie Durand-Ruel, which operated in Paris between 1833 and 1974, had acquired the painting from Monet in February of 1873. Other owners include André Weil who purchased the painting in Paris; Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd, who bought the painting at auction in London in 1948; Mrs Donaldson Magill who owned the painting in 1975.
Comprising more than 70 paintings by the artist, ‘Monet & Architecture' spans Claude Monet’s long career from its beginnings in the mid-1860s to the public display of his Venice paintings in 1912. It will include 10 paintings of Argenteuil and the Parisian suburbs, seven Rouen cathedrals and eight London paintings.
The painting "View of Bordighera" from the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles was chosen for the official poster of the exhibition.
While Monet is typically portrayed as a painter of landscape, of the sea, and in his later years, of gardens, an exhibition focusing on his work in terms of architecture had not been undertaken until now, the National Gallery said.
Left: Claude Monet’s The Thames Below Westminster. Photograph: National Gallery
Title illustration: Claude Monet "Effet de Brouillard" (1872)