Arts Everyday Living: What Do You Know About Monet, Part 3-On the Beach, A Return to the Sea

Claude Monet, The Beach at Sainte-Adresse, 1867, oil on canvas, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection, Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois

Title: The Beach at Sainte-Adresse

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 third entry in our series:

#3—Monet was almost 27 when he traveled home from Paris for several months in 1867, staying with his Aunt Sophie Lecadre in Saint-Adresse, a suburb near Le Havre where he had grown up. At the time, Monet was struggling personally and financially. Although some of his works had been shown at the Parisian Salon (famed for its prestigious exhibitions that could help establish the reputation of an ambitious artist), others had been rejected as well.

However, the return to the sea, probably his greatest inspiration, rejuvenated him. For during the summer and autumn, he produced a number of unforgettable canvases, reflecting the many moods of nature. In Beach at Sainte-Adresse, for example, the weather is overcast, yet our eyes are drawn to that incredible sky, dominating almost half of the painting.  A network of  brushwork, a mixture of ominous grays punctuated by strokes of white representing where the sunlight is attempting to penetrate and break through the mass of clouds.

While below we are witnesses to a quieter, if less dramatic sphere. A trio of fishermen who appear to be conversing nonchalantly, their boats–one a striking blue–waiting on the shore. Are they finished for the day? Or do they fish at night?

The ocean too seems peaceful, smooth and placid with barely a wave or ripple. Its aquamarine color, though, has a luminous quality, contrasting to the darker silhouettes of the sailboats gracefully moving upon the surface. 

For more scenes of Saint-Adresse, google:

Garden of Sainte-Adresse, 1867, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Regatta at Sainte-Adresse, 1867, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York








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