Claude Monet, A. Rodin. Claude MONET, Auguste RODIN.

“One Seems to Complete the Other”

One of 20 Copies on Japon, with the Invitation

Claude Monet, A. Rodin.

89, [1] p. 8vo (250 x 165 mm.), orig. tan printed wrappers, ms. ink title on spine, leaves uncut. Paris: Galerie Georges Petit, 1889.

One of only 20 copies on fine papier Japon (just 60 printed), this is the scarce catalogue for the storied collaborative exhibition between Monet and Rodin at the Galerie Georges Petit, organized in the summer of 1889 to coincide with the Paris Exposition Universelle. Monet displayed 145 of his recent works, and Rodin 36 of his sculptures. Up to that point the art world had rejected Monet’s groundbreaking compositions, but the event proved to be a turning point in Monet’s career. The two essays, printed herein, by the critics Octave Mirbeau and Gustave Geffroy on Monet and Rodin, respectively, praise the artists’ originality and daring. Laid in with this copy is the extremely rare printed invitation.

The installation of the exhibition did not unfold smoothly. Put in place on the morning of the vernissage, Rodin’s sculptures obscured many of Monet’s paintings, leading Monet to worry in a letter to Georges Petit that his best works would be “lost.” According to Edmond de Goncourt, the normally soft-spoken Rodin, made aware of Monet’s consternation, blurted, “I don’t give a damn about Monet, I don’t care about everyone else, I will just take care of myself!” The tension between the artists soon dissipated and the exhibition proved an enormous success and precipitated the recognition of Monet as a visionary of modernity. Mere acquaintances before this exhibition, the two artists maintained a regular correspondence until Rodin’s death in 1917.

In his review of the exhibition, the journalist Charles Frémine wrote in Le Rappel (in trans.): “The one seems to complete the other. Rodin could find no better frame for his sculpture than the painting of Claude Monet…At first glance, one sees that they are a force unto themselves. One is really in their space, and nature is at home here. It is to nature alone that they address their work…Result: surprise, novelty, originality…What they found is life.”

The catalogue lists chronologically the 145 works selected by Monet, executed between 1864 and 1889, and the 36 works by Rodin. The owners of many of the pieces are noted.

Superb copy of an important exhibition catalogue. Limited to 60 copies total, the present copy is no. 2 of 20 numbered copies on papier Japon.

❧ Musée Rodin website, “Rencontre: Rodin et Monet.”.

Price: $5,000.00

Item ID: 7216