This beautiful beach scene near Le Havre, where the artist grew up, was one of two landscapes that launched Monet’s career when exhibited in 1865 at the Paris Salon, the vast, well-attended survey of contemporary art sponsored by the French government. At the Salon, some viewers confused Monet’s signature with that of the controversial Édouard Manet. When the older artist received compliments for a painting that he had not painted, he sought out Monet, initiating one of the richest dialogues ever between great painters.
Monet seemingly developed this large showpiece in direct response to similar compositions submitted to the Salon of 1864 by Charles-François Daubigny and his son Karl. (Around this time Monet owned a small landscape by Daubigny.) Daubigny had attempted to execute his Salon painting entirely on the spot, away from the shelter and convenience of a studio, in what would soon become orthodox practice for the so-called Impressionists. But in 1864 Monet still worked in a more traditional fashion: he first painted his landscape at the site as a portable-scale work (The National Gallery, London), then made the present, larger version at his Paris studio during the first months of 1865 in preparation for the Salon.
The figures and horses on the beach, all observed from the rear, appear in other works painted by Monet during the 1860s. Presumably he had drawings of such details that he would add as picturesque highlights. Such methods would become anathema to Monet in the later 1860s with the emergence of Impressionism and its challenge to make paintings on site, without after-the-fact studio alterations.
Adult: La Pointe de la Hève at Low Tide
Alfred Cadart [1828-1875], Paris, for ff 300.
(Rousselle sale, 24 July 1922);
purchased by (Bernheim-Jeune, Paris);
purchased 28 September 1922 through (Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, stock no. 23.096) by (Georges Bernheim);
(Georges Bernheim) until 1924.
Jacques Saint-Albin, Paris, possibly until 1967.
Rémond collection, Geneva.
(Wildenstein & Co., New York) by 1968;
purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 1968.