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LOST LOVES IN ART
THE HAUNTING OF CLAUDE MONET?
I am working as hard as ever, but on something new—-figures in the open air as I understand them, treated like landscape. It’s an old dream which has always plagued me, and I’d like to realize it at last—but it is so difficult!*
Claude Monet, letter to art critic Theodore Duret
Was French Impressionist Claude Monet’s old dream actually more than an attempt to integrate figures into a landscape? For is Woman with a Parasol, Turned Toward the Left above also a memory of his first wife Camille? Although the artist’s stepdaughter Suzanne is usually identified as the model, was he still haunted by Camille, who had posed for him over a decade before in the life affirming Madame Monet and Her Son? Within four years, she would be dead at 32, after a long illness—yet never to be forgotten by her husband or posterity.
Quote is from Impressionist Masterpieces at the Jeu de Paume by Anne Distel and other art historians, published by Thames and Hudson, 1984, London, UK.
Claude Monet was born in 1840, died in 1926.
For another blog on Monet’s spouse, click:
Take an art walk with Monet in Through an Artist’s Eyes: Learning to Live Creatively.