Oct 092007
Claude Monet: Poppy Fields

In contrast to his Water Lily, Haystacks and Poplars landscapes, Claude Monet did not organize the poppy field paintings into series. These are his earlier works, and they do not yet possess that particular intensity and focus that makes the later “harmonies” so captivating. While the artist reveals a good eye for finding original compositions, […]

Oct 042007
Claude Monet: The Water Lily Ponds Series

Since Claude Monet’s celebrated “Sunrise, Impression” aquatic reflections became a common motif in impressionist painting. It seems that the mutability of water is inherently impressionistic: the ripples and the mirrored colors — all in continuous motion — suggest themselves naturally as subject matter for a style that strives to capture the passing and the momentary. […]

Oct 022007
Claude Monet: The Poplars Series

Poplars were a bold choice of subject matter on Monet’s part: he portrays some of the trees as nearly naked, wire-like, unable to compress their blooming canopies into the composition. In fact, when combined with their aquatic reflections (a recurring motif in Monet’s work, from the seminal Impression, Sunrise to the later Water Lily Series) […]

Oct 012007
Claude Monet: The Haystacks Series

Viewed in the context of city vs. country, the Roeun Cathedral series and the haystacks (several pieces hang in the Art Institute of Chicago) are oppositely (and appropriately) different. Here Claude Monet’s palettes — which he described as “harmonies” during his stay in the Normandy town — enjoy the expanse of an open landscape. In […]

Sep 272007
Claude Monet: The Rouen Cathedral Series

Claude Monet produced over thirty paintings of the Rouen Cathedral. In most of them, the Gothic church is shown from the same angle; it is the colors that were the main subject of variation. By using unpredictable, sometimes improbable palette combinations — or “harmonies” — as Monet called them, the artist strove to capture the […]