About the Artist
Claude Monet (1840-1926) went to Paris in 1862 to study painting and there befriended fellow students Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frédéric Bazille, who would later form the core group of the original impressionists. By the end of the 1860s Monet had largely abandoned ambitious, large-scale figurative painting in favor of smaller, spontaneous landscape works executed en plein air.
Monet fled to London during the Franco-Prussian War, and in late 1871 settled at Argenteuil, a suburb just west of Paris that maintained its rustic charm even as it underwent rapid modernization. From 1872 to 1876 Argenteuil became the hub of what would soon be known as impressionist painting. Financial difficulties forced Monet to relocate to Vétheuil in 1878, and a few years later, in 1883, he settled in Giverny, where he would live for the rest of his life.
Most of Monet’s paintings from the 1870s depict the landscape in and around the small towns along the Seine. Executed outdoors, he employed seemingly spontaneous brushstrokes to capture the ever-changing effects of light and atmosphere. In the 1880s Monet expanded his motifs, turning his attention both to the Mediterranean and to the rugged vistas along the Normandy coast. In the 1890s he undertook a number of paintings produced in series, including pictures of poplars, grainstacks, and Rouen Cathedral; each work captured a specific atmospheric effect and time of day. With his reputation as France’s leading landscape painter established and his financial situation secure, the artist turned his attention to the lavish gardens he had constructed at Giverny, eventually creating more than 250 works focused on water lilies.
This print of Claude Monet's The Artist's Garden at Vétheuil (1880) is part of our Masterworks collection of reproductions, specially created using the Gallery's finest quality digital imaging.
Monet planted gardens wherever he lived. When he rented this house at Vétheuil, he made arrangements with the owner to landscape the terraces, which lead down to the Seine. The boy with the wagon is Monet's young son, and on the steps behind him are other members of his extended household.
On the path, the brilliant sunlight is dappled with shade that falls in blues, plums, and various greens. Figures and faces are defined broadly with color. The large flowerpots were Monet's, and he took them with him each time he moved, using them in other gardens. They are "blue and white" only in our perception: examined up close they are blue and green where they reflect the grass behind them, elsewhere tinged with gold or pink.
By the early 1880s, when this work was painted, Monet had become increasingly interested in the painted surface itself and less concerned with capturing a spontaneous effect of light and atmosphere. The very composition of this painting, with its high horizon, traps our eye in the canvas—even the path is blocked in the distance by the rising steps. We are forced back to the surface, where the paint is textured and heavily layered. At close range, these brushstrokes, though still inspired by nature, seem less descriptive than decorative.
- 9.44 x 7.19 inches (print), 11 x 14 inches (matted)
- Matted, ready to frame
- Archival, premium matte paper (acid-free, lignin-free)
- Archival pigment inks