Meet the Masters
MONET, CLAUDE (moh-NAY, KLOAD) (1840-1928)
BEACH AT TROUVILLE WADSWORTH ATHENEUM HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT
Impressionism Date: 1870 Size: 20 1/2” x 23 1/4” Medium: Oil on Canvas
ARTIST - Claude Monet, the leader of the Impressionist movement, was born in Paris. His father was a grocer. The family moved to Le Havre on the coast of Normandy where Monet spent his youth. Here, his interest in light, water and atmosphere became intense. Monet loved to work outdoors and to paint directly from the environment. Between 1865 and 1871, he developed the luminous style associated with Impressionism.
For years Monet knew horrible poverty. To read his letters is to understand a life of hardship and hunger. It never occurred to him to put down his brushes and earn money for his family by some other means. When his son was born in 1867, he wrote, "Camille has given birth to a fine big boy...I am tortured knowing that his mother has nothing to eat." About 1900, he received the fame that was so rightfully his. When he died in 1928 the Premier of France gave the eulogy. The Premier ordered that the coffin be draped in brilliant colors instead of the traditional black, because of Monet's love of color and light.
PRINT - Monet studied with a fine outdoor landscape painter, Eugene Boudin, and learned the basics of realistic painting. His early work, Beach at Trouville, reflects this training but also shows a fascination with light. Monet, introduces light by using a high key (white added to colors) palette, particularly in the beach boardwalk and architectural details. In the foreground, rather then copy all the textures, he uses flat patches of color. The darker masses on the left give the painting a feeling of heavy visual weight. This was a device Monet used often in his early outdoor paintings to give his unbalanced compositions a sense of balance.
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