Claude Monet Paintings 1861-1874

Claude Monet painted The Artist's House at in 1873. See more pictures of Monet paintings.

As an art student in Paris, Claude Monet studied the skills an aspiring painter needed to compete for coveted exhibition space at the annual Salon. The government-sponsored exhibition was the only respected venue for contemporary art. By showing works in the official Salon, a young artist could build a reputation and attract notice in the press as well as interest collectors in his work.

But the jury that selected the works for exhibition had strict and often old-fashioned standards, making it difficult for a young artist with new ideas to find an audience for his work. Monet made his debut at Salon in 1865, and his work established him as a marine painter able to render the motion of the waves, the volatile sky, and the brilliant quality of light on the water.

Monet Image Gallery

But Monet also responded to another innovative development in the Parisian art world. In works such as Dejeuner sur l'herbe (1866) and Women at the Garden at Ville d'Avray (1866-1867), Monet painted his friends in their fashionable attire, enjoying the pleasures of Paris in the open air. Working outdoors allowed Monet to observe the fugitive effects of light. He adopted a high-keyed palette of brilliant colors, often applied as pure unmixed pigment straight from the tube, as seen in the vivid red, sparkling blues, and cool greens he used in Garden at Sainte-Adresse (1867). His desire to capture the widest range of atmospheric effects inspired him to work outdoors in every type of weather, and, in The Magpie (1868), he explored the subtle tonal variation of low winter light on snow-covered ground.

But the greatest challenge he faced was to express what he called "instantaneity" -- the specific but fleeting appearance of light on a surface in a single moment. He developed a technique that was swift, deft, and spontaneous, using color rather than line and shadow to create forms in space.

Whether painting his wife and son in their garden, the mists and fog over the River Thames, or boats bobbing on the water near the banks of the Seine, the sensations of nature were the sole inspiration of Monet's art.

  • Corner of the Studio: In Corner of the Studio, Monet traded his usual nature scenes for a look at the gear commonly found in an artist's studio.
  • Rue de la Bavolle, Honfleur: This painting captures the streets of Honfleur, a haven for marine painters.
  • Dejeuner sur l'herbe: In this ambitious masterwork, Monet shows figures in contemporary dress enjoying an outdoor setting.
  • Women at the Garden at Ville d'Avray: Monet continued to show modern figures on a grand scale in Women at the Garden at Ville d'Avray.
  • Garden at Sainte-Adresse: In Garden at Sainte-Adresse, Monet captures motion and color in addition to his family members relaxing on a terrace.
  • On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt: Monet explored light and reflection in this piece to capture the mood of the setting.
  • The Magpie: In this snowy, stark painting, Monet showcases the bright whites and striking contrasts of a wintry scene.
  • The Red Kerchief: Portrait of Mrs. Monet: This painting, completed in Argenteuil, shows Monet's desire to capture the simple pleasures of his private life.
  • La Grenouillere: In La Grenouillere, Monet once again shows himself to be a master of portraying the complexities of water using oil and canvas.
  • Landscape Near Zaandam: Landscape Near Zaandam shows a serene marine scene in Holland, where Monet's family made an extended visit.
  • Regatta at Argenteuil: Like many of Monet's paintings from this period, Regatta at Argenteuil shows familiar subjects found in the town of Argenteuil.
  • Impression Sunrise (1872): With this striking painting of a blood-red setting sun, Monet gave a name to the Impressionist movement.
  • Jean Monet on His Hobby Horse: Monet often painted members of his family, as in this informal portrait of his young son.
  • The Artist's House at Argenteuil: Monet's house in Argenteuil was the setting for many of his paintings during this period of time; his garden was a lifelong passion and favorite painting subject.
  • Bridge at Argenteuil: The contemporary bridge at Argenteuil offended the sensibilities of some, but Monet didn't shy away from painting scenes of the world around him, whatever it might hold.
  • The Studio Boat: While living in Argenteuil, Monet used this converted boat both as a floating studio and as a subject with which to study light and reflection in his paintings.

Continue to the next page to see Corner of the Studio, a still life in which Monet shows us the tools of his trade.

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Corner of the Studio by Claude Monet

Claude Monet painted Corner of the Studio in 1861. In 1859 Monet moved to Paris to study painting. Rejecting the rigidity of conventional training, he enrolled in the Academie Suisse, a studio without a set curriculum where students could set their own schedules and paint from life models as well as exchange ideas.

While Monet painted outdoors at every opportunity, he also experimented with more traditional subjects, such as this still life that features objects commonly found in a studio.

For Monet's next work, he returned to the outdoors to paint the peaceful street scene found on the following page.

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Rue de la Bavolle, Honfleur by Claude Monet

Claude Monet's Rue de la Bavolle, Honfleur ( inches Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Claude Monet's Rue de la Bavolle, Honfleur ( inches Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Claude Monet painted Rue de la Bavolle, Honfleur in 1864. The coastal town Honfleur was a popular destination for marine painters. Monet traveled there with French artist Frederic Bazille in May 1864, and they set up their easels together along the coast, on the sea cliffs, and in the adjacent countryside.

Monet remained in Honfleur after Bazille returned to Paris. In the fall, Monet painted two versions of the volatile play of light and shadow on the village street in the lowering autumnal sun.

For Monet, capturing the intricacies of natural light was an important part of his paintings, as shown in Dejeuner sur l'herbe on the next page.

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Dejeuner sur l'herbe by Claude Monet

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Claude Monet painted Dejeuner sur l'herbe in 1866. Monet's ambitious plan to paint a landscape with figures in contemporary dress enjoying a picnic in a beech wood was far too large to be painted outdoors.

He prepared a series of plein air studies to ensure an honest and immediate response to the natural setting and completed the work in his studio. The end result was daring, using the grand scale of history painting to present a scene of modern life bathed in natural light.

No longer content with having to paint on a large canvas indoors, Monet built a complex pulley system to create works en plein air, like the piece on the next page.

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Women at the Garden at Ville d'Avray by Claude Monet

Claude Monet's (100-3/4x81-7/8 inches housed at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
Claude Monet's (100-3/4x81-7/8 inches housed at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

Claude Monet completed Women at the Garden at Ville d'Avray in 1867. Determined to paint outdoors on a grand scale, Monet dug a trench and used a pulley to raise and lower this huge canvas of four women in a sun-drenched garden.

With the light dappling patterns on the women's fashionable gowns, the work expressed an urbane spirit, prompting French journalist Emile Zola to declare Monet had an exacting eye for contemporary life. Monet's partner, Camille, posed for the three figures on the left.

For his next work, Monet not only captured another beautiful outdoor scene, but also visible movement in Garden at Sainte-Adresse, shown on the following page.

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Garden at Sainte-Adresse by Claude Monet

Claude Monet's Garden at Sainte-Adresse (38-5/8x 51-1/4 inches) is an oil-on-canvas work housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Claude Monet's Garden at Sainte-Adresse (38-5/8x 51-1/4 inches) is an oil-on-canvas work housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Claude Monet painted Garden at Sainte-Adresse in 1867. Painted in the resort town of Sainte-Adresse, this work features several of Monet's relatives relaxing on a terrace. But the true subject is motion and color, as seen in the fluttering flags and the vivid tones of the gladioli and geraniums against the cool green foliage and brilliant blue sky.

Although Monet intended to exhibit the work at the coming Salon, it was rejected. It was not shown until the fourth Impressionist exhibition more than a decade later.

Continue to the next page to learn about Monet's On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt, a painting that feature's Monet's wife, Camille.

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On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt by Claude Monet

Claude Monet 's On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt                              (32-1/4x39-5/8 inches) is an oil-on-canvas work housed                                            as part of the Potter Palmer Collection                                            in The Art Institute of Chicago.
Claude Monet 's On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt (32-1/4x39-5/8 inches) is an oil-on-canvas work housed as part of the Potter Palmer Collection in The Art Institute of Chicago.

Claude Monet painted On the Bank of the Seine, Bennecourt in 1868. Monet's bold handling of color reveals in a simple subject -- his wife, Camille, looking across the Seine at the suburb of Bennecourt -- the power of his innovative approach.

Working with patches of blue, ocher, and pink, Monet defines the setting not through form and location but through the more elusive elements of light and reflection.

See Monet's stark and snowy work, The Magpie in the next section.

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The Magpie by Claude Monet

Claude Monet's The Magpie (35x51-1/4 inches) is an oil-on-canvas work housed in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
Claude Monet's The Magpie (35x51-1/4 inches) is an oil-on-canvas work housed in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

Claude Monet painted The Magpie in 1868. In December 1868, Monet and his family were residing on the coast of Normandy in Etretat. He did not allow the weather to confine his work to the studio and claimed to prefer the countryside in winter.

The subtle variance of shadows on the snow presented a different challenge from the sun on green grass and blue water, and, to meet it, Monet traded his usual high-keyed palette for an icy range of colors, including white, grey, and violet.

Continue to the next page to learn about Claude Monet's The Red Kerchief: Portrait of Mrs. Monet, featuring his wife Camille.

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The Red Kerchief: Portrait of Mrs. Monet by Claude Monet

Monet (29-3/8x31-1/2 inches) is an oil on canvas housed at The Cleveland Museum of Art.
Monet (29-3/8x31-1/2 inches) is an oil on canvas housed at The Cleveland Museum of Art.

Claude Monet worked on The Red Kerchief: Portrait of Mrs. Monet during 1868-1878. For Monet, the house in Argenteuil provided a sanctuary from the competition and conflicts of the art world in Paris.

With renewed interest he turned to subjects that included his wife and son, offering an intriguing view into the pleasure he took in his private life. There is a sense of a quick glance in his portrait of Camille passing just outside the window, protected from the winter's chill in a fashionable red cape.

On the next page, learn about Monet's La Grenouillere, his painting of a floating cafe.

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La Grenouillere by Claude Monet

Claude Monet's La Grenouillere (29-3/8x39-1/4 inches) is an oil on canvas housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Claude Monet's La Grenouillere (29-3/8x39-1/4 inches) is an oil on canvas housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Claude Monet painted La Grenouillere in 1869. La Grenouillere was a floating cafe built on a raft linked by a ramp to the Ile de Croissy on the Seine. To paint this popular resting place for boaters, Monet sat by his easel alongside that of his friend Pierre-Auguste Renoir. While Renoir concentrated on the activities of the pleasure seekers, Monet's sole interest was the sparkling effect of light reflected on the water.

On the next page, see Monet's Landscape Near Zaandam, another of the artist's marine paintings.

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Landscape Near Zaandam by Claude Monet

26-3/8 inches) is an oil on canvas housed in the  Robert Lehman Collection at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
26-3/8 inches) is an oil on canvas housed in the Robert Lehman Collection at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

Claude Monet painted Landscape Near Zaandam in 1871. Monet delayed his return to France to take his family on a journey to Holland where they enjoyed an extended stay in Zaandam. Like Amsterdam, Zaandam was a city of canals and shipyards, providing new inspiration for Monet's passion for marine painting.

Fascinated by the broad vistas, serene skies, glassy water, and reflections of the houses along the shore, Monet believed his temporary residence offered a range of subjects to occupy a lifetime.

Go to the next page to continue with our nautical theme and learn about Monet's Regatta at Argenteuil.

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Regatta at Argenteuil by Claude Monet

inches) is an oil on canvas housed at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
inches) is an oil on canvas housed at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

Claude Monet painted Regatta at Argenteuil in 1872. After a brief stay in Paris, Monet moved his family out of the city to Argenteuil. A quiet and attractive town on the right bank of the Seine and on a regular railway stop, it was a popular retreat for weekend visitors. During his first summer in this new location, Monet occupied himself with a familiar subject: boats in full sail under the summer sun.

Go to the next page to see Monet's Impression Sunrise (1872).

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Impression Sunrise (1872) by Claude Monet

Claude Monet's Impression Sunrise (18-7/8x 24-3/4 inches Musee Marmottan in Paris.
Claude Monet's Impression Sunrise (18-7/8x 24-3/4 inches Musee Marmottan in Paris.

Claude Monet painted this Impression Sunrise in 1872. Monet was once asked why he chose the title Impression for the work that became the critical flash point in the first Impressionist exhibition. He answered that he had painted his own impression of the spectacle of a blood red sun cutting through the misty atmosphere rather than a portrait of Le Havre Harbor.

Just as this painting gave a name to the movement, Monet's approach defined Impressionism as the artist's desire to capture the fugitive effects of nature.Continue to the next page to learn about Jean Monet on His Hobby Horse, an informal portrait of Monet's young son.

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Jean Monet on His Hobby Horse by Claude Monet

Claude Monet's Jean Monet on His Hobby Horse  (23-1/4x28-3/4 inches) is an oil on canvas housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Claude Monet's Jean Monet on His Hobby Horse (23-1/4x28-3/4 inches) is an oil on canvas housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Claude Monet painted Jean Monet on His Hobby Horse in 1872. Monet and Camille's first son, Jean (1867-1913), was born in 1867. The little boy appeared in several of Monet's paintings during the family's early residence in Argenteuil. In a fond glimpse of Jean's childhood rather than a formal portrait, Monet has depicted his son atop a favorite toy, playing in the privacy of the family's garden.

Get a feel for Monet's surroundings on the next page -- learn about The Artist's House at Argenteuil.

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The Artist's House at Argenteuil by Claude Monet

Claude Monet's The Artist's House at Argenteuil  (23-3/4x28-7/8 inches) is an oil on canvas housed as part of the Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Claude Monet's The Artist's House at Argenteuil (23-3/4x28-7/8 inches) is an oil on canvas housed as part of the Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Claude Monet painted The Artist's House at Argenteuil in 1873. In his new home with his family, Monet first indulged in a passion that would last his lifetime. At the rented house in Argenteuil, he cultivated his first garden.

During his second summer there, he began to paint the family in this intimate setting, with Jean playing with his hoop on the terrace among the blue and white planters he brought from Holland and Camille dressed in blue, peeking out the door.On the next page, see more of Argenteuil in Monet's Bridge at Argenteuil.

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Bridge at Argenteuil by Claude Monet

Claude Monet's Bridge at Argenteuil (23-5/8x31-1/2 inches) is an oil-on-canvas work house at the Neue Pinakothek in Munich, Germany.
Claude Monet's Bridge at Argenteuil (23-5/8x31-1/2 inches) is an oil-on-canvas work house at the Neue Pinakothek in Munich, Germany.

Claude Monet painted Bridge at Argenteuil in 1874. The old road bridge in Argenteuil was destroyed during the Franco-Prussian War. It was replaced by a modern structure of cast iron, limestone rubble, and concrete, announcing, along with the railway, that the little village was in transition.

Although Monet lamented the changes that increased industry and population brought to Argenteuil, he did not romanticize the modern aspects of the setting. He embraced these features in his art as characteristic of the region as well as his time.In the last section, see Claude Monet's The Studio Boat for a look at the artist's floating studio.

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The Studio Boat by Claude Monet

Claude Monet's The Studio Boat (19-5/8 x 25-1/4 inches) is an oil on canvas housed at the Kroller- Muller Museum in Otterlo, Netherlands.
Claude Monet's The Studio Boat (19-5/8 x 25-1/4 inches) is an oil on canvas housed at the Kroller- Muller Museum in Otterlo, Netherlands.

Claude Monet painted The Studio Boat in 1874. Shortly after Monet moved to Argenteuil, he bought a boat and converted it into a floating studio. He kept it moored near his home and used it to get a vista of the riverbank from the water. As seen here, he also painted it from the bank to study the effects of shadow and reflection at a distance.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Debra N. Mancoff is an art historian and lecturer and the author of numerous books on nineteenth-century European and American painting, including Publication International, Ltd.'s, Impressionism and Van Gogh. Other titles include Sunflowers, Monet's Garden in Art, Van Gogh: Fields and Flowers, and Mary Cassatt: Reflections of Women's Lives. Ms. Mancoff is a scholar in residence at the Newberry Library.