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Gallery Text

Monet painted this composition at the end of a decade marked by the impressionists’ sustained experimentation with still-life painting. His depiction of this pair of common fish is indebted to the myriad styles that had influenced him and his contemporaries during the 1870s. These included the large flower paintings of the romantic artist Eugène Delacroix, who died in 1863, and Edouard Manet’s studied reinterpretations of the Spanish, Dutch, and French still-life traditions. Manet’s emulation of the work of the eighteenth-century painter Jean-Siméon Chardin was particularly influential, as it coincided with critical reexamination of Chardin’s career in the 1860s, heralding him as the great French master of still life. Monet’s closely cropped view of fish on a white cloth reveals his attentiveness to these precedents, while his elevated viewpoint highlights the food’s imminent preparation for consumption.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Claude Monet, French (Paris, France 1840 - 1926 Giverny, France)
Red Mullets
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Rougets
Alternate Title: Still Life of Fish / Fish (Mullets) / Fish
Work Type
c. 1870
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2100, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, Centuries of Tradition, Changing Times: Art for an Uncertain Age
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Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
31.1 x 46 cm (12 1/4 x 18 1/8 in.)
framed: 53.34 x 67.95 x 6.67 cm (21 x 26 3/4 x 2 5/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.r.: Claude Monet
  • exhibition label: back of canvas, paper: no. 24 [for "Color in Art" exhibition]
  • exhibition label: back of canvas, paper: TR 52/24 [for "Color in Art" exhibition]
  • exhibition label: back of canvas, paper: No. L57.994 / Lent by Fogg Art/ Museum, Howard [sic] University.
Edmond Maitre, Paris (friend of Bazille). [Durand-Ruel, Inc., Paris, 1899]. Dr. A.C. Barnes, 1915. [Durand-Ruel, Paris/New York], sold; to Friends of the Fogg Art Museum, 1925, gift; to Fogg Art Museum,1925.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Friends of the Fogg Art Museum Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Fogg Art Museum Handbook, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1927), repr. in b/w p. 54

Fogg Art Museum Handbook, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1931), repr. in b/w p. 67

Fogg Art Museum Handbook, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1936), ill. p. 98

Oscar Reuterswärd, Monet, en konstnarshistorik, Albert Bonniers Förlag (Stockholm, Sweden, 1948), pp. 27, 280

Claude Monet: A Loan Exhibition, exh. cat., City Art Museum of St. Louis (St. Louis, MO, 1957), repr. as no. 11

Anne V. Dort, "French Art of the 19th Century", Boston Symphony Orchestra Concert Bulletin (Boston, MA, 1958 -1959), no. 21, p.1316

Denis Rouart and Leon Degand, Claude Monet, Skira (New York, NY, 1958), repr. p. 43

William Chapin Seitz, Claude Monet, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1960), p.23, repr. no. 24

Highlights from the Collections of the Fogg Museum and Harvard Alumni of St. Louis, exh. cat., City Art Museum of St. Louis (St. Louis, 1964), cat. 33

Raymond Cogniat, Monet and his World, Viking Press (New York, NY, 1966), repr. p. 42

Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, exh. cat., Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, 1967)

Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings from the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY, 1967), cat. 36

L'Opera completa di Claude Monet, 1870-1889, Rizzoli (Milan, Italy, 1972), repr. p. 90

Daniel Wildenstein, Claude Monet: Biographie et Catalogue Raisonné, La Bibliothèque des Arts (Lausanne, Switzerland, 1974 - 1991), p. 180, no. 140

James N. Carpenter, Color in Art: A Tribute to Arthur Pope, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1974), p. 60, cat. 24, ill.

Brian Petrie, Claude Monet-the First of the Impressionists, Phaidon (Oxford, England, 1979), p. 77, repr. in b/w p. 79, pl. 67

Caroline A. Jones, Modern Art at Harvard: The Formation of the Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums (New York, NY and Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press, 1985). With an essay by John Coolidge and a preface by John M. Rosenfield. To accompany the inaugural exhibition at the Sackler Museum, Oct 21 1985 - Jan 5 1986, repr. in b/w, fig. 14, p.28

Nathan Goldstein, Design and Composition, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1989), repr. in b/w, fig. 5.24, p. 119

J. Patrice Marandel, "A Note on Bazille's Still Life and Fish of 1865", Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Institute of Arts Founders Society (Detroit, MI, 1990), vol. LXV, no. 4, repr. in b/w, fig. 5, p. 9

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), pp. 120, 245, repr. b/w cat. no. 346

Richard R. Brettell, Impressionism: Painting Quickly in France, 1860-1890, exh. cat., Yale University Press/Sterling and Francine Clark Art Instiitute (New Haven, 2000), p. 114, repr. in color as pl. 68

Ségolène Le Men, Monet, Citadelles & Mazenod (Paris, 2010), p. 120, repr. p. 119 as ill. 95

Agnes Husslein-Arco and Stephan Koja, ed., Looking at Monet: The Great Impressionist and his Influence on Austrian Art, exh. cat., Hirmer (Vienna, 2014), ill. p. 166

George T.M. Shackelford, Monet: The Early Years, exh. cat., Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth, TX, 2016), cat. no. 29, pp. 139-140, repr. p. 141, detail repr. pp. 80-81

George T.M. Shackelford, Richard Shiff, Anthea Callen, Richard Thomson, and Yale University Press, Monet: The Early Years, exh. cat. (New Haven, 2016), pp.139-141; repr. as cat.29 on p.141

Exhibition History

Monet, Durand-Ruel [New York], New York, 01/01/1915 - 12/31/1915

Monet and the Beginning of Impressionism, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, 09/01/1949 - 11/30/1949

Claude Monet, City Art Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis, 09/25/1957 - 10/22/1957; Society of Fine Arts, Minneapolis, 11/01/1957 - 12/01/1957

Unidentified Exhibition, University of Georgia, 1958, University of Georgia, Athens, 01/01/1958 - 03/15/1958

French Art of the 19th Century, Symphony Hall, Boston, 03/24/1959 - 04/24/1959

Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings from the Fogg Art Museum, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 05/08/1967 - 06/11/1967

Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 10/12/1967 - 12/03/1967

Color in Art: A Tribute to Arthur Pope, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/25/1974 - 06/16/1974

Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977

Modern Art at Harvard, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/21/1985 - 01/05/1986

Frederic Bazille: Prophet of Impressionism, Musée Fabre, Montpellier, 07/11/1992 - 10/04/1992

Modern Art at Harvard, Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo, 07/31/1999 - 09/26/1999; Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Kagawa, 10/09/1999 - 11/14/1999; Matsuzakaya Art Museum, Nagoya, 12/02/1999 - 12/27/1999; Oita City Museum, Oita, 01/06/2000 - 02/06/2000; Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki, Ibaraki, 02/11/2000 - 03/26/2000

Impressionism: Painting Quickly in France, 1860-1890, National Gallery, London, 11/01/2000 - 01/08/2001; Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, 03/02/2001 - 05/20/2001

32Q: 2100 19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 07/14/2016; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/11/2017 - 01/01/2050

Monet: The Early Years, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 10/16/2016 - 01/29/2017; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 02/25/2017 - 05/29/2017

Subjects and Contexts

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Related Works

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