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Picturing a World

Monet’s Gare Saint-Lazare

A tip from James Gurney on the release of high-resolution images by the Chicago Art Institute led me back to this 1877 painting by Monet. It was in my mind when I wrote Jeanette and Effie’s arrival in  Read More 

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Monet by Carolus-Duran

Website tip: I've just run across this drawing of Claude Monet by Carolus-Duran, which is up for sale. They were friends, and it's fun to see that they posed for each other informally. I suspect both would be astonished (and flattered?) at the asking price of $26,000!

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Manet, Monet, and the Gare Saint-Lazare

In contrast to Colin Campbell Cooper’s painting of New York’s Grand Central Station, discussed in my previous post, the ground-level vantage point of Monet’s painting helped me imagine the Saint-Lazare train station as Jeanette and Effie experienced it upon their arrival in Paris.

It is one of many images discussed in  Read More 
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Happy Birthday, Impressionism!

Sunrise, 7:35 AM, November 13, 1872. Claude Monet dashes off his impression of the red sun over misty Le Havre harbor. Yes, no, exactly? Exactly, say researchers Donald Olson, a professor of astrophysics at Texas State University and Géraldine Lefebre, a curator at the Musée d'Art Moderne Aldreé Malraux in Le Havre. For more about their calculations, click here. Does it matter? Not a whit. Is it fun? Well, sure.

See also my earlier post, Impression: SunriseRead More 
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Bastille Day

As the entry on this painting at the Musée d’Orsay says, Monet painted it at an event connected with the 1878 World’s Fair—in fact, the occasion of the first public singing of La Marseillaise since the fall of the Second Empire and rise of the Third Republic. Nevertheless, it is often associated with Bastille Day (July 14th), so why not show it today? Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!

In Where the Light Falls, Jeanette, Effie, and Edward see the painting at the 4th Impressionist Show. It also interests me because it has so clearly influenced Childe Hassam’s views of flag-draped streets in New York, e.g., The Fourth of July, 1916, or indeed, Paris in his July Fourteenth, Rue Daunou of 1910.

Just for the fun of it, click here for the stirring rendition of La Marseillaise in the greatest B-movie of them all, Casablanca (the song begins at minute 1.08). Read More 
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Malade

When Amy returns from Pont Aven to find that Sonja has brought La Grecque and Angelica into their studio, she makes the best of what she considers a bad situation by insisting that the model earn her keep by posing. The idea of Amy’s unflinching desire to take advantage of the chance to study a sick woman’s appearance was suggested to me by several 19th C paintings of sick beds or death beds. The most haunting case, which Carolus-Duran recounts to Jeanette later in the novel, was Monet’s oil sketch of his wife, Camille, in the hour after her death. Read More 
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Turkeys

I don’t know whether Pissarro’s Turkeys hung at the 4th Impressionist Exhibition (and don’t have The New Painting: Impressionism 1874–1886 at hand to check), but it could have. For an 1876 painting of turkeys by Monet, click here.

Happy Thanksgiving! Read More 
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Impression: Sunrise

Monet’s Impression: Sunrise is the iconic one, the quintessential example of rapid brushwork used to capture a moment painted out of doors. I knew from The New Painting: Impressionism 1874–1886 (2 vols.; 1996) that it hung at the 4th Impressionist exhibition (April 10–May 11, 1879), but I chose not to mention it specifically during my characters’ visits to the show because other paintings served my thematic and narrative purposes more pointedly. For this blog, however, what better to pair with the study in the previous post? Read More 
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Swiss Interlude

Geographical accuracy is one thing, inspiration another. Although Sainte-Addresse is on the coast of Normandy, not in Switzerland, in imagination I transferred the atmosphere of Monet’s seaside garden to a lakeside hotel terrace for Edward and Theodore’s conversation about Kiel and the Louvre. All the while that I pictured lawns sloping down to Lake Constance and mountains across the lake, this painting of full sun on bright nasturtiums, geraniums, and gladiolus, of flags snapping in the breeze, and an expanse water with boats also shaped the scene for me. Instead of viewing it from a high above, however, I squatted just behind and between the brothers. Read More 
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Monet, Sargent, and "Impressionism"

BLOG TIP: Check out yesterday’s informative GurneyJourney blog post on how John Singer Sargent and Claude Monet defined Impressionism and what they had to say about each other’s art.
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