Were There Claude Monet Paintings On The Titanic?

The tragic Titanic accident was one of the most fateful boating accidents. When you watch the famous Hollywood movie Titanic, one of the main stars, Rose (Kate Winslet), has an extensive art collection on the Titanic with her, including some paintings by Claude Monet.

On the actual Titanic ship, there is no evidence that any paintings by Claude Monet were lost when the Titanic sank into the depths of the sea. The most valuable insurance claim for the sinking of the Titanic was for a painting called La Circassienne au Bain (1814) By Merry-Joseph Blondel.

No Claude Monet Paintings Were Lost On The Titanic

The RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that White Star Line operated, a shipping company based out of England. The Titanic was said to be a vessel that was so well-built that it was utterly unsinkable.

On the Titanic’s maiden voyage on 15 April 1912 from Southampton, United Kingdom, to New York City in the United States, the Titanic struck an iceberg which caused the ship to sink. Of the estimated 2,224 passengers and crew on board, only 710 survived, or more than 1,500 died; the Titanic was one of the largest peacetime sinkings of a superliner or cruise ship.

When the titanic left the harbor, of the 1300 passengers, about 319 were in first-class cabins. Those passengers brought on board with them their jewelry, art, and even motorcars.

When the Titanic sank, not only did the passengers lose their life, but all the cargo was also lost. There were no Claude Monet paintings on the Titanic, but a painting called La Circassienne au Bain (1814) by Merry-Joseph Blondel.

La Circassienne au Bain (1814) By Merry-Joseph Blondel Was Lost On The Titanic.

La Circassienne au Bain, 1814
Painting by Merry-Joseph Blondel (Reproduced copy)

La Circassienne au Bain, an early 19th-century oil painting by French Salon master Merry-Joseph Blondel, sank on the Titanic’s fatal voyage in 1912. The painting was brought on board the Titanic by Mauritz Hakan Bjornstorm-Stefansson, a 29-year-old Swedish wood pulp heir.

On the fateful day of 15 April 1912, Bjornstrom- Stefansson was in the smoking class lounge with Hugh Woolner when the iceberg struck the ship. The two went on deck and started to help others into the lifeboats just as the boat was ready to be who wholly submerged; they jumped onto one of the last lifeboats.

Titanic survivors heaped tons of insurance claims on White Star Line, the owners of the Titanic. Bjornstrom-Steffansson filed a claim for the lost painting for $100,000 (over $2,5 million in today’s dollars); his claim was the largest of the other claims brought by the Titanic survivors.

We do not know how much he got for the painting, but as the White Line Star settled the claims for less than the actual claim amounts, we doubt he received the total amount for his claim, probably about 65% of what he asked for.

The painting was not the only valuable thing lost on the Titanic. There was also a signed portrait of Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi and a bejeweled edition of the Rubaiyat, a Persian book of poetry dating to the 11th Century. But the La Circassienne au Bain painting was the single largest claim for the entire 6 million (about 130 million today) of the claims made to the White Star Line for the loss of the Titanic.

About La Circassienne au Bain (1814) By Merry-Joseph Blonde

Merry-Joseph Blondel, 1809
By His Friend Ingres

La Circassienne au Bain was painted by Merry-Joseph Blondel in 1814. Merry-Joseph Blondel was born in Paris in 1781. From an early age, he showed great promise with art and received many awards and commissions.

Blondel was known to work on the decorations of the Versailles, the Louvre, and Fontainebleau. Blondel’s artwork was French Neoclassical and included elegant court portraits and historical and mythological scenes.

Blondel was known for his great attention to detail, lush colors, idealized human anatomy, and dynamic movement.

The painting La Circassienne au Bain has become famous over the last Century partly because it vanished in one of the world’s most famous fateful voyages.

In his insurance claim to White Star Line, Bjronstrom-Stefansson said that the painting was 8 feet by 4 feet, but he did not specify if this included the frame and crate or the painting canvas only. This size was not standardized, so most people believe the canvas size was about 6 feet 5 inches by 4 feet and 3 inches (195 cm by 130 cm).

In 2013, a British artist using the pseudonym of John Parker researched the painting and decided to reproduce a copy of the La Circassienne au Bain. In 2016 the reproduction of the La Circassienne au Bain was auctioned and sold for $3,500.

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Anita Louise Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Louise Hummel. I am an artist and a blogger. I paint mainly oil paints. I love to paint women, animals (mainly dogs and cats), and abstracts. I use a lot of gold and silver leaf in my paintings. I also love to blog about anything to do with art, business, Procreate, and all the wonderful artists that inspire me.

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Were There Claude Monet Paintings On The Titanic?