Arts Everyday Living: What Do You Know About Monet, Part 8? Wildflowers of the Seine River

Claude Monet, Banks of the Seine, Vetheuil, 1880, oil on canvas, Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Title: Banks of the Seine, Vetheuil, 1880

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 eighth part of our series:

#8—Monet always returns to the Seine, which like the ocean is a  major source of his art. This time, though, he has chosen the quiet waters of Vetheuil, a village he moved to in 1878 with Camille and Jean. Farther from Paris and more remote than Argenteuil where he had previously lived, Monet often painted views of Vetheuil’s town church rising upward from the river.

Yet, in Banks of the Seine, Vetheuil above, the artist takes us to a more secluded section on what looks like an overcast summer day. The sky, heavy with clouds  appears to almost merge with the delicately depicted trees, silhouetted in blue green. The Seine itself, though barely moving, is depicted with the short, individual brushstrokes typical of Monet’s Impressionist technique.

But don’t overlook the wildflowers in the foreground, perhaps the most expressive part of the work. Uncultivated and free, a mass of mainly yellow and white colors growing without restraint.

By 1880, Camille had died in September, 1879, at the age of 32, leaving two sons. 12 year old Jean and Michel who was born at Vetheuil in March, 1878.  Yet, Camille will never be forgotten,  immortalized by her artist husband.

And would you like to meet Michel in another Monet garden–this time at Vetheuil—via an earlier blog?



In the public domain, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The National Gallery of Art does not endorse or approve use of the above image or any of the material on this website. Nor has the National Gallery of Art participated in any projects utilizing the said image.

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