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Google helps you: an art historian finds missing Monet's painting through the power of the web

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A Claude Monet's painting "Effet de Brouillard" (1872), believed to have been missing since 1895, is to go on view in a forthcoming exhibition at the National Gallery in London. Exhibition will examine French artist’s relationship with architecture.
This painting was recently found by art historian Richard Thomson, who conducted a simple Google search to solve this puzzle.


"Effet de Brouillard" (1872), a somber depiction of the countryside in Argenteuil, near Paris, where Monet lived between 1871 and 1878. It was here that he produced some of his most sublime masterpieces among over 180 paintings. Richard Thomson, curator of the 'Monet and Architecture' exhibition, thought that the 1872 painting, a hazy view of houses shrouded in fog, would be perfect for the show set to open April 2018.
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.








"It’s a picture that’s been off the beaten track, off the radar, and we’re going to have it in the show. Its whereabouts weren’t known… It’s exciting."

Richard Thomson
With the help of the internet’s power, Professor Thomson discovered the painting that had passed through an antique dealer/auction house in New Orleans. He contacted them, and they quickly got in touch with the owner, who were happy to let it be displayed at the National Gallery.
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.




Claude Monet. View Of Bordighera
View Of Bordighera
1884, 66×81.8 cm
"Monet & Architecture" - the first exhibition devoted to Monet’s relationship with architecture. The exhibition will reflect how, through buildings, Monet explored "the play of sunshine, fogs and reflections". As the artist put it in 1895: "Other painters paint a bridge, a house, a boat … I want to paint the air that surrounds the bridge, the house, the boat — the beauty of the light in which they exist."

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

Claude Monet (1840−1926), a French painter pictured in his house of Giverny. Photo: dailymail.co.uk



"Monet & Architecture" features exceptional loans from public and private collections around the world. Claude Monet is a huge draw for the public. The Royal Academy’s 1999 blockbuster show, Monet in the 20th Century, attracted more than 700,000 visitors. And the National Gallery became the fifth most visited museum in the world in 2016, bringing in 6.3 million visitors. Get ready as the next year we’ll have the unbelievable show!

The exhibition "Monet and Architecture" will be on show at the National Gallery in London from April 9 to July 29, 2018.
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Based on materials from official site of the National Gallery, Christie’s, theguardian.com.

Title illustration: Claude Monet "Effet de Brouillard" (1872)