Claude Monet Paintings 1873-1878

Claude Monet painted The Poppy Field, near Argenteuil in 1873. See more pictures of Monet paintings.

Claude Monet was only one of the loose-association artists who called themselves the Societe Anonyme, but his innovative work dominated all discussions about the unorthodox exhibition. His seascape gave the group its name, and his approach -- daring to capture the transitory effect of an instant rather than portraying the topographical features of a stable view -- redefined the objectives of landscape painting.

In the years that followed, Monet participated in five of the eight Impressionist exhibitions, and, more than any other member of the circle, he established Impressionism as a revolutionary -- and ultimately triumphant -- force in contemporary art. Over the years, the works Monet selected to present at the Impressionist exhibitions proved to be flash points in the reception of the group's experimental endeavors.

Monet Image Gallery

His own point of view remained unassailably modern. To capture the energetic spirit of Paris, Monet had positioned his easel at a high window overlooking the street. Writing about Boulevard des Capucines (1873-74), the critic Jules Castagnary proposed, half in jest, that to see the painting properly, he would have had to view the painting through the windows of the house across the street.

Along with the urban street scene, Monet asserted his modernism by accepting without judgment the visual contradictions of contemporary life, such as the incursion of a massive new road bridge in his tranquil view over the Seine in Bridge at Argenteuil (1874; shown in the second Impressionist exhibition, 1876).

Monet continued to paint figures in the open air, as seen in Woman with a Parasol -- Madame Monet and Her Son (1875; shown in the second Impressionist exhibition, 1876). The portrait of Camille and Jean on a hill against a pale blue sky captures a breeze buoying Camille's parasol and blowing the thin fabric of her veil across her face. With their indistinct features, the figures appear anonymous; the sudden summer wind rather than the sitters is the focus of attention.

Monet ended his association with the Impressionists when he declined to enter his work in the last exhibition in 1886. But his reputation endured as the leader of a daring development in the arts, and most critics came to agree that Monet stood out among the Impressionist painters.

Learn about Boulevard des Capucines, a bustling street scene, in the next section.

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