The Portal of Rouen Cathedral in Morning Light

Object Details


The Portal of Rouen Cathedral in Morning Light


Claude Monet (French, 1840 - 1926)




France (Place created)




Oil on canvas


100.3 x 65.1 cm (39 1/2 x 25 5/8 in.)

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"Everything changes, even stone." Claude Monet wrote these words in a letter and vividly demonstrated them in paint, conveying a wondrous combination of permanence and mutability as the sun daily transformed the facade of Rouen Cathedral. Extending the building's encrusted stone surface to the richly varied impasto surface of his painting, he portrayed the cathedral perpetually re-emerging in the suffused light of early morning.

Monet created several groups of paintings exploring the color, light, and form of a single subject at various times of day, but his Rouen Cathedral series was his most intense effort on a single site. He painted there in late winter in both 1892 and 1893, then reworked his thirty canvases from memory in the studio through 1894. He began this example in 1893, working in an improvised studio in the front room of a dressmaker's shop across from the cathedral.

After creating a coherent ensemble, Monet selected twenty paintings that he considered "complete" and "perfect," including this one, for an exhibition at his Paris dealer's gallery in May 1895. Pissarro and Cézanne visited and praised the series, and patrons quickly purchased eight paintings from the group.


Durand-Ruel & Cie (Paris, France), purchased from the artist, 1895; sold to Louis Gonse, 1895.

1895 -

Louis Gonse, 1846 - 1921 (Paris, France), probably by inheritance to his son, Emmanuel Gonse.

Emmanuel Gonse, 1880 - 1954, probably by inheritance to his wife, Suzanne Gonse.

- 1962

Suzanne (Boas) Gonse (Paris, France), sold to Durand-Ruel & Cie. (Paris, France), 1962.


Durand-Ruel & Cie, sold to Sam Salz, 1962.

1962 -

Sam Salz, about 1894 - 1981 (New York, New York)

about 1968

Edwin C. Vogel (New York, New York)

about 1971

Sam Salz, about 1894 - 1981 (New York, New York)

about 1972

Basil P. Goulandris (Switzerland)

Galerie Beyeler (Basel, Switzerland)

by 1994

Fujikawa Gallery (Tokyo, Japan)

Private Collection

by 2001

Acquavella Galleries, Inc. (New York, New York), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001.

Exposition de tableaux de Claude Monet (May 10 to May 31, 1895) (Cat. 13)
  • Durand-Ruel & Cie, (Paris), May 10 to May 31, 1895
Exposition Claude Monet, 1840-1926 (May 22 to September 30, 1959) (Cat. 50)
  • Durand-Ruel & Cie, (Paris), May 22 to September 30, 1959
Monet: A Retrospective (February 11 to July 31, 1994) (Cat. 57)
  • Bridgestone Museum of Art, (Tokyo), February 11 to April 7, 1994
  • Nagoya City Art Museum, (Nagoya), April 16 to June 12, 1994
  • Hiroshima Museum of Art, (Hiroshima), June 18 to July 31, 1994
The Repeating Image: Multiples in French Painting from David to Matisse (October 7, 2007 to April 13, 2008) (Cat. 62)
  • Walters Art Museum, (Baltimore), October 7, 2007 to January 1, 2008
  • Phoenix Art Museum, (Phoenix), January 20 to April 13, 2008
A City for Impressionism: Monet, Pissarro and Gauguin in Rouen (June 4 to September 26, 2010) (Cat. 63)
  • Musée des beaux-arts (Rouen), June 4 to September 26, 2010

Exposition de tableaux de Claude Monet, exh. cat. (Paris: Galeries Durand-Ruel, 1895) p. 3, no. 13.

Venturi, Lionello. Les archives de l'impressionnisme. 2 vols. (Paris and New York: Durand-Ruel, 1939) vol. 1, p. 359, letter 227.

Exposition Claude Monet, 1840-1926, exh. cat. (Paris: Galerie Durand-Ruel, 1959) unpaginated, no. 50, ill.

Wildenstein, Daniel. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. 5 vols. (Lausanne and Paris: La bibliothèque des arts; Wildenstein Institute, 1974-1991) vol. 3 (1979), pp. 166-67, no. 1354, ill.

Seiberling, Grace. Monet's Series (New York and London: Garland, 1981) pp. 367, 369, app., nos. 13, 27.

Pissarro, Joachim. Monet's Cathedral: Rouen 1892-1894 (London: Pavilion, 1990) pp. 64-65, 95, pl. 15.

Gonse, François. "Louis Gonse (1846-1921): Historien, critique, et amateur d'art." Mémoire de maîtrise (Université de Paris IV-Sorbonne, 1990) pp. 105-6, 119n61.

Grandjean, Gilles, ed. Rouen, les 'Cathédrales' de Monet, exh. cat. (Rouen: Musée des beaux-arts, 1994) p. 97, ill.

Monet: A Retrospective, exh. cat. (Tokyo: Bridgestone Museum of Art, 1994) pp. 176, 178, no. 57, ill.

Wildenstein, Daniel. Monet, or the Triumph of Impressionism. 4 vols. (Paris: Wildenstein Institute, with Taschen, 1996) vol. 1, p. 293; vol. 3, pp. 555, 562, no. 1354, ill.

Allen, Denise, et al. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, with Thames & Hudson, 2003) pp. 104-5, no. 56, ill., entry by Charlotte Eyerman.

Bieber, Susanneh. Variations on a Theme: American Prints from Pop Art to Minimalism, exh. cat. (Fresno: Fresno Metropolitan Museum, 2004) p. 12, fig. 3.

Stuckey, Charles. "The Predications and Implications of Monet's Series." In The Repeating Image: Multiples in French Painting from David to Matisse, exh. cat. Eik Kahng, ed. (Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, with Yale University Press, 2007) pp. 120, 121, fig. 53.

Kahng, Eik, ed. The Repeating Image: Multiples in French Painting from David to Matisse, exh. cat. (Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, with Yale University Press, 2007) pp. 121, 196, no. 62, fig. 53.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007) pp. 144-45, ill.

Salomé, Laurent, ed. A City for Impressionism: Monet, Pissarro, and Gauguin in Rouen, exh. cat. (Rouen: Musée des beaux-arts, with Skira Flammarion, 2010) pp. 273, 278, no. 63, ill., text by Jeanne-Marie David.

Acquavella: The First Ninety Years (New York: Acquavella Galleries, 2012) p. 371, ill.

Pissarro, Joachim. "Monet / Pissarro in the 1890s: Serial Racing." In Pissarro, exh. cat. Guillermo Solana et al. (Madrid: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2013) p. 47, fig. 18.

Scoates, Christopher. Brian Eno: Visual Music (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2013) p. 119, ill.

Education Resources

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Sacred Places: California Missions from Different Perspectives

Explore the concept of a sacred place through works of art representing sacred spaces, and by studying the California missions.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; History–Social Science


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