Melbourne Winter Masterpieces
Monet’s Garden

The Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris

Monet the traveller

While Monet established his house and family at Giverny and began to create the now-famous garden, he constantly sought new motifs to paint, finding them not only in his immediate surroundings, but also on his extensive travels within France and further afield. Although he was increasingly absorbed by his garden at Giverny, Monet continued to travel widely, especially during winter when the garden was either dormant or covered in snow.

Fleeing the Franco-Prussian War, Monet first visited London in 1870. He so loved the river Thames, with its fog-shrouded, atmospheric vistas, that he returned several times over the next three decades to record the changing moods and drama of reflected light on the river and along its shores.

Although he regularly visited Paris, the urbane Monet always sought to be near water on what he called his painting ‘campaigns’. A childhood spent by the Norman coast had instilled in him a great love of the sea, its varying moods and rocky coastline. He returned to Normandy to paint almost every winter, when accommodation was cheaper and the holiday-makers were gone. He also loved the wilder coastline of Brittany and the radiant light of the Mediterranean coast. Monet’s sole expedition to Norway was in search of the dramatic frozen landscapes of fjords and mountains, and light reflected off snow.

Claude MONET
Rough weather at Étretat (1883)
(Gros Temps à Étretat)
oil on canvas
65.0 x 81.0 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1913

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