Claude Monet, French, 1840 - 1926
oil on canvas
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Donald D. Harrington
© Phoenix Art Museum. Photo by Ken Howie.
North Wing, Second Floor, 17th century Northern European
Monet is considered by art historians to be the quintessential Impressionist. One of his earlier paintings gave the movement its name when the art critic, Louis LeRoi, referred to Impression: Sunrise, 1872, as not a painting, but an impression.
Monet painted out-of-doors on an unprimed canvas. He depicted a subject as the eye perceives it in a given moment in time, not as clarified by the artist. His use of short brushstrokes and a rich impasto (heavy laying-on of paint) give this work a textural quality. The artist achieved a shimmering effect by placing contrasting colors next to each other like red and green, each intensifying the other. Notice the lack of a horizon line. Monet was revising the way a landscape should appear.
In 1883, Monet moved forty miles from Paris, to Giverny, where he would live for the next forty years. He developed a large flower garden in front of his house and excavated the famous pond that would be the source of his water lily paintings. This painting is one of a small series done late in the artist's life at Giverny. He had done several series showing the same subject matter at different times of day, moving his easel with the changing light and weather conditions.