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    This painting, Femme cueillant des Fleurs (Woman picking flowers) depicts Camille Monet, first wife of Claude Monet, who died young.  The work by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) features at The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) at Maastricht. It is being sold through Dickinson by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in the United States in order to strengthen other areas of its collection.
    Important early Impressionist paintings are increasingly rare on the market. This one is a poignant reminder of a story of fierce jealousy involving Monet’s first and second wives. Camille Doncieux was 18 years old when Monet met her in 1865. She became his lover and the model for a number of  works in these early years. Monet’s father refused to accept her into the family because of her humble origins. Despite this the couple married in 1870.
    The lifelong friendship between Monet and Renoir was at its closest between 1866 and 1875. The two men often painted together. Camille was depicted in a number of their paintings including Femme cueillant des Fleurs, which dates from this period in the development of Impressionism.  A year after Renoir painted this picture, Camille became ill and in 1879 she died aged 32 , her already poor health worsened by the recent birth of her second son Michel.
    Monet’s second wife Alice Hoschedé destroyed all the material that she could find relating to Camille. Only one photograph survived the purge.
    TEFAF runs at Maastricht in The Netherlands from March 18-27.
    See posts for January 6 and Janaury 13.

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