Claude Monet: Vol 1
192 pages
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192 pages
English

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Description

With Impression, Sunrise, exhibited in 1874, Claude Monet (18401926) took part in thecreation of the Impressionist movement that introduced the 19th century to modern art. All his life, he captured natural movements around him and translated them into visual sensations. A complex man and an exceptional artist, Monet is internationally famous for his poetic paintings of waterlilies and beautiful landscapes. He leaves behind the most wellknown masterpieces that still fascinate art lovers all over the world.
In this twovolume illustrated work, Natalia Brodskaya and Nina Kalitina invite us on a journey across time to discover the history of Impressionism and Monet; a movement and an artist forever bound together. Specialists of 19th and 20th century art, the authors shed light on the birth of modernity in art, a true revolution responsible for the thriving art scene of the 20th century.

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Publié par
Date de parution 31 décembre 2015
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781785256974
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 5 Mo

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Authors:
Nathalia Brodskaïa and Nina Kalitina

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No part of this publication may be reproduced or adapted without the permission of the copyright holder, throughout the world. Unless otherwise specified, copyright on the works reproduced lies with the respective photographers, artists, heirs or estates. Despite intensive research, it has not always been possible to establish copyright ownership. Where this is the case, we would appreciate notification.

ISBN: 978-1-78525-697-4
Nathalia Brodskaïa and Nina Kalitina



Claude Monet
Volume 1
Impression, Sunrise , 1837.
Oil on canvas, 48 x 63 cm. Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris.
Contents


Foreword
Monet, the Man
Impressionism
The Impressionists and Academic Painting
The Precursors
The First Impressionist Exhibition
Fellow Impressionists
Édouard Manet (1832-1883)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
Alfred Sisley (1839-1899)
Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)
Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Berthe Morisot (1841-1895)
His Life – Childhood and Adolescence
His Life – The First Major Step
His Life – The Fight against Tradition
List of Illustrations
Pierre-Auguste Renoir , Portrait of Claude Monet , 1875.
Oil on canvas, 84 x 60.5 cm. Musée d’Orsay, Paris.


Foreword


Impression, Sunrise (1873, Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris) was the prescient title of one of Claude Monet’s paintings shown in 1874 in the first exhibition of the Impressionists, or as they called themselves then, the Société anonyme des artistes, peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc. (The Anonymous Society of Artist, Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers). Monet had gone painting in his childhood hometown of Le Havre to prepare for the event, eventually selecting his best Havre landscapes for display. Edmond Renoir, journalist brother of Renoir the painter, compiled the catalogue. He criticised Monet for the uniform titles of his works, for the painter had not come up with anything more interesting than View of Le Havre . Among these Havre landscapes was a canvas painted in the early morning depicting a blue fog that seemed to transform the shapes of yachts into ghostly apparitions. The painting also depicted smaller boats gliding over the water in black silhouette, and above the horizon the flat, orange disk of the sun, its first rays casting an orange path across the sea. It was more like a rapid study than a painting, a spontaneous sketch done in oils – what better way to seize the fleeting moment when sea and sky coalesce before the blinding light of day? View of Le Havre was obviously an inappropriate title for this particular painting, as Le Havre was nowhere to be seen. “Write Impression, ” Monet told Edmond Renoir, and in that moment began the story of Impressionism.
On 25 April 1874, the art critic Louis Leroy published a satirical piece in the journal Charivari that described a visit to the exhibition by an official artist. As he moves from one painting to the next, the artist slowly goes insane. He mistakes the surface of a painting by Camille Pissarro, depicting a ploughed field, for shavings from an artist’s palette carelessly deposited onto a soiled canvas. When looking at the painting he is unable to tell top from bottom, or one side from the other. He is horrified by Monet’s landscape entitled Boulevard des Capucines . Indeed, in Leroy’s satire, it is Monet’s work that pushes the academician over the edge. Stopping in front of one of the Havre landscapes, he asks what Impression, Sunrise depicts. “Impression, of course,” mutters the academician. “I said so myself, too, because I am so impressed, there must be some impression in here… and what freedom, what technical ease!” At which point he begins to dance a jig in front of the paintings, exclaiming: “Hey! Ho! I’m a walking impression, I’m an avenging palette knife”. Leroy called his article, “The Exhibition of the Impressionists”. With typical French finesse, he had adroitly coined a new word from the painting’s title, a word so fitting that it was destined to remain forever in the vocabulary of the history of art. Responding to questions from a journalist in 1880, Monet said: “I’m the one who came up with the word, or who at least, through a painting that I had exhibited, provided some reporter from Le Figaro the opportunity to write that scathing article. It was a big hit, as you know.”
Pierre-Auguste Renoir , Claude Monet , 1872.
Oil on canvas, 65 x 50 cm.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.


Monet, the Man


Gustave Geffroy, the friend and biographer of Claude Monet, reproduced two portraits of the artist in his monograph. In the first, painted by an artist of no distinction, Monet is eighteen years of age. A dark-haired young man in a striped shirt, he is perched astride a chair with his arms folded across its back.
His pose suggests an impulsive and lively character; his face, framed by shoulder-length hair, shows both unease in the eyes and a strong will in the line of the mouth and the chin.
Geffroy begins the second part of his book with a photographic portrait of Monet at the age of eighty-two.
A stocky old man with a thick, white beard stands confidently, his feet set wide apart; calm and wise, Monet knows the value of things and believes only in the undying power of art. Not by chance has he chosen to pose with a palette in his hand in front of a panel from the Water Lilies series.
Numerous portraits of Monet have survived – self-portraits, the works of his friends (Manet and Renoir among others), photographs by Carjat and Nadar – all of them reproducing his features at various stages in his life.
Many literary descriptions of Monet’s physical appearance have come down to us as well, particularly after he had become well-known and much in demand by art critics and journalists. How then does Monet appear to us? Take a photograph from the 1870s. He is no longer a young man but a mature individual with a dense, black beard and moustache, only the top of his forehead hidden by closely-cut hair.
The expression of his brown eyes is decidedly lively, and his face as a whole exudes confidence and energy. This is Monet at the time of his uncompromising struggle for new aesthetic ideals. Now take his self-portrait in a beret dating from 1886, the year that Geffroy met him on the island of Belle-Île off the south coast of Brittany.
“At first glance”, Geffroy recalls, “I could have taken him for a sailor, because he was dressed in a jacket, boots, and hat very similar to the sort that they wear.”
“He would put them on as protection against the sea-breeze and the rain.” A few lines later Geffroy writes: “He was a sturdy man in a sweater and beret with a tangled beard and brilliant eyes which immediately pierced into me.” In 1919, when Monet was living almost as a recluse at Giverny, not far from Vernon-sur-Seine, he was visited by Fernand Léger, who saw him as “a shortish gentleman in a panama hat and elegant light-grey suit of English cut… He had a large, white beard, a pink face, little eyes that were bright and cheerful but with perhaps a slight hint of mistrust…”
Both the visual and the literary portraits of Monet depict him as an unstable, restless figure.
He was capable of producing an impression of boldness and audacity or he could seem, especially in the latter years of his life, confident and placid. But those who remarked on Monet’s serenity and restraint were guided only by his external appearance. Both the friends of his youth, Bazille, Renoir, Cézanne, Manet, and the visitors to Giverny who were close to him – first and foremost Gustave Geffroy, Octave Mirbeau, and Georges Clemenceau – were well aware of the attacks of tormenting dissatisfaction and nagging doubt to which he was prone.
His gradually mounting annoyance and discontent with himself would frequently find an outlet in acts of unbridled and elemental fury, when Monet would destroy dozens of canvasses, scraping off the paint, cutting them up into pieces, and sometimes even burning them.
The art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, to whom Monet was bound by contract, received a whole host of letters from him requesting that the date for a showing of paintings be deferred. Monet would write that he had “not only scraped off, but simply torn up” the studies he had begun, that for his own satisfaction it was essential to make alterations, that the results he had achieved were “incommensurate with the amount of effort expended”, that he was in “a bad mood” and “no good for anything”.
Monet was capable of showing considerable civic courage, but was occasionally guilty of faint-heartedness and inconsistency. Thus in 1872 Monet, together with the painter Eugène Boudin, visited the idol of his youth, Gustave Courbet, in prison – an event perhaps not greatly significant in itself, but given the general hounding to which the Communard Courbet was subject at that time, an act both brave and noble.
With regard to the memory of Édouard Manet, Monet was the only member of the circle around the former leader of the Batignolles group to take action upon hearing, in 1889, from the American artist John Singer Sargent, that Manet’s masterpiece Olympia might be sold to the USA.
It was Monet who called upon the French public to colle

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