Musement takes a look at eight of Claude Monet’s most iconic paintings and where you can find them.
Oscar-Claude Monet (1840-1926) and the Impressionist movement go hand-in-hand. A trailblazer, Monet pioneered a new concept that prioritized color and light over form. Instead of telling stories through painting, he aimed to transmit the sensation, or “impression”, that the landscape stirred in the subject.
He began painting landscapes during his childhood in Le Havre, studied at the Swiss Academy in Paris, and subsequently devoted his time to outdoor painting, especially in his garden in Giverny, where they say he died with a brush in his hand.
Below is a look at eight of Claude Monet’s most emblematic paintings and the museums where you can find them.
1. “The Water Lilies”, 1899
An extensive series of more than 250 oil paintings, the “Water Lilies” is Monet’s most famous. The artist realized the cycle of paintings during the last 30 years of his life. Confined in Giverny, he dedicated his time to studying the flora of his enormous garden through the changes of light and climatology. In the “Water Lilies”, Monet focused on the exotic setting conferred by his pond adorned and its iconic aquatic plants. Where: Orangerie Museum, Paris
2. “Impression, Rising Sun”, 1872
Monet’s first Impressionist work, this painting lends its name to the artistic movement he championed, which was taken up by other renowned artists such as Cézanne, Renoir, and Degas. “Impression, Rising Sun” was painted in the port of Le Havre and its loose stroke rendered it emblematic of Impressionism. Color, on the other hand, captures the essence of the maritime scene. Where: Marmottan Monet Museum, Paris
3. “Women in the Garden”, 1867
In this oil on canvas, Monet portrayed a summer day scene inspired by classic depictions. In Monet’s version, a few women appear in a garden wearing summer dresses, relaxed and carefree. Although Monet’s wife was the model, the real protagonist here is light: the play of reflections and shadows gives “Women in the Garden” a unique texture, even though the work was harshly criticized in its day. Where: Musée d’Orsay, Paris
4. “Twilight in Venice”, 1908-1912
Also called “Twilight of St. George Maggiore” or “Sunset in Venice”, this is from another of Monet’s series, this one inspired by the magical sunset over the city of Venice, an image he could see through his hotel window, with the cathedral and bell tower in the background. In this series, the sunset hues of bright oranges and yellows combined with the blue of the sky predominate with free brushstrokes. Where: Cardiff National Museum and Gallery, Cardiff
5. “The Terrace of Sainte-Andresse”, 1867
The setting for this painting is the spa town of Sainte-Andresse on the Norman coast, specifically painted from the terrace of a house with a sea view. It is said that the subjects are familiar to the painter, so it could be a tribute to his roots. In the background, sailboats and flags flutter in the sea breeze, which brings a lot of movement to the work. Where: The MET, New York
6. “The Promenade”, 1875
Also known as Woman with an Umbrella, this oil on canvas is one of Monet’s works. Here, he paints his wife Camille Doncieux and his eldest son, Jean, as a double portrait. Moving away from his recurring landscapes, the artist focuses on the human figure from a low perspective, with a light that invades most of the scene and gives the work a look so natural that it seems like a photograph. Where: National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
7. “The Station of Saint-Lazare”, 1877
The ”Station of Saint-Lazare” is a series of 12 paintings set in the Parisian train station, all with different perspectives. With these, Monet momentarily changed his beloved landscapes to reflect the urban world. He had just settled in Paris and wanted to diversify his theme, so he began to work with steam clouds and machinery, although he continued to give priority to color and light over detail, conferring an abstract point to the technical environment. Where: Musée d’Orsay, Paris
8. “Rouen Cathedral”, 1893
Another emblematic series, these 31 canvases of the Rouen Cathedral show the façade of the Norman capital’s Gothic temple at different points of the day and the year, with the consequent changes of light and climatic conditions. These paintings showcase how Monet manages to convert light into color in a masterly way. His objective, in fact, has always been to capture the instant, and this series is a perfect example of this. Where: Musée d’Orsay, Paris