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Champ de coquelicots, environs de Giverny (Field of Poppies near Giverny)

Claude Monet

(1840 - 1926) | Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts (Inv. D.1954.7.1)

Date : 1885 | Medium : Technique: Oil on canvas, 66 x 81.5 cm

The painting has no signature and its attribution to Monet is sometimes questioned; however, the painting was authenticated by the artist’s son, Michel Monet, who added a now disappeared “Claude Monet” stamp in the bottom left-hand corner of the canvas at an undetermined date, but prior to the work’s arrival at the Rouen Museum. An unreported “Claude Monet” inscription can still be found on the back of the canvas.

The craftsmanship is distinguished by quick and confident movements, with small, almost abstract, brushstrokes that reveal a perfect mastery of movement.

This Monet painting was discovered after the war along with 14 other paintings in a farm belonging to a Martin Reichenwallner in Kölblöd near Munich in 1949. However, this peasant is related to Hermann Brandel, if that is actually his name, who was a spy in Belgium in the 1930s before arriving in Paris in 1940 as the head of the Wehrmacht’s purchasing offices in the Abwehr, the German intelligence services, which siphoned off a large proportion of French works for Germany. He was therefore at the head of what has been called “the Otto organisation”, where the confidentiality of legal actions goes hand in hand with fraudulent transactions willingly carried out in connection with the Parisian underworld.

The exact origin of the discovered works, which also include Monet’s Still life with pheasant, another MNR work located in Rouen, has never been identified.

Retained by the 5th Selection Committee on 25 October 1949, the painting was assigned to the Louvre Museum before being deposited in the Museum of Rouen by the decree of 29 January 1954.