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Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

“Wheatstacks, Snow Effect, Morning” by Claude Monet

"Wheatstacks, Snow Effect, Morning" by Claude Monet
“Wheatstacks, Snow Effect, Morning”

by Claude Monet

“Wheatstacks, Snow Effect, Morning” by Claude Monet is part of a series of stacks of harvested wheat. The series consists of twenty-five canvas which Monet began near the end of the summer of 1890 and though Monet also produced earlier paintings using this same stack subject. The impressionist series is famous for how Monet repeated the same theme to show the differing light and atmosphere at different times of day, across the seasons and in many types of weather. Monet’s Haystacks series is one of his earliest to rely on repetition of a subject to illustrate a subtle difference in colour perception across variations of times of day, seasons, and weather.

Monet settled in Giverny in 1883 and most of his paintings from then until his death 40 years later were of scenes within 3 kilometres (2 mi) of his home. Monet was intensely aware of and fascinated by the visual nuances of the region’s landscape and by the endless variations in the days and the seasons. Monet’s painted various subjects in series under different lights and seasons focused on depictions of atmospheric influences.

Monet became increasingly fascinated by the seasonal effects and the colour harmonies. Monet’s subject matter was carefully chosen and was the product of thought and analysis. Monet undertook to capture the Haystacks in direct sunlight and then to explore in his art the same viewpoint in the various light and atmospheric conditions. Sometimes Monet would search of harmonious transitions within the series and alter the canvases back in his studio. For Monet, the concept of producing and exhibiting a series of paintings related by subject and vantage point began in 1889, and his interest in the serial motif continued for the rest of his career.

Claude Monet

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 lived in Giverny, where at his home, 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

  • “The light constantly changes, and that alters the atmosphere and beauty of things every minute.” – Claude Monet
  • Which is your favourite painting of the Haystacks series?
  • Which is your favourite Monet series?
    • The Houses of Parliament
    • Water Lilies
    • Valley of the Creuse
    • Haystacks
    • Grand Canal, Venice
    • Rouen Cathedral

Wheatstacks, Snow Effect, Morning

  • Title:              Wheatstacks, Snow Effect, Morning
  • Artist:             Claude Monet
  • Year:               1891
  • Medium:        Oil on canvas
  • Museum:       Getty Museum

Claude Monet

Claude Monet – Interesting Facts

  • Monet was Paris-born but was raised on the Normandy Coast.
  • Monet began drawing as a young boy, sketching his teachers and neighbours.
  • Monet had an estranged relationship with his father. His father did not support his artistic passion and was unwilling to help him financially.
  • In 1858, Monet met Eugène Boudin. Boudin became his mentor, and encouraged him to paint “en plain air.”
  • In 1861, Monet was drafted into the army and join the First Regiment of African Light Cavalry, he served in Algeria, a territory that was then controlled by France.
  • Monet lived in Argenteuil from 1871 to 1878, where he was drawn to the natural beauty, and he painted 170 canvases during his time in Argenteuil.
  • For the year of the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874, Monet painted the Argenteuil Bridge seven times.
  • Japanese art fascinated Monet, attending a Japanese exhibition in the 1890s. He amassed a collection of more than 200 Japanese prints over the years.
  • France’s traditional art institutions were not fans of the Monet’s style. The saw his style as “casual” and “incomplete.”
  • His style focused on perception, capturing outdoor scenes by using rapid brush strokes.
  • In his late 20s, Monet was depressed and struggling to support himself and his family financially, Monet jumped off a bridge in 1868. Fortunately, he survived his fall.
  • Monet destroyed hundreds of his works due to bouts of frustration and self-doubt.
  • Monet was baptised Catholic, but he went on to become an atheist.
  • Monet disliked traditional art schools. So he became a student of Swiss artist Charles Gleyre. It was here that Monet met Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Frederic Bazille and Alfred Sisley.
  • With the younger artists,  Monet explored new approaches to art like distinctive brush strokes and accurate depiction of light and unusual visual angles.
  • Outdoor painting was critical in developing his style. He created a series of pictures where he explored the effects of rain, mist, smoke, and steam on landscapes and objects.
  • The term “Impressionism” was used as a derogatory label in a critical review of artists who used the Impressionists style; it was borrowed from Monet’s painting title called “Impression: Sunrise.”
  • Monet claimed that he titled the painting Impression, Sunrise due to his hazy painting style in his depiction of the subject.
  • In his most famous series of twenty-six views of Rouen Cathedral, he broke tradition and cropped the Cathedral views, so that only a portion of the facade is seen on the canvas.
  • Monet’s favourite model was his first wife, Camille Doncieux. She appeared in around 32 paintings.
  • Monet’s second wife, Alice Hoschedé, was irrationally jealous of his first wife who had died.
  • Monet suffered from cataracts in his later years.
  • In 1883, Monet moved to the small village in Giverny and spent ten years building the water garden where he painted perhaps his most famous works.
  • As Monet’s garden expanded, he hired six gardeners to tend to it.
  • One gardener’s job was to paddle a boat onto the pond each morning, washing and dusting each lily pad.
  • Monet’s series of Water Lilies consists of about 250 oil paintings which were painted during the last thirty years of his life.
  • Monet’s famous Japanese bridge over his Giverny pond remains to this day at his home in Giverny.
  • For the last 25 years of his life, Monet painted the water lilies in a series of paintings that water lilies in different light and textures.
  • In 1926, Monet died of lung cancer, at the age of 86.
  • Monet is buried in the Giverny church cemetery.
  • In 1980, his former home in Giverny was opened to tourists to see his gardens, woodcut prints, and souvenirs.
  • Monet’s Giverny garden, bedroom, studio, and blue sitting-room are open for tours.

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“I can only draw what I see.”
– Claude Monet

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

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