Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

For most of the 1870s, Monet lived in Argenteuil, a town on the Seine only seventeen miles from Paris and accessible to the city by train. He often worked outdoors in his own boat and painted this basin several times, though the lower vantage point of this scene suggests a perspective from the shoreline. Eliminating the factory smokestacks that were in fact visible at this location, Monet instead highlights the area’s picturesque and recreational aspects, including the boat rental area on the left.

Impressionist painters like Monet deliberately eschewed the finished structure and line of academic painting, but the irresolution of this painting has led to its occasional categorization as a “study.” As revealed in x-radiographs, the artist reworked the composition in several areas, removing a sixth paddling duck on the left, for example, by painting over it. The band of lavender brushstrokes along the horizon line is the site of a similar revision.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Claude Monet, French (Paris, France 1840 - 1926 Giverny, France)
Red Boats, Argenteuil
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Les Bateaux Rouges, Argenteuil / Les Bateaux d'Argenteuil
Alternate Title: Red Boats II
Work Type
Persistent Link
Level 1, Room 1220, European Art, 19th–20th century, Collection of Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
61.8 x 82.5 cm (24 5/16 x 32 1/2 in.)
framed: 91 x 111.2 x 10.2 cm (35 13/16 x 43 3/4 x 4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.l. Claude Monet 75
?J. B. Faure, Paris, 1876. [Durand-Ruel, New York], sold; [James F. Sutton, (1843 or 49 - 1915)] sold; ([his sale, through Durand-Ruel, 1917, no. 137]. Émile Laffon, Paris, sold; [through his sale]; to Paul Rosenberg, New York, sold; to Maurice Wertheim, (1943-1951), bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1951.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest from the Collection of Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

2e Exposition de peinture, exh. cat., Galerie Durand-Ruel (Paris, France, 1876), no. 160

Monet-Rodin, exh. cat., Galerie Georges Petit (Paris, France, 1889), no. 27

Arsène Alexandre, "La Collection E. L.", La Renaissance (October 1933 - November 1933), vol. XVI, pp. 182, 193

Alfred M. Frankfurter, "Today's Collectors: Modern Milestones", Art News (June 1946), vol. XLV, no. 4, p. 64

French Painting since 1870, lent by Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1946), p. 10, repr. p. 11

John Rewald, The History of Impressionism [1st ed.], Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York, NY, 1946), p. 347, repr. p. 285

Oscar Reuterswärd, Monet, en konstnarshistorik, Albert Bonniers Förlag (Stockholm, Sweden, 1948), p. 282

La Peinture Française Depuis 1870: Collection Maurice Wertheim, exh. cat., Tom Taylor (Québec, Canada, 1949), no. 3, pp. 9-10

A Collector's Exhibition: Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Collections of Members of the Advisory Committee of the Institute of Fine Arts., exh. cat., Knoedler & Co. Inc. (New York, NY, 1950), no. 4

Howard Devree, "By French Masters: The Metropolitan Shows Wertheim Collection", The New York Times (New York, NY, July 6 1952), p. 6, p. 6

John Canaday, Mainstreams of Modern Art, Henry Holt and Co. (New York, NY, 1959), repr. p. 96

The Maurice Wertheim Catalogue: Modern French Art-- Monet to Picasso, exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh, NC, 1960), p. 28, repr. p. 28

The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Manet to Picasso, exh. cat., The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston, TX, 1962), p. 32, pl. 11

L'Opera completa di Claude Monet, 1870-1889, Rizzoli (Milan, Italy, 1972), p. 97; repr. p. 96

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, exh. cat., Maine State Museum (Augusta, ME, 1972), no. 20

Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet: Biographie et Catalogue Raisonné, La Bibliothèque des Arts (Lausanne, Switzerland, 1974 - 1991), no. 369

Robert L. Herbert, "Method and Meaning in Monet", Art In America (September 1979), vol. 67, pp. 90-108, p. 108

Paul Hayes Tucker, Monet at Argenteuil, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT and London, England, 1982), pl. XX, pp. 118-120, 149

Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 219, p. 192, repr. in color

Helen Langdon, Impressionist Seasons, Phaidon Press (Oxford, England, 1986), repr. in color no. 11, p. 37; text p. 36

John House, Monet: Nature into Art, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT and London, England, 1986), pl. 20, pp. 18, 83

Bernard Denvir, The Impressionists at First Hand, Thames & Hudson (London, England, 1987), repr. in b/w, p. 81

John O'Brian, Degas to Matisse: the Maurice Wertheim Collection, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. and Fogg Art Museum (New York, NY and Cambridge, MA, 1988), no. 4, p. 45-47, repr. in color p. 46

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 120; repr. as no. 348

The Maurice Wertheim Collection and Selected Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings and Drawings in the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1990), repr. in color no. 5, p. 41

Richard Mühlberger, O Que Faz de um Monet um Monet?, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 1993), pp. 48-49, repr. in color with detail

Richard Mühlberger, What Makes a Monet a Monet?, Metropolitan Museum of Art / Viking (New York, NY, 1993), repr. in color inside back cover and details, p. 48

Lawrence S. Cunningham and John J. Reich, Culture and Values: A Survey of the Western Humanities, Harcourt Brace College Publishers (New York, NY, 1994), pp. 365-366, repr. in color fig 16.7

Lynn Federle Orr, Monet: Late Paintings of Givenchy from the Musée Marmottan, exh. cat., Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA, 1994), p. 18, repr. in color fig. 4

H. W. Janson and Anthony F. Janson, History of Art [5th ed.], Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1995), pp. 705-706, repr. in color, fig. 949

H. W. Janson and Anthony F. Janson, History of Art for Young People, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1997), p. 462, fig. 396

Christie's Impressionist and Nineteenth Century Art, auct. cat., Christie's, New York (New York NY, November 18 1998), under no. 13, repr. in color as fig. 3

Norio Shimada and Keiko Sakagami, Claude Monet 1881-1926, exh. cat., Toppan Tanc (Japan, 2001), p. 92, fig. 66, repr. in color

Lawrence S. Cunningham and John J. Reich, Culture & Values: A Survey of the Humanities, Thomson Wadsworth (Belmont, CA, 2006), pp. 491-492, repr. in color as fig.18.7

Elizabeth M. Rudy, "Researching the Wertheim Collection at the Harvard Art Museums", Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals (Summer 2014), Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 301-6, p. 303

Exhibition History

Deuxieme exposition de peinture, Rue le Peletier, Paris, 04/01/1876 - 04/30/1876

Monet-Rodin, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 01/01/1889 - 12/31/1889

French Painting since 1870 lent by Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/01/1946 - 09/07/1946; National Gallery of Art, Washington, 07/01/1953 - 09/13/1953

La Peinture Française depuis 1870, Musée de la Province de Quebec, 07/12/1949 - 08/07/1949

A Collector's Exhibition, M. Knoedler & Co., Newport, 02/06/1950 - 02/25/1950

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 07/01/1952 - 09/14/1952

French Paintings Since 1870 from the Maurice Wertheim Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/01/1953 - 09/30/1953

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 06/15/1957 - 09/15/1957

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 06/10/1958 - 08/31/1958

The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Modern French Art--Monet to Picasso, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, 06/17/1960 - 09/04/1960

The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Manet to Picasso, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, 06/13/1962 - 09/02/1962

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, 06/20/1963 - 09/01/1963

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, 06/24/1965 - 09/07/1965

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, 09/03/1968 - 09/22/1968

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Montgomery Museum of Art, Montgomery, 06/01/1971 - 09/30/1971

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Maine State Museum, Augusta, 06/01/1972 - 09/01/1972

Manet to Matisse: The Maurice Wertheim Collection, IBM Gallery of Science and Art, New York, 04/09/1985 - 05/25/1985

The Maurice Wertheim Collection and Selected Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings and Drawings in the Fogg Art Museum, Isetan Department Store, Tokyo, 03/01/1990 - 04/10/1990; Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art, 04/14/1990 - 05/13/1990

Re-View: S427 Impressionist & Postimpressionist Art, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/02/2008 - 06/18/2011

32Q: 1220 Wertheim, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

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