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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

“La Gare Saint-Lazare” by Claude Monet (Musée d’Orsay)

La Gare Saint-Lazare - Claude Monet

“La Gare Saint-Lazare” by Claude Monet

“La Gare Saint-Lazare” by Claude Monet is one of four surviving Monet paintings representing the interior of this train station. Monet depicted the Gare St-Lazare as an interior landscape, with smoke from the engines creating the same effect as clouds in the sky. After several years of painting in the countryside in Argenteuil, he turned to urban landscapes in Paris. Monet was diversifying his portfolio and competing with other painters of modern life. In this painting, Monet successfully captured the effects of light, movement, and clouds of steam in a modern urban setting.

During 1877, Monet had rented a small flat and a studio near the Gare St-Lazare where he created a series of paintings at St-Lazare Train Station. This series explored smoke and steam and the way that they affected colour and visibility. Monet investigated the effects of smoke and steam that were sometimes opaque and sometimes translucent in a modern urban Parisian milieu. Monet created the habit of repeatedly painted the same subject in different lighting conditions, at different times in the day, and through the various changes of weather and season. Monet began this process in the 1880s and continued until the end of his life in 1926.

Oscar-Claude Monet was a founder of French Impressionist painting, and the term “Impressionism” is derived from the title of his painting Impression, “soleil levant” or “Impression, Sunrise”, which was exhibited in 1874. Monet adopted a method of painting in which he painted the same scene many times to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons. Monet is known for having produced a series of paintings all versions of the same subject and perspective. Examples include his series of the “Valley of the Creuse” series and his famous series of “Haystacks” and “Water Lilies” paintings.

From 1883 Monet moved to Giverny, a small village on the Seine River about forty miles west of Paris. He bought a home in Giverny where he developed a garden landscape which included the lily ponds that would become the subjects of his best-known works. In 1899 he began painting the water lilies, first with a Japanese bridge as a central feature, and later in the series of large-scale paintings, with the water lilies as the main feature. This series occupied him for the last 20 years of his life.

Reflections

  • Which of Monet’s many series do you like best? Lilies, Giverny, Haystacks, Rouen Cathedral, Houses of Parliament, Railways, etc.?
  • Where trains and railways a subject worthy of Monet’s attention?
  • Are there any other impressionist artists who painted trains and railways?

Exploring Monet

The Gare St-Lazare

  • Title:              La Gare Saint-Lazare
  • Artist:            Claude Monet
  • Year:              1877
  • Medium:       Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: Height: 75 cm (29.5 in); Width: 105 cm (41.3 in)
  • Museum:      Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Claude Monet

~~~

“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand,
as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.”

– Claude Monet

~~~


Photo Credit: 1) Claude Monet [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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