About This Artwork

Edgar Degas
French, 1834-1917

Landscape with Smokestacks, c. 1890

Pastel, over monotype, on textured cream wove paper, edge-mounted on board
317 x 416 mm
Stamped with estate stamp, lower left, in red ink

Purchased from the collection of Friedrich and Louise Gutmann, and gift of Daniel C. Searle, 1998.915

Degas is best known for his images of the ballet and other scenes from modem urban life. However, periodically he explored the landscape genre, with a trip in 1869 to the Normandy Coast, for example, that resulted in a number of pastel landscapes. During the peak years of Impressionism-the 1870s and 1880s, when landscape reigned supreme among France's avant-garde-Degas was notoriously averse to the practice of open-air landscape painting. Yet in the 1890s, he produced several groups of landscapes, combining observation and invention in various ways. The artist's renewed interest was prompted by a trip he took he took through Burgundy in 1890 that inspired him to treat its landscape using the technique of monotype. A monotype is made by painting or drawing an image in greasy printer 's ink on a metal plate and then printing the plate onto a sheet of paper. Only one strong impression can usually be pulled from the plate; on occasion, a second, paler impression known as a monotype cognate can be pulled as well. Degas sometimes completed pastels over monotypes or monotype, cognates, as in Landscape with Smokestacks. He pioneered this technique in the 1870s. He began some of his monotypes on the spot, while others-possibly Landscape with Smokestacks-were recollections. Certainly, Degas's aim in such compositions was quite different from his colleague Claude Monet's preoccupation with changing atmospheric effects. While rooted in experience, Degas's landscapes of memory are brooding and mysterious.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

New York, Finch College Museum, “French Landscape Paintings from Four Centuries,” October 20, 1965-January 9, 1966, cat. 39.

Cambridge, Mass, Fogg Art Museum, “Degas Monotypes,” April 25-June 14, 1968, n.p., cat. 68 (ill.), checklist no. 277 (ill.).

Providence, R.I., Rhode Island School of Design, The Museum of Art, “From the Age of David to the Age of Picasso: French Drawings from a Private Collection," 1984, pp. 34-36, cat. 11 (ill.).

New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Degas Landscapes," January 21-April 3, 1994, cat. 40, fig. 130; traveled to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, April 24-July 3, 1994.

Vienna, Albertina, "Impressionism: Pastels, Watercolors, Drawings", February 9 - May 13, 2012, p. 113, 128, pl. 46, cat. by Christopher Lloyd.

The Art Institute of Chicago, "Degas: At the Track, On the Stage", July 1, 2015-February 26, 2016, first half of installation, no cat.

Publication History

P.A. Lemoisne, Degas et son oeuvre, vol. III (Paris, 1946), p. 614, no. 1054 (ill.).

Finch College Museum of Art, French Landscape Painters from Four Centuries (New York, 1966), no. 39

Jean Adhémar and Françoise Cachin, Edgar Degas: gravures et monotypes (Paris, 1973), p. LXVIII.

Jean Adhémar and Françoise Cachin, Degas: The Complete Etchings, Lithographs and Monotypes (New York, 1974), p. 283.

Fiorella Minervino, Tout l'œuvre peint de Degas (Paris 1974), pp.129, no. 966 (ill.).

Deborah J. Johnson and Eric M. Zafran, From the Age of David to the Age of Picasso: French Drawings from a Private Collection (Providence, 1984), pp. 34-36, no. 11

Jacques Lassaigne and Fiorella Minervino, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Degas, trans. by Simone Darses (Paris, 1988), p. 129, no. 966 (ill.).

Howard Trienens, Landscape With Smokestacks: The Case of the Allegedly Plundered Degas (Evanston, Ill., 2000).

Nancy H. Yeide, Konstantin Akinsha, Amy L. Walsh, The AAM Guide to Provenance Research (Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums, 2001), pp. 105-107 (ill.).

Simon Goodman, The Orpheus Clock: The Search for My Family's Art Treasures Stolen by the Nazis (Scribner, 2015).

Jodi Hauptman, et. al, A Strange New Beauty, (Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2016), p.102-103.

Ownership History

Estate of the artist, from 1917 [stamp (Lugt 658), lower left in red]; sold, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, July 2–4 1919, lot 45. Nunes et Fiquet, Paris [Lemoisne 1946]. L. Wolff, Hamburg [Paris 1932 auc. cat.]. Unidentified private collector, to 1932 [Although the 1932 auction included the Simon and Silberberg collections, it remains unclear who owned this specific lot. It could have been Simon, Silberberg, or an unknown third party.]; sold, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, June 9, 1932, lot 5, to Dr. Helmut Lutjens, the Director of the Amsterdam branch of Paul Cassirer, for Friedrich and Louise Gutmann, Heemstede, Holland [annotated sale catalogue obtained from Walter Feilchenfeldt]; sent by Friedrich Gutmann to Paul Graupe, Paris, 1939; sent to the Wacker-Bondy storage facility on the Boulevard Raspail, by 1945 [letter from Arthur Goldschmidt of Paul Graupe to Friedrich Gutmann]. Hans Wendland, Paris, to his brother-in-law, Hans Fritz Fankhauser, Basel [Janis 1968]; sold by Hans Fritz Fankhauser to Emile Wolf, New York, 1951 [Janis 1968]; sold by Emile Wolf, through Margo Pollins Schab, New York, to Daniel Searle, Winnetka, Ill., 1987; given by Daniel Searle and sold by the Goodman (formerly Gutmann) family to the Art Institute, 1998.

Interpretive Resources

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