Painter of the Week: Claude Monet. Today: Springtime. 1872. Oil on canvas. Height: 50 cm (19.7 in). Width: 65.5 cm (25.8 in)
Monet moved to Argenteuil, a suburban town on the right bank of the Seine River northwest of Paris, in late December 1871. Many of the types of scenes that he and the other Impressionists favored could be found in this small town, conveniently connected by rail to nearby Paris. In this painting, Monet was less interested in capturing a likeness than in studying how unblended dabs of color could suggest the effect of brilliant sunlight filtered through leaves. During the early 1870s, Monet frequently depicted views of his backyard garden that included his wife, Camille, and their son, Jean. However, when exhibited at the Second Impressionist Exhibition in 1876, this painting was titled more generically, “Woman Reading.”
Claude Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926) was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. The term Impressionism is derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise (Impression, soleil levant).