The Young Ladies of Giverny, Sun Effect
Oil on canvas
65 x 99.5 cm
Bequest of Loula D. Lasker, New York, through the America-Israel Cultural Foundation
Accession number: B61.12.1059
As a young artist in Paris Monet he was particularly impressed with the work of Courbet and Manet. During the 1860s he painted large-scale, ambitious works in an effort to attain fame at the Salon. Even at this early stage Monet wished to produce a monumental art equal to anything in the museums. These works differed from the conventional painting of his time in that he deliberately avoided the usual “polished” surface, opting rather to apply his paint in animated, separate, clearly defined strokes applied with a heavily laden brush. By the end of the decade, he had arrived at a new, modern approach to painting, which incorporated all the elements that would define the Impressionist style.
The decade of the seventies was one of consolidation of the principles of Impressionism. By the 1880s, like several of his colleagues, Monet become dissatisfied with his work and searched for new ways to express his growing awareness of the way atmospheric conditions influenced both the final painting, and his own personal responses to the motif. Slowly, he developed the idea of painting in a series, presenting the same subject under different conditions of light and weather. These series allowed him to concentrate on the “envelope,” the condition of the air surrounding objects, and to fully explore its changing effects. At the same time, when exhibited together, they achieved the monumentality for which he strove, while remaining completely modern in conception. The grain stacks, which he began in 1888, were the first of these large series to be exhibited together. These were followed by the Rouen Cathedral series of 1892 and finally the Water Lilies that occupied the last thirty years of his life.