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Ten Most Famous Monet Paintings that the World Adores!

Claude Monet was a famous French artist of the 19th century. His painting entitled Impression, Sunrise gave the name to the revolutionary impressionism art movement.

Together with other like-minded artists, the impressionists decided to do away with capturing the fine details in a subject matter and instead paint a broader “impression”. For this, they painted with thick, short brushstrokes.

The impressionists also left their painting studios and set up easels outdoors. This enabled them to capture the light and its effects on nature. As a result, Monet and the impressionists painted with brighter and bolder colors. This was a huge break away from traditional art. Their revolutionary ideas and style paved the way to what we call today Modern Art.

Although Monet painted over 2000 artworks, below is a list of ten of the most famous Claude Monet paintings

Impression, Sunrise 1872

Claude Monet‘s Impression, Sunrise  is the painting that gave the name to the French impressionism art movement. In this painting, Monet depicted the port city of Le Havre in Normandy, which was also his hometown.

When asked for the title of this painting, Monet thought that an impression of Le Havre would be more fitting since it showed no specific elements.

One of the most famous Monet Paintings: Impression, Sunrise 1872
One of the most famous Monet Paintings: Impression, Sunrise 1872

On April 1874 this painting and other artworks were displayed at the first major Impressionism Exhibition. An aggressive French art critic, Louis Leroy, reviewed this exhibition and accused the group of painting nothing but impressions. This antagonistic comment stuck and this new and ridiculed art movement finally had a name.

You can view Claude Monet’s Impression, Sunrise at the wonderful Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris.

La Grenouillère, 1869

In the 19th century, La Grenouillère was a popular resort with a spa, boating facilities and a floating café. It was located on the River Seine and just a quick train trip from Paris. Young Renoir and Monet went together on a painting trip to La Grenouillère.

The two artists set up their easels outdoors and painted en-plein air. They captured the resort and the middle class people enjoying themselves. Interestingly, both Monet’s and Renoir’s rendition of La Grenouillère are very similar.

Monet’s painting provides a wonderful impressionism snapshot of 19th century outings.

You can view Monet’s La Grenouillèr at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

La Grenouillère - Famous Monet painting
La Grenouillère – Famous Monet painting

Rouen Cathedral, Facade (Sunset)

The painting Rouen Cathedral, Facade (Sunset) is one painting from the famous Rouen Cathedral series. Claude Monet often painted one subject matter over and over again in order to capture the changing lights and colors. Monet painted the majestic Rouen cathedral more than 30 times between the years 1892–93.

Monet rented an apartment with direct views to the cathedral and worked from early in the morning until dark. As the day progressed and the light changed, Monet moved from one canvas to another. Monet finished these cathedral paintings when he returned to his painting studio in Giverny.

In 1895, two years later, Monet exhibited twenty paintings from this series at the prestigious Durand-Ruel Gallery in Paris.

Rouen Cathedral, Facade (Sunset) - Claude Monet Painting
Rouen Cathedral, Facade (Sunset) – Claude Monet Painting

You can view a painting from the Monet Rouen Cathedral series at the following art museums in France:

In Europe you can view a painting from the Rouen Cathedral Series at the following art museums:

  • Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany
  • National Museum Cardiff, Wales
  • Beyeler Museum, Riehen, Switzerland

In the US, the following art museums own one of the Rouen Cathedral paintings:

  • J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Clark Art Institute, Williamstown
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Woman with a Parasol, 1875

Most of Claude Monet’s paintings were landscapes. However, every now and then, he would also paint people. In this painting, Monet painted two people very dear to him, his wife Camille and their 8 year old son, Jean. Rather than paint a portrait of his family in a typical portrait pose, Monet chose to depict them during a “stroll”. 

Even though this sitting may have taken a few hours, the end result looks like an impressionism snapshot of a fleeting moment in time. Monet gives the viewer a feeling that Camille and Jean were out for a stroll and were briefly interrupted for a “camera shot”.

You can view this painting at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Woman with a Parasol - A famous Monet Painting
Woman with a Parasol – Painting of Camille & Jean Monet

Houses of Parliament

Monet traveled twice to London to work on the Houses of Parliament  series, in 1900 and 1901. Monet painted 19 canvases in total. To get this view, Monet set up a painting studio on a terrace in the St. Thomas Hospital.

Each painting portrays the building at different times of the day, and under different lights & weather conditions. Because the light changed so quickly, Monet sketched out the building in advance on several canvases. He then painted what he saw while looking out from his balcony. As the day progressed, Monet started a new canvas to depict the changing colors and light conditions. Monet’s canvases even portray the famous London fog.

Houses of Parliament Series / Claude Monet Paintings
Houses of Parliament Series / Claude Monet Paintings

He did not finish these paintings in London but rather completed them in the next three years from his painting studio in Giverny. From the paintings, scholars were able to determine the exact location Monet painted from (i.e. the exact room and terrace).

The following art museums hold a famous Monet Painting of the Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament, London- Impressionism Painting - Claude Monet
Houses of Parliament, London- Impressionism Painting – Claude Monet

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San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk

Claude Monet painted the iconic San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk when he traveled with his wife to Venice for the first and only time in 1908. Monet was instantly captivated by the incredible beauty of the city. So much so, that Monet didn’t think he could capture its beauty. However, despite his initial reluctance, Monet went on to paint some of his most famous paintings.

From his hotel room, Monet had a view of San Giorgio Maggiore. It was from here that he captured this stunning sunset with the famous island church in the background. Monet used vibrant blues, yellows and reds to capture the colorful sunset skies and the mirror reflection in the lagoon waters.

The painting is owned by National Museum Cardiff in Wales.

Venice landscape -One of Monet's most famous paintings
San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk, 1908 – Claude Monet landscape[Public Domain]

Nymphéas (Waterlilies) – The Most Famous Monet Paintings!!!

Monet’s Water Lilies are hands-down the most famous Monet paintings of all time. But when we write about the famous water-lily paintings, we are in fact talking about 250 different canvases.

Claude Monet spent the last 30 years of his life painting water lilies. His muse was his waterlily pond in his garden in Giverny. Monet was rather obsessed with his water-lilies and painted them again and again. However he painted them from different perspectives, at different times of the day, under different lights, changing weather conditions and seasons.

The iconic Claude Monet Water Lilies are scattered all over the world and are recognized as his most famous paintings.  

His largest and most impressive Water-Lilies panels can be found at Musee L’Orangerie in Paris.

Claude Monet's most famous paintings - Water Lilies (Nympheas)
photo by fmpgoh on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Claude Monet’s most famous paintings – Water Lilies (Nympheas)
photo by fmpgoh on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Haystack at the End of Summer

In 1890 and 1891, Claude Monet painted another series of twenty-five canvases depicting Haystacks. These paintings capture haystacks after the harvest season from the surrounding farming fields in Giverny. Like with his other series, Monet again experimented with capturing the same views but under changing lights, colors and seasons.

Claude Monet Haystacks Paintings
Claude Monet Haystacks Series
Claude Monet Haystacks Painting
Haystacks – Claude Monet Painting

The largest Haystacks  collections are held at the Musée d’Orsay and Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris.

Other museums around the world exhibiting the famous Monet Haystack paintings include:

  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • the Metropolitan Museum and Museum of Modern Art in New York
  • National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, 
  • Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris
  • Art Institute of Chicago owns six of the twenty-five Haystacks
  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts,
  • Tel Aviv Museum of Art 
  • Shelburne Museum, Vermont.

Japanese Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies

Claude Monet was also a passionate gardener. When he wasn’t painting, he was gardening. The artist designed his garden so that it would burst with color throughout the year and in the different seasons. He added a beautiful water pond and a Japanese bridge crossing over it.

Monet loved his gardens so much that they became a major source of creative inspiration in his later years. He painted over forty versions of the Japanese Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies. These paintings are included in his famous Water Lilies series.

Japanese bridge painting- One of Monets most famous paintings
Claude Monet Japanese Bridge Painting

Art museums showcasing a Claude Monet Japanese Bridge Painting, include:

  • Musee D’Orsay in Paris
  • Marmottan Monet Museum, Paris
  • Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington
  • Princeton University Art Museum
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art

Claude Monet Japanese Bridge Painting
Claude Monet Japanese Bridge Painting (public domain)

The Saint-Lazare Station

Claude Monet painted Saint-Lazare Station when he lived in Argenteuil, a small village just outside of Paris. When he commuted to Paris, he traveled by train and arrived at the Saint-Lazare Station. Trains were now a new form of public transport. For Monet, this train station represented modern progress and the massive industrialization that was springing up all over the country.

In early 1877 Monet started working on a series of twelve paintings of the The Saint-Lazare Station. The steam engines fascinated Monet. His paintings capture the steam blowing into the air of the station. All other background elements are hidden in the haze.

These paintings were exhibited in the third Impressionist exhibition of April 1877 but the art world rejected them. Today they are considered one of Claude Monet’s most famous paintings and a wonderful snapshot of the 19th century industrial revolution.

The following museums have a painting from the The Saint-Lazare Station series:

  • Musee D’Orsay, Paris
  • Fogg Art Museum, USA
  • Chicago Institute of Art
  • National Gallery, London
  • Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris
  • Pola Museum of Art, Japan
  • Lower Saxony State Museum, Hanover
  • Würth Collection, Rome
Saint Lazare Station-One of Monets most famous paintings
Saint Lazare Station-Monet painting

For more information about Claude Monet, his impressionism paintings and how to travel in his footsteps, check out the articles below.