(1840-1926) a founder of French impressionist painting
Exceptional autograph letter signed, four pages (on two conjoined sheets - both sides), 4,5 x 7 inch, `Giverny par Vernon. Eure`, 1.03.1915, in French, very interesting letter to the writer and art critic Léon Werth (1878-1955, then fought in the infantry; Monet had known him thanks to Octave Mirbeau) - Monet writes about his mood/impressions under the influence of the First World War and the impact it had on his work and also on that of Octave Mirbeau*, written and signed in pencil "Claude Monet", attractively mounted (removable) for fine display with a photograph of his artwork `Weeping Willow`** and a portrait photograph of Claude Monet (altogether 16,5 x 11,75 inch), with very mild signs of wear - in nearly very fine condition.
"Cher Monsieur Werth,
C'est un grand plaisir pour moi d'avoir eu un mot de vous. Je pense bien souvent à vous, à tout ce que vous devez endurer et subir. Vous avez fait aussi une mission heureuse en répondant à la petite Simone. C'est la preuve que vous avez laissé un bon souvenir à Giverny, et j'espère bien vous y revoir bientôt n'est-ce pas, et avec l'ami MIRBEAU, que je suis allé voir il y a deux jours. Il n'est pas trop mal, en somme, et ces terribles événements lui ont donné une activité d'esprit et d'action, qu'il n'avait pas avant cela. De moi, je peux vous dire que je travaille beaucoup. Cela va vous sembler singulier et j'en ai parfois un peu de honte, travailler pendant que tant d'autres, souffrent, se battent, et meurent, mais c'est pour moi le seul moyen de ne pas trop penser à ces tristes choses. Cela vous prouvera aussi que je vais bien. Depuis que j'ai repris goût au travail, je ne pense plus que j'ai eu mal aux yeux [...]"
"Dear Mr. Werth,
It is a great pleasure for me to have heard from you. I often think of you, of all that you have to endure and endure. You also did a happy mission by responding to little Simone. This is proof that you left good memories in Giverny, and I hope to see you there again soon, don't I, and with the friend MIRBEAU, whom I went to see two days ago. He is not too bad, in short, and these terrible events have given him an activity of mind and action, which he did not have before that. From myself, I can tell you that I work a lot. This is going to seem strange to you and I am sometimes ashamed of it, to work while so many others suffer, fight, and die, but it is for me the only way not to think too much about these sad things. It will also prove to you that I am well. Since I regained my taste for work, I no longer think that my eyes hurt [...]"
*Octave Mirbeau (1848-1917) was a French novelist, art critic, travel writer, pamphleteer, journalist and playwright, who achieved celebrity in Europe and great success among the public, whilst still appealing to the literary and artistic avant-garde with highly transgressive novels that explored violence, abuse and psychological detachment.
** Weeping Willow (1918/1919) is a painting by Claude Monet. It is an example from a series of paintings depicting weeping willows and was created between 1918 and 1919. The series of paintings with weeping willows belong to the late work of Claude Monet and was created under the impression of the consequences of the First World War. With the series, the painter wanted to express his grief over the numerous people who fell during the battles of this war. With the series Claude Monet moves away from pure impressionism, but instead chooses the closed corner and the single weeping willow symbolically as an expression of sorrow for the world. Mareike Hennig notes about the painting that, unlike many of Monet's garden pictures, the place here is not a colored promise of happiness, but rather conveys the feeling of an all-encompassing, enveloping sadness.
On November 12, 1918, one day after the armistice was signed, Claude Monet offered the painting to his friend, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, as a gift to the French nation.
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