Art is divine

Brothers of Art

by Alessandra Cenna



Until July 16, 2023 



Camille Pissarro- The Stone Bridge and the barges in Rouen, 1863,

Oil on canvas 54,2 x 65 

The Columbus Museum of Art Columbus USA 

© Columbus Museum of Art .

Claude Monet - Portrait of Léon Monet  

1874 Oil on canvas, 63 x 52, 

Private collection

Claude Monet - Flowering Garden at Saint Address, circa 1866 Oil on canvas,

Musée d'Orsay Paris found in Germany after the Second World War and entrusted to the Guard of the National Museums,

1949, deposited at the Musée Fabre Montpellier.

© Rmn Grand Palais ( musée d’Orsay) Hervé Lewandowski 


The Musée du Luxembourg in Paris is devoting, until the end of July, an unprecedented exhibition to Léon Monet (1836-1917), the older and little-known brother of Claude Monet (1840-1926).


A color chemist, industrialist from Rouen, owner of a pigment factory and above all a collector, he was the first patron of the Impressionists.

The exhibition shows around thirty major works by Claude and his painter friends, but also those less known by painters from the School of Rouen alongside a collection of 17 Japanese prints.


The industrial city of Rouen at the time also features prominently with its pigments developed for the textile industry, color charts and color recipes.


The intimacy of the bond between the two brothers appears in a new light thanks to this association of paintings and correspondence which testifies to their shared love for color and their fabulous artistic intuition.


From the first room, the scenography by Huber Le Gall highlights the two brothers with their large portraits, their loved ones and the landscapes in which they grew up.

Claude Monet - General view of Rouen, 1892, Oil on canvas, 65 x 100 cm Rouen Musée des Beaux Arts de Rouen 

© Rmn Grand Palais Michèle Bellot 


The images of the seaside in Le Havre with the works of Claude's youth set the scene for this journey to the heart of their relationship. In 1874, Claude Monet broke all the rules of academic painting and caused a scandal with his painting “Impression, soleil levant”. The same year, he produced the only portrait of his brother Léon.

Very elegant with his frock coat adorned with a watch chain and a pin, the large white collar of his upturned shirt, the knotted tie and the bowler hat, Léon appears as a man of temperament, who for more than sixty years has helped and supported his brother's artistic career. His power and strength of character clearly make him an important man in his social life as well as in the place he occupies as patron and knowledgeable collector of Sisley, Pissarro and Renoir. His support was essential for the young Impressionists whom he encouraged to participate in exhibitions and whose canvases he loved to show from his collection to his visitors, amateurs and art critics. Following Léon, the Rouen industrialist François Depeaux will also collect hundreds of Impressionist works. Léon will buy all his paintings directly from the painters through his brother and will never go through the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel.


Leon's commitment was decisive in launching his brother's career, this fraternal collaboration is reminiscent of the unwavering attachment and unconditional support of the Van Gogh brothers in a less tormented version.


A very beautiful highlighting of the palette of the heart in its blood ties... 


Claude Monet - Anglais à la Moustache, 

vers 1857 crayon sur papier gris avec rehauts de gouache, 

papier 24 x 16 

Collection particulière 

“Color is my daily obsession, my joy, my torment.”

Claude Monet

Berthe Morisot - Petites Dalles Beach, 1873 Oil on canvas 24,13 X 50, 17 cm Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Richmond Etats Unis 

© Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Photo Kaherine Wetzel