The birth of Impressionism can now be dated to a precise time: 7.35am on 13 November 1872. New research has identified when Claude Monet painted Impression, Soleil Levant (impression, rising sun), which gave the artistic movement its name. Evidence for the new dating will be presented next month in an exhibition at the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, which owns the picture (18 September-18 January 2015).
Until now, it has been unclear whether Impression, Soleil Levant was painted in 1872 or 1873. Monet dated it next to his signature as “72”, but the Wildenstein catalogue raisonné re-dated it to 1873, arguing that the artist worked in Le Havre that spring. The hazy nature of the Impressionist scene has made it difficult to determine the topography of the harbour view, but this was essential to establish the date.