Monet had begun to experiment with X-shaped compositions as early as 1863-64. Here, almost twenty years later, he has refined the schema and simultaneously clothed it in an active surface pattern of indescribable subtlety. Despite the uncertain continuance of the path, this is a welcoming,...
Monet had begun to experiment with X-shaped compositions as early as 1863-64. Here, almost twenty years later, he has refined the schema and simultaneously clothed it in an active surface pattern of indescribable subtlety. Despite the uncertain continuance of the path, this is a welcoming, pleasant place. The path nestles between two soft mounds. In the Western tradition, landforms are often discussed in sensuous terms in relation to the human body. By this date Monet's paintings only rarely included the human figure. If one were present here, the scene would take on an anecdotal air, and the force of the geometry and suggestiveness of the landscape would be diminished. Without a figure, this painting invites, seduces, comforts, and promises, on an optical as well as an animal level, the component parts of which are impossible to disentangle.
Lower right: Claude Monet 82
October 10, 1882, possibly sold by the artist to Durand-Ruel, Paris and sold in 1883 [see note 1]. 1888, Georges Girard, Paris; March 9, 1888, sold by Girard to Durand-Ruel, Paris (stock no. 1445); 1888, sold by Durand-Ruel, Paris, to Durand-Ruel, New York (stock nos. 408 and 346); June 6, 1888, sold by Durand-Ruel to Williams and Everett, Boston. By 1898, Charles Fairchild (b. 1838 - d. 1910), Boston, Newport, and New York [see note 2]; October 22, 1900, sold by Charles Fairchild to Durand-Ruel, New York (stock no. 2373); April 3, 1903, sold by Durand-Ruel to William Caleb Loring (b. 1851 - d. 1930), Beverly, MA; by descent to his wife, Susan Mason Loring (b. 1852 - d. 1923), Beverly; 1924, bequest of Mrs. Susan Mason Loring to the MFA. (Accession Date: March 6, 1924) NOTES:  The provenance was provided in a letter from Paul Durand-Ruel, Durand-Ruel et Cie., to the MFA (December 6, 2001). According to this letter, Monet sold the Galerie Durand-Ruel four paintings titled "Chemin de la Cavée, Pourville" on October 10, 1882, all of which were sold by the gallery in 1883. As no photographic records exist from that time it is not possible to state definitively that the MFA painting was one of the four sold.  The painting was first consigned by Mr. Fairchild to Durand-Ruel on December 3, 1898.
Bequest of Mrs. Susan Mason Loring