Monet: Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, boasts one of the largest collections of the celebrated Impressionist artist Claude Monet’s work outside France. This book reproduces all thirty-five oil paintings by Monet in the MFA’s permanent collection, representing nearly the full span of Monet’s long career. An introductory essay presents a brief introduction to his acclaim in Boston during his lifetime, and entries for the thirty-five paintings provide an overview of his life and work. Monet returned time and again to his favourite locations and motifs, utilising vivid colour and varied brushwork to dazzling effect and inviting viewers to see the world anew.
Early plein-air compositions from the 1870s, as well as Grand Canal, Venice (1908), a later example inspired by his travels abroad, mark his enduring fascination with watery surfaces, utilising vivid colour and varied brushwork to dazzling effect. A grouping of works related to his life-long appreciation for Japanese art and culture is anchored by La Japonaise (Camille Monet in Japanese Costume) (1876), a full-length portrayal of his wife Camille in a lavishly embroidered kimono. His 1875 composition Meadow with Poplars inspires another section, as its depiction of poppies, poplar trees and grain stacks foreshadows the recurrence of these themes in his painting throughout the decades to follow.
Claude Monet (1840-1926) trained with the plein-air painter Eugène Boudin among others, continuing his studies from 1859 onward in Paris, where he met Pissarro, Bazille, Sisley and Renoir. At their first exhibition in Paris in 1874, Monet’s painting Impression, soleil levant prompted critics to mockingly describe him as an impressionist. Katie Hanson is Associate Curator, Paintings, Art of Europe at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.