Unfortunately I don't know either.Probably we should look in a book about today's Barbizon and Fontainebleau. I will try to see whether I can find something and I will let you know. Actually your comment raises a very interesting question: what is it today there?
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I had the pleasure of seeing this painting “in context” as part of the exhibition In the Forest of Fontainebleau at the National gallery in Washington a few years ago (see my post here), where it stood out as one of my favorites from the show and remains one of my favorites by Monet in general.
In many ways I prefer painting styles that combine elements of the Impressionist approach with more direct painting (e.g. the “American Impressionists”) to the full-out style of high Impressionism, so I find paintings like this particularly appealing.
The painting gets it name from an appellation given to this particular oak, which was a repeated subject of Swiss painter Karl Bodmer (later changed to Charles Bodmer). Here is one of Bodmer’s paintings of the tree (from here).
Thank you, that would be great.I tried today to find books about Fontainebleau or Barbizon in some DC's bookshops. Not much luck. The only reference was in a book about Cezanne (Conversations with Cezanne): his son had bought a house in the village of Barbizon by 1904.Tomorrow I'll try a search with Google Books: to find books where the Bodmer Oak is referred. It sounds unpractical: actually it is. I tried a couple of days ago this way to find references about a South African jeweler (Kurt Jobst) and I was able to recreate the general lines of his biography. I think I will post next week this story.
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I also make a point of visiting it when it is on display in at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in new York, where it is part of the museum’s collection. In keeping with the excellent practices of their website, the Met has provided a wonderful high-resolution image of the painting.
Like you, I find a lot to admire in early Monet paintings, before Impressionism became a codified formulation that genereated predictable — albeit pleasing — results.
Great post! It’s particularly interesting when an iconic painter paints an iconic spot. In some respects it’s unlike the Claude Monet we think of. But that’s our mistake. There are in fact many Claudes. Part of his greatness is his ability to suit his treatment to what he wants to say…the subject of my last blog post. Keep up the great work, Charley.
Thanks so much for posting this. I was interested in learning more about Monet's painting ("The Bodmer Oak"), and this is very helpful.