Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)
Oil on canvas; 10 1/16 x 8 1/16 in. (25.5 x 20.5 cm)
Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Monet is forever associated with the garden at Giverny. However some of the most famous Impressionist paintings of gardens are associated with the time Monet spent at Argenteuil.
Monet established a theme early in his career for painting landscape and leisure activities. He was also used to painting 'en plein air' (painting outdoors in the open air).
His first large scale work of note is Women in the Garden 1866.
Monet's devotion to painting out of doors is illustrated by the famous story concerning one of his most ambitious early works, Women in the Garden (Musée d'Orsay, Paris; 1866-67). The picture is about 2.5 meters high and to enable him to paint all of it outside he had a trench dug in the garden so that the canvas could be raised or lowered by pulleys to the height he required. Courbet visited him when he was working on it and said Monet would not paint even the leaves in the background unless the lighting conditions were exactly right.Now I know studying the masters helps all of us to think about different ways of approaching our art - but I wasn't expecting that one!
WebMuseum - Monet
The Salon rejected this work. Apparently being a known associate of Manet who had already scandalised Paris with Le déjeuner sur l'herbe also did not help.
The composition of the three young women in the painting followed the academic manners of the day. However, while the patterns on the women';s dresses carried the fine detail of a photograph, Monet left the breeze blown blossoms and the starry buttercups and daisies in the foreground vague and impressionistic. These flowers, the dappled play of light on the overhanging tress and the sense of being out of doors on a feisty spring afternoon combined to make "Femmes au Jardin" an uncoventional picture.According to Debra Mancoff in her book 'Monet's Garden in Art', Zola was writing art criticism at the time and the painting caught his eye. He praised Monet and his colleague for painting life precisely as they saw it rather than according to conventional ideals. He considered it entirely appropriate that artists should be painting modern day subjects as part of contemporary art.
Bill Laws Artists' Gardens
After the rejection by the Salon, Monet and his friends decided to join forces to become more independent of the Salon and to set up a separate exhibition. As a result, their way of painting was eventually called 'Impressionism'.
Returning to France, Monet moved first to Argenteuil, just fifteen minutes from Paris by train, then west to Vétheuil, Poissy, and finally to the more rural Giverny in 1883. His homes and gardens became gathering places for friends, including Manet and Renoir, who often painted alongside their host (1976.201.14). Yet Monet's paintings cast a surprisingly objective eye on these scenes, which include few signs of domestic relations.In 1870, Monet rented a house in the suburb of Argenteuil. He began to garden and to paint in his garden. Monet was also painted by other Impressionist painters in his garden at Argenteuil. These included Manet and Renoir. You can see a description of the arrangement in this narrative produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to accompany the Manet painting of the Monet Family in their garden at Argenteuil.
Metropolitan Museum of Art - Claude Monet - Timeline
Monet painting in his garden at Argenteuil, 1873
Oil on canvas, 46 x 60 cm
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford
The Monet Family in Their Garden at Argenteuil, 1874
Édouard Manet (French, 1832–1883)
Oil on canvas; 24 x 39 1/4 in. (61 x 99.7 cm)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Bequest of Joan Whitney Payson, 1975 (1976.201.14)
Monet's paintings atArgenteuil are of domesticity, family, friends and flowers. Apparently Monet recalled years later that the garden soothed him during difficult times and became a refuge when he was tending his plants. For him working at his easel in his own garden merged his various loves.
Here are some of the paintings he produced. - the Artist's Garden at Argenteuil and Camille Monet and a Child in the Artist's garden at Argenteuil (1875). Camille, his wife, died in 1879
Camille Monet and a Child in the Artist's Garden in Argenteuil, 1875
Claude Monet, French, 1840–1926
Oil on canvas, 55.3 x 64.7 cm (21 3/4 x 25 1/2 in.)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
In (1873) he painted Camille in the garden six times. This was the first time that the garden, which became such an all-domnating subject for Monet's later work, featured as an important living environment. It was where the family passed the time, a place of social encounters and a workshop. The garden was both public and intimate. Art and life entered into a happy association that gave birth to a new type of picture beyond the genres of portrait, landscape and still life in Monet's work - the garden pictureMonet's Approach - Suggested Learning Points
Mareike Hennig in The Painter's Garden
Monet's approach to painting gardens at this stage involved:
- painting from life outdoors and in the open air - note that this does not equate to painting 'alla prima' (finishing a painting in one session)
- painting in natural light and only when the light is right
- making adjustments in order to paint on a big canvas
- a contemporary emphasis on objective painting of modern subjects and life as he saw it rather than conventional ideals - and the development of a new genre associated with painting in the garden ("the garden picture") eg
- painting friends in the garden
- painting wives and children in the garden
- painting each other as artists in the garden