Claude Monet & his Impressionism Paintings
Claude Monet and other impressionism painters traveled to Southern France when the weather at home became too cold! Plein air painting seemed to lose its appeal in the cold and rainy winter months!
At the age of 43, Monet left Paris and moved to Giverny with his wife Alice and their eight children. Two of his children were from his first wife, Camille who died and the remaining six were from his second wife, Alice.
Monet loved Giverny. He spent a lot of his time with his family, gardening and painting the lush Giverny surroundings and his garden.
Claude Monet Artworks Inspired by Travels
However, Claude Monet was also a keen traveler. He not only traveled around his beloved Normandy coast, but also spent time in London, Madrid, the French Riviera, Brittany and Venice. These were “working holidays”. Monet had little interest in the touristy spots but rather preferred to plein air paint the beautiful landscapes in these travels onto his canvases.
The Lure of The French Riviera
Monet’s love affair with the French Riviera began in December 1883. Pierre-Auguste Renoir invited Monet to go on a working trip to Southern France. On the way, they visited their friend and fellow post-impressionism painter, Paul Cézanne in L’Estaque.
When they reached the French Riviera, Monet was smitten! So much so that Monet went back on his own a month later. He first traveled to Bordighera, on the northwest coast of Italy. He stayed there for about ten weeks and painted over 30 landscapes.
On his way home to Giverny, he detoured via the French Riviera for two weeks. Monet spent some time in the coastal town Menton and on this trip painted his famous paintings at Cap Martin, near Menton (1884).
In the painting below, Monet captures the intense light of the burning sun on the coastal road and the blue shimmering waters of the Mediterranean sea. He painted various versions of this view, capturing the landscape under different lights and colors.
Antibes & Claude Monet Impressionism Paintings
In 1888, four years later, Monet returns again to the enchanting Cote D’Azur. This time he stays in the small town of Antibes . He spends 4 months here and completes around 40 different paintings.
“I’m painting the town of Antibes, a small fortified town turned gold by the sun, standing out against beautiful blue and pink mountains and the everlastingly snow covered Alps.” Claude Monet Quotes
In typical Monet style, he preferred to focus on a single landscape and paint it over and over again. This way, Monet was able to capture the changing colors at different times and under various weather conditions. Claude Monet’s most favored times to paint were at sunrise, midday and sunset, when the light and it’s colors were most dramatic .
He wrote to his wife Alice from Antibes:
“How beautiful it is here, to be sure, but how difficult to paint! I can see what I want to do quite clearly but I’m not there yet. It’s so clear and pure in its pinks and blues that the slightest misjudged stroke looks like a smear of dirt.”
Monet had doubts about his ability to capture the magnificent scenery around him. However in June of that year, the art dealer, Theo van Gogh, Vincent Van Gogh’s brother, bought ten of Monet’s Antibes paintings for a total of 11,900 French Francs.
Theo exhibited these paintings in Paris. The exhibition was a huge success. The dazzling colors of Antibes and its surroundings captured the attention of both art collectors and critics alike. Monet’s paintings sold like hot cakes!
In 2014, one Antibes painting sold at a Sotheby’s auction for 7,922,500 GBP!!!!
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Throughout all these trips to Southern France, Claude Monet painted around 125 landscapes, capturing the glistening Mediterranean sea and the lush surroundings .
The Best Art Museums to View Claude Monet Impressionism Paintings in Paris
If you are in Paris, there are three major art museums exhibiting impressive collections of Claude Monet’s impressionism paintings. They are:
- Musee D’Orsay showcases a fantastic collection of Monet’s paintings. Press here for details.
- Another magnificent art museum is the L’Orangerie museum. This museum is famous for Claude Monet’s massive Water Lilies. However it also exhibits paintings of the other famous impressionists. Click here for more information.
- The third museum with a beautiful Monet collection is the Marmottan Museum, in the arty district of Montmartre.
Museums in Normandy
- Rouen’s Musée des Beaux-Arts ( The Museum of Fine Arts) – The Rouen Museum showcases an impressive impressionism collection including paintings of Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and others. For more information about opening hours, ticket prices and current exhibitions, press here.
- The Musée d’art moderne André Malraux in Le Havre – This fantastic museum is located by the sea in Le Havre, Normandy. It contains one of France’s most extensive impressionism art collections from the late-19th and 20th-century. Here you will find artworks of the big names like Pissaro, Sisley, Renoir, Degas, Monet, Matisse, Courbet and Dufy. For more details about the museum and current exhibitions, press here.