Monet made this work in the vicinity of his home in Argenteuil, a village on the Seine northwest of Paris that was a favorite gathering place of the Impressionists. Although the scene has previously been called Plum Blossoms and Apples Trees in Bloom, the type of tree cannot be determined from the flurry of white buds evoked by the artist. The pastel shades of spring and the clear light inspired him to represent nature almost purely in terms of color. This was the first painting by Monet to enter the Museum’s collection, via bequest in 1926.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): 73 Claude Monet·
[Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York, ?bought from the artist, December 1873, as "Printemps"; sold 1888 to Fuller]; William H. Fuller, New York (1888–d. 1902; posthumous estate sale, American Art Association, New York, March 13, 1903, no. 151, as "Apple Blossoms," for $2,100 to Knoedler); [Knoedler, New York, from 1903]; Mary Livingston Willard, New York (by 1907–d. 1926)
New York. Union League Club. "Paintings by Old Masters, and Modern Foreign and American Painters, together with an Exhibition of the Work of Claude Monet the Impressionist," February 12–14, 1891, no. 55 (as "Plum Blossoms," lent by W. H. Fuller).
New York. Lotus Club. "Pictures by Claude Monet," January 1899, no. 19 (as "Plum Blossoms," lent by W. H. Fuller).
Winnipeg Art Gallery. "European and American Paintings," January 21–February 17, 1951, no catalogue.
Staten Island Institute of Arts & Sciences. "Picture of the Month," May 2–30, 1952, no catalogue.
New York. American Federation of the Arts. "A Landscape View of 19th Century France (circulating exhibition)," September 1, 1954–1957, no catalogue?
Little Rock. Arkansas Arts Center. "Five Centuries of European Painting," May 16–October 26, 1963, unnumbered cat. (p. 45, as "Apple Trees in Bloom").
Hagerstown, Md. Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. "40th Anniversary Exhibition," September 1–October 1, 1971, no. 4.
Art Institute of Chicago. "Claude Monet, 1840–1926," July 22–November 26, 1995, no. 31.
P. H. "L'Exposition de Monet à l'Union League Club, New York." L'Art dans les Deux Mondes no. 15 (February 28, 1891), p. 173.
"W. H. Fuller's Monets Sold, Only $31,400 Paid for the Eleven Pictures." Sun 70 (March 14, 1903), p. 2.
Marthe de Fels. La Vie de Claude Monet. Paris, 1929, p. 234.
Stephen Gwynn. Claude Monet and His Garden: The Story of an Artist's Paradise. New York, 1934.
Oscar Reuterswärd. Monet. Stockholm, 1948, p. 282, includes this picture with those Monet painted at Argenteuil.
Luigina Rossi Bortolatto. L'opera completa di Claude Monet, 1870–1889. Milan, 1966, pp. 93–94, no. 75, ill.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 3, XIX–XX Centuries. New York, 1967, p. 128, ill.
Douglas Cooper. "The Monets in the Metropolitan Museum." Metropolitan Museum Journal 3 (1970), pp. 287–88, 290, 302–3, 305, fig. 7, calls it "fresh, airy, and charming but in no sense a major or characteristically personal work".
John Rewald. "The Impressionist Brush." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 32, no. 3 (1973/1974), pp. 24–25, no. 15, ill. (color detail).
Daniel Wildenstein. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. Vol. 1, 1840–1881: Peintures. Lausanne, 1974, pp. 65, 230–31, no. 271, ill., tentatively identifies it with a picture sold by Monet to Durand-Ruel in December 1873.
Tetsuro Miura and Chuji Ikegami. Mone [Monet]. Tokyo, 1977, unpaginated, fig. 23 (color).
Robert Herbert. "Method and Meaning in Monet." Art in America 67 (September 1979), p. 108.
Frances Weitzenhoffer. "The Earliest American Collectors of Monet." Aspects of Monet. Ed. John Rewald and Frances Weitzenhoffer. New York, 1984, p. 80.
Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 9–10, 116–17, 252, ill. (color).
Daniel Wildenstein. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. Vol. 4, 1899–1926: Peintures. Lausanne, 1985, p. 1 n. 7.
Charles F. Stuckey, ed. Monet: A Retrospective. New York, 1985, colorpl. 28.
Richard Kendall, ed. Monet by Himself. London, 1989, ill. p. 70 (color).
Charles F. Stuckey. Claude Monet, 1840–1926. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1995, pp. 220, 231, no. 31, ill. p. 54 (color).
Daniel Wildenstein. Monet. Vol. 2, Catalogue raisonné–Werkverzeichnis: Nos. 1–968. 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, pp. 116–17, no. 271, ill. (color).
Daniel Wildenstein. Monet or the Triumph of Impressionism. Vol. 1, 2nd ed. Cologne, 1996, p. 103.
Eric M. Zafran inClaude Monet (1840–1926): A Tribute to Daniel Wildenstein and Katia Granoff. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, 2007, pp. 94, 126.