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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Claude Monet and impressionism


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Claude Monet


Claude Monet (1840-1926) was a French painter best known for his contributions to impressionism. Art historian Robert L. Herbert said,


"The Bridge at Argenteuil... is on the best examples of early mature impressionism, in which the brushwork varies according to the image being created: blended mixtures for clear water, choppy aggregates for reflections, wide dragged horizontals for boat hulls, streaky verticals for masts, finely bunched diagonals and swirls for foliage, curved and irregular dabs for clouds." (Impressionism: Art, Leisure and Parisian Society, 1988)


The rest of this post is some quotes from Monet.


Love for nature


"Thus it was, that Boudin - with his inexhaustible kindness - took it upon himself to educate me. With time, my eyes began to open and I really started to understand nature. I also learned to love it. I would analyze its forms with my pencil. I would study its colorations." (Interview with Thiebault-Sisson, 1900)


"It is beautiful here [Etretat, Normandy], my friend; every day I discover even more beautiful things. It is intoxicating me, and I want to paint it all - my head is bursting..." (Letter to Frederic Bazille, 1864)


"There are the most amusing things everywhere [in The Netherlands]. Houses of every color, hundreds of windmills and enchanting boats, extremely friendly Dutchmen who almost all speak French." (Letter to Camille Pissarro, 1871)


"It took me a long time to understand my water lilies... I planted them for pleasure, and grew them without thinking of painting them... You don't absorb a landscape in a day... And then, all of a sudden, I had the revelation of the enchantment of my pond. I took up my palette." (Quoted in Monet's Water Lilies by Vivian Russell)




"I want to paint the air in which the bridge, the house and the boat are to be found - the beauty of the air around them, and that is nothing less than the impossible." (Interview with Paul Hayes Tucker in 1895)


"For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life - the air and the light which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value." (Quoted in European and American Paintings and Sculptures by Lloyd and Desmond)




"All this proves that one must only think about this. It is by force of observation and reflection that one finds. So lets us grind away and grind away constantly." (Letter to Frederic Bazille, 1864)


"...put aside your cliques and your claques, and come spend a couple of weeks here, it would be the best thing that you could do, because in Paris it cannot be very easy to work." (Letter to Frederic Bazille, 1864)


"One is too taken up with all that one sees and hears in Paris, however strong one is, and what I do here will at least have the merit of being unlike anyone else, at least I believe so, because it will simply be the expression of what I, and only I have felt. (Letter to Frederic Bazille, 1868)