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CLAUDE MONET and GEORGE W. THORNLEY La Côte Rocheuse.
Lithograph on Chine appliqué on cream wove paper, before 1892. 206x256 mm; 8x10 inches, full margins. Edition of 25. Signed in pencil by Monet and Thornley, lower margin. With Thornley's red ink stamp, lower right (not in Lugt). Printed by Belfond, Paris, with the blind stamp (Lugt 225d, lower left). Published by Goupil, Paris. From L'Album de 20 lithographies d'apès les tableaux de Claude Monet. A very good impression of this scarce lithograph.
At the end of the 19th century, Monet (1840-1926), Edgar Degas (1834-1917) and Camille Pissarro (1830-1903) rediscovered lithography as a medium both to recreate their artistic conceptions on paper and to simultaneously achieve widespread distribution for their work. These artists, who had invented new ways of transmitting impressions of light and color, engaged George W. Thornley (1857-1935), an accomplished English lithographer and admirer of the Impressionists, to translate their designs into lithographs. The prints that emerged from these collaborative efforts are the only lithographs in color, save one by Pissarro, by these great Impressionist artists.
Until he met Thornley, Monet had evidenced no interest in making prints. Unlike Degas and Pissarro, who etched on copper and drew on stone or transfer paper, or Cézanne, Sisley and Renoir, who collaborated with Auguste Clot, the talented Parisian master printer, to create color lithographs, Monet either found printmaking too daunting or did not seek the public acclaim for his work that printmaking could provide. However, he was able to find a hospitable partner in Thornley. The resulting collaborative lithographs of landscapes and seascapes, signed by Monet in pencil, are informed with the elusive and shimmering light of his iconic Impressionist oil paintings.
Monet's oil of this subject, Les Rochers de Belle-Île from 1887, is now in the Musée des Beaux Arts, Reims (Wildenstein 1107).