Wednesday, April 3, 2013

In the Beginning: Claude Monet

The early paintings of Claude Monet (1840-1926) are no deep, dark secret hidden by protectors to preserve his reputation as an early modernist. They can be found in important museums in France and America and not stashed away in storage areas. When in Paris, all you have to do is suffer standing in line for entry to the Musée d'Orsay before rambling around to spot one or two examples. And if the d'Orsay waiting line is too daunting, you can wander into the 16th Arrondissement and over by the Bois du Boulogne and visit the Musée Marmottan, which has a nice collection of Monet's work. In fact, years ago I was at the Marmottan and struck by the fact that Monet wasn't always haystacks and water lilies, even though his paintings were seldom entirely conventional for the times.

Here is a sampling of pre-Impressioninst (in style) paintings.


Camille Doncieux (his future wife) - 1866

Garden at Sainte-Adresse - 1867

Women in a Garden - 1866-67

Mme. Gaudibert - 1868

Self-Portrait - 1886
Although he was well into Impressionism by this time, Monet chose to portray himself fairly conventionally.

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