Arts Everyday Living: What Do You Know About Monet, Part 11–Walking the Fields of Giverny

Claude Monet, Poppy Field (Giverny), 1890/91, oil on canvas, Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Kimball Collection, Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois

Title: Poppy Field (Giverny), 1890/91

Artist: Claude Monet, 1840-1926




Did you know that Claude Monet began his career as a teenager and continued to create until his death at 86 in 1926? Most of us are familiar with Monet’s iconic Impressionist works. However Monet, like any great artist, expressed himself in multiple styles. So for the next month, experience the artistic world of the French master, from the young, aspiring painter to one of the most famous figures of his day.

Here is the eleventh part of our series:

#11—Giverny, Monet’s famous home, has become the mecca for millions of visitors, sometimes traveling across the globe to gaze upon the artist’s spectacular water lily pond, the source for what are often considered his greatest works of art. However, it would take Monet some 15 years to construct his backyard paradise with the help of a crew of gardeners. Until then Monet gravitated to the  countryside immediately surrounding the former farm house, where he had moved with his partner Alice and their combined family of 8 children in 1883.

Monet often chose the poppy fields as a subject as seen in the painting above, entranced by the red-orange carpet of flowers, the green-blue tones of the trees and the azure sky, harmonious in color. A place of serenity and calm that Monet painted at least four times starting in July of 1890.

However, Monet like all innovative artists, was searching for new ways to express his creative vision. And once again he revolutionized art by beginning the first of his series paintings at the end of that summer. Benefiting not from the beauty and drama of nature, but from the labors of the farmer living nearby. For haystacks (also referred to as wheat stacks) dominated his work in the next several months, producing some 25-30 views affected by the fluctuating light and atmosphere of the changing seasons, from sunrise to sunset. 

Below are some winter examples from the Art Institute of Chicago (click to enlarge).


Claude Monet, Stack of Wheat, 1890/91, oil on canvas, Purchased with funds provided by the Searle Family Trust; Major Acquisitions Centennial Endowment; through prior acquisitions of the Mr. and Mr. Martin A. Ryerson and Potter Palmer collections; through prior request of Jerome Foundation, Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois


Claude Monet, Stacks of Wheat (Sunset, Snow Effect), 1890/91, oil on canvas, Potter Palmer Collection, Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois




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