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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

“Garden at Sainte-Adresse” by Claude Monet

"Garden at Sainte-Adresse" by Claude Monet

“Garden at Sainte-Adresse” by Claude Monet

“Garden at Sainte-Adresse” by Claude Monet was painted in the summer of 1867 at the resort town of Sainte-Adresse on the English Channel, near Le Havre, France. Monet depicted a garden with a view of Honfleur which is located on the southern bank of the estuary of the Seine across from Le Havre. Monet combines smooth, traditional rendering with sparkling passages of rapid, separate brushwork, and spots of pure colour.

The figures are assumed to be family members consisting of Monet’s father, Monet’s cousins and their father. Although the scene projects a comfortable family setting, Monet’s relations with his father were tense that summer because his father disapproved of Monet’s liaison with Camille Doncieux. Camille became pregnant and gave birth to their first child, Jean, in 1867. Monet and Camille married in 1870.

The composition’s flat horizontal bands of colour are reminiscent of Japanese colour woodblock prints. There is a print by the Japanese artist Hokusai that may have inspired this picture. The Japanese print remained part of Monet’s personal collection to the end of his life. Japanese colour woodblock prints were avidly collected and studied by Monet and other artists of the time like Manet, Renoir and Whistler.

The elevated perspective and relatively even horizontal areas emphasise the two-dimensionality of the painting. The composition seems to rise parallel to the picture plane instead of receding into space. The tension from the combination of illusion and the two-dimensionality of the surface is an essential characteristic of this artwork.

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

  • Can you see the Japanese woodblock print influence in this painting?
  • Rejected by the Salon, was this painting a vital step towards Monet’s Impressionism?
  • The Salon rejected this work, and it was not shown until the fourth Impressionist exhibition more than ten years later.

Garden at Sainte-Adresse

  • Title:              Garden at Sainte-Adresse
  • French:          Terrasse à Sainte-Adresse
  • Artist:             Claude Monet
  • Year:              1867
  • Medium:        Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:   Height: 98.1 cm (38.6 ″); Width: 129.9 cm (51.1 ″)
  • Museum:        Metropolitan Museum of Art – MET

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.

Explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art

MET European Paintings Collection

MET Modern and Contemporary Art Collection

MET Greek and Roman Art Collection

MET Egyptian Art Collection

MET Asian Art Collection

MET Ancient Near Eastern Art Collection

MET American Wing Collection

MET Islamic Art Collection

MET Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas Collection

MET European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Collection

MET Medieval Art Collection

MET Drawings and Prints Collection

MET Costume Institute Collection

MET Arms and Armor Collection

MET Photograph Collection

MET Musical Instrument Collection

~~~

“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]

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