Low Tide at Varengeville

Claude Monet

Marea baja en Varengeville

Monet, Claude

París, 1840 - Giverny, 1926

Low Tide at Varengeville, 1882

© Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza

Signed & dated lower left: ''Claude Monet 82''.
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection
Location: Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, Madrid

Oil on canvas

60 x 81 cm


Artwork history

  • Durand-Ruel Gallery. Acquired from the artist, París, April, 1882

  • Adrien-A. Hébrard, París, 1906

  • Prince de Wagram, París

  • Durand-Ruel Gallery, París, 1908

  • Private collection

  • Sotheby’s Auctions, lot 25, London, June 28, 1994

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection


Exposición, Londres, Durand-Ruel Galleries


Exposition des amis des arts de la Touraine, Tours


American Exhibition of Foreign Products, Arts and Manufactures, Boston (MA), Arts and Manufactures, n. 13


Monet, París, Galerie Durand-Ruel, n. 19


Tableaux de Monet, Pissarro, Renoir et Sisley, París, Galerie Durand-Ruel, n. 14


Pictures by Boudin, Cézanne, Degas, Manet, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, Londres, Grafton Galleries y Galerie Durand-Ruel, n. 127


Paysages par Claude Monet et Renoir, París, Galerie Durand-Ruel, n. 31


Monet, París, Galerie Durand-Ruel, n. 32


Centenaire Monet-Rodin, París, Musée de l´Orangerie, n. 30


Monet, París, Durand-Ruel Galleries, n. 31


De Canaletto a Kandinsky. Obras maestras de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, n. 61, p. 168

1996 - 1997

From Zurbaran to Picasso. Masterpieces from the Collection of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Shanghai, Shanghai Museum; Pekín, China National Art Gallery, p. 122


Capolavori dalla Collezione di Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza: 60º anniversario dell'apertura della Pinacotecca di Villa Favorita, Lugano, Villa Favorita, n. 83, p. 220


Del vedutismo a las primeras vanguardias. Obras maestras de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, n. 33, p. 130


Do impresionismo ó fauvismo: A pintura do cambio de século en París. Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Santiago de Compostela, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, n. 11, p. 50

1999 - 2000

Exposición, Sitges, Museu del Cau Ferrat


Del impresionismo a la vanguardia en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, México, DF, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, p. 66


Del post-impresionismo a las vanguardias. Pintura de comienzos del siglo XX en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Valencia, IVAM Centre Julio González, p. 186

2000 - 2001

L'impressionisme i la seva empremta en la col·lecció Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Andorra, Sala d'Exposicions del Govern d'Andorra, p. 24, lám. p. 25


Il trionfo del colore. Collezione Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Kandinsky, Roma, Palazzo Ruspoli, p. 116


Monet. The Seine and the Sea. Vétheuil and Normandy, 1878-1883, Edimburgo, Royal Scottish Academy, n. 52, p. 118

2006 - 2007

Monet in Normandy, San Francisco, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Raleigh, North Carolina Museum of Art; Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art, n. 23, pp. 88 y 184, lám. p. 91

2010 - 2011

Claude Monet 1840-1926, París, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, n. 58, p. 188, lám.


Impresionismo y Aire libre. De Corot a Van Gogh, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, n. 110, p. 203, lám.

2013 - 2014

Courbet, Van Gogh, Monet, Léger. Del paisaje naturalista a las vanguardias en la Colección Carmen Thyssen, Málaga, Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga, n. 18, p. 88, lám. p. 89


L'ideal en el paisatge. De Meifrèn a Matisse i Gontxarova. Col·lecció Carmen Thyssen, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, fundació Privada Centre d'Art Col·lecció Catalana de Sant Feliu de Guíxols, p. 58, lám. p. 59


Monet/Boudin. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. Madrid. Cat. 64, p. 181.

2019 - 2020

Influencers in art. From Van Goyen to Pop Art. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra. p. 48, 49, 130-133.

  • -Wedmore, F.: ”The Impressionist”.  The Standard. London, July 13, 1882.

  • -Lostalot, A. de: ”Exposition des oeuvres de Claude Monet”. Gazette des Beaux-Arts. París, April, 1883 , p. 346.

  • -Wedmore, F.: ”The Impressionist”.  The Fortnightly Review. London, January, 1883, vol. 23 , pp. 75-82.

  • -Lecomte, G.: L’Art Impressionniste. París, 1892, pp. 98-99.

  • -Mauclair, C.: L’Impressionnisme, son histoire, son esthétique, ses maîtres. París, 1904, p. 80, lám.

  • -Bal, G.: “À propos de l’exposition Monet-Renoir chez Durand Ruel”. New York Herald Tribune. [Ed. París], May 21, 1908.

  • -Meier-Graefe, J.: Modern Art. New York, 1908, vol. 1, p. 302.

  • -Pica, V.: Gli Impressionisti Francesi. Bérgamo, 1908, p. 73, lám.

  • -Sarradin, E.: ”Notes d’art. Paysages de Claude Monet et de Renoir”.  Journal des Débats. May 23, 1908.

  • -Grappe, G.: Claude Monet. París, Beckmann, 1909, p. 19, lám.

  • -Meier-Graefe, J.: Entwicklungsgeschichte der modernen Kunst. Berlín, 1914-15, lám. 376.

  • -Mauclair, C.: Claude Monet. París, 1924, lám. 16.

  • -Werth, L.: Claude Monet. París, 1928, lám. 33.

  • -Wildenstein, Daniel: Claude Monet. Biographie et Catalogue raisonné. Lausanne – París, La Bibliothèque des Arts, 1974-91 , vol. 2 (1979), n. 722, pp. 64, 64; vol. 5 (1991), p. 39.

  • De Canaletto a Kandinsky. Obras maestras de la colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. [Exhib. Cat. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza]. Llorens Serra, Tomàs (ed.). Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 1996 , n. 61, p. 168. [Sheet by Ronald Pickvance]

  • -Wildenstein, Daniel: Monet. Catalogue raisonné. Colonia, Taschen – Wildenstein Institute, 1996, vol. 2, n. 722, pp. 265, 269, lám.

  • -Clarke, Michael y Thomson, Richard: Monet. The Seine and the Sea 1878-1883. [Exhib. Cat. Edimburgo, Royal Scottish Academy]. Edimburgh, National Galleries of Scotland, 2003, n. 52, pp. 118-120, lám. [Sheet by Thomson]

  • Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 2, p. 40, lám. p. 41 [Sheet by Anne-Marie Bergeret-Gourbin]

  • Monet in Normandy. Lemonedes, Heather; Orr, Lynn Federle y Steel, David (eds.). [Exhib. Cat. San Francisco, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Raleigh, North Carolina Museum of Art; Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art, 2006-2007]. New York, Rizzoli, 2006, n. 23, pp. 88-91 (lám.) [Sheet by Heather Lemonedes y David Steel]

  • -Thomson, Richard: “Un naturalisme d’émotivité. 1881-1891”.  París 2010-2011, pp. 32-47, cit. p. 38, fig.

  • Claude Monet. 1840-1926. Cogeval, Guy… [et. alt] [Exhib. Cat.]. París, Galeries nationales, Grand Palais, 2010-2011.

  • Impresionismo y Aire libre. De Corot a Van Gogh, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2013, n. 110, p. 203, lám.

  • Courbet, Van Gogh, Monet, Léger. Del paisaje naturalista a las vanguardias en la Colección Carmen Thyssen, Málaga, Museo Carmen Thyssen Málaga, 2013,  n. 18, p. 88, lám. p. 89.

  • L’ideal en el paisatge. De Meifrèn a Matisse i Gontxarova. Col·lecció Carmen Thyssen, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Fundació Privada Centre d’Art Col·lecció Catalana de Sant Feliu de Guíxols, 2014,  p. 58, lám. p. 59.

  • -Monet/Boudin. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza. [Exhib. Cat. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza], Madrid, 2018. Cat. 64, p. 181.

  • -“Influencers” en el arte. De Van Goyen al “Pop Art”. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra.[Exhib. Cat. Museu Carmen Thyssen Andorra], Andorra, 2019, p. 48, 49, 130-133.[Sheet by  Anne-Marie Bergeret-Gourbin]

Expert report

In February 1882, Claude Monet left Poissy to travel to Dieppe and Pourville, on the Norman coast. He remained there for two months, on his own, and painted during his long sojourn 36 works, 23 of which were bought by Paul Durand-Ruel for the total sum of 8800 FF. The paintings were bought for about 400 FF apiece, and the one analysed here was acquired by Durand-Ruel in April 1882. In March 1882, Durand-Ruel was selling Monet’s paintings for 2000 to 2500 FF each, if we are to believe a letter from Boudin to his friend Ferdinand Martin. The price of Monet’s works increased rapidly in the years 1880-1890 and Durand-Ruel used to reserve the largest part of the artist’s production. In 1882 Monet was concerned by the uncomfortable position he held next to Alice Hoschedé, who lived unofficially separated from her husband. He took on the everyday expenses of the household which included his own children and Alice’s. But his worries did not hinder his passion for painting.

During his stay, disappointed with Dieppe, Monet discovered Pourville and its surroundings, and stayed in a small hotel and restaurant, “A la renommée des galettes”, very close to the waterfront. He worked alone: “I have always worked better alone, drawing only on my own impressions”.

On 6 April 1882 he told Alice about his work, and indirectly informs us on his own technique. He would sketch several paintings at the same time, according to the weather. He then had to find the same atmosphere in order to take up each painting again. This technique was described by Guy de Maupassant in Étretat in 1886. He revealed to Alice: “the majority of my studies are executed in ten or twelve sessions, and many in twenty […] I still need, in order to finish the paintings properly, two days of sunshine and two or three of grey weather and that, of course, dropping several works […]”. And he added the following day: “Yesterday I worked on eight studies; supposing I worked on each for about one hour […]”. So Monet worked at the same time on several paintings of the same place or of places close by. At each session, he needed to find again his first impression. Then, he finished the works in his studio and kept them until he could observe them all together, before entrusting them to his art dealer. This was precisely what he did with the series of paintings of Pourville and Varengeville. From his stay in Pourville, Monet brought back views of the cliffs, of the church in Varengeville and of the customs officer’s hut. The cliff of Varengeville and the beach at Pourville were painted in several sessions from a rather classical angle: the line of the horizon is roughly in the middle of the composition and the viewer is placed at a certain distance, at the same level. We are far from the bird’s eye views and the close-ups which Monet often chose, and this work recalls more the cliffs painted by Jongkind, Millet or Isabey. Monet had already treated the subject of the cliff at Étretat in 1868-69, and again in 1880 and 1881 at Petites Dalles and at Fécamp, where he depicted the subject in close-up.

The technique used to paint this work differs from the pictures executed near the customs officers’ hut during the same stay. The brushstroke applied in short curved touches is substituted by long sharp strokes on the cliffs, almost evoking falling water. This technique gives volume and strength to the rocks, while at the same time it conveys dynamism and evokes their mineral and plant components. It is an expressionist technique which Monet used in other works such as Church in Varengeville, Morning Effect of 1882.

This highly sensual representation of the cliff is tempered by the bottom part of the painting. The transparency, the reflections, the quietness and horizontality of the water are a counterpoint which softens the verticality and density of the rocks. The puddles of seawater in the foreground are highly poetic. They bring to mind the harmonies of sky and water dear to Boudin, who excelled in the representation of low tides and quiet water caught between the sand and the rocks. The style of this work follows in the wake of the art of Eugène Boudin and Charles Daubigny, two artists highly regarded by Monet during his entire life, and who made a strong impression on him in his youth.

The cliff and the low tide make up a strong group which is counterbalanced, like an attenuated echo, by the left-hand side of the painting. Here, the elements are blurred, the colours are diluted and become monochrome (the sand and the cliff in the distance), while the sky delicately links the different parts.

Anne-Marie Bergeret-Gourbin