Rough weather at Étretat
(Gros Temps à Étretat)
- oil on canvas
- 65.0 × 81.0 cm
- inscribed in brown, orange and red paint l.r.: Claude Monet
- Accession Number
- International Painting
- Credit Line
- National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1913
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
- Gallery location
- Late 19th & early 20th Century Paintings & Decorative Arts Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
With Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1883; from where purchased by Jean-Baptiste Faure (1830–1913); collection of Jean-Baptiste Faure, 1883–1901; from whom purchased by Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1901; with Durand-Ruel, until 1913; from where purchased, for the Felton Bequest, 1913.
Claude Monet’s choice of the popular seaside resort of Étretat, on the Normandy coast, for a working holiday in late January 1883 was perhaps prompted by the region’s fame as a recreational location. Étretat was situated directly above the beach, immediately to the right of the view depicted in Monet’s painting – but no indication is given here of the bustling presence of the town. The view has been framed instead to focus upon the awesome power of nature, whose majesty is underscored by the tiny scale of the waving figures at the water’s edge. There are, however, reminders of the relentless tourist paths beaten around Étretat – these can be seen in the heavy zigzags of the walking trails that surmount the cliff in the distance.
Rough weather at Étretat seems to have been painted partly on the beach, directly in front of the motif. A single grain of sand still embedded in the surface of the paint hints at the chill wind and salt spray swirling around Monet as he worked outdoors on a winter’s day at the ocean’s rim. Rough surf was not uncommon at Étretat, where the pebbled ocean floor drops away very steeply, close to the shore. Monet made this pounding surf a central feature of his painting, and this motif was perfectly suited to the more vigorous brushwork he employed in the early 1880s.