Art & Architecture

Painting with Monet

A major reassessment of the methods and meaning of impressionism


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Apr 16, 2024
183 color + 13 b/w illus.
Art & Architecture
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At pivotal moments in his career, Claude Monet would go out with a fellow artist, plant his easel beside his friend’s, and paint the same scene. Painting with Monet closely examines pairs of such works, showing how attention to this practice raises tantalizing new questions about Monet’s art and about impressionism as a movement.

Is impressionist painting an objective attempt to capture reality as it really is? Or is it a subjective expression of the artist’s unique way of perceiving things? How can artists create a movement without conformity extinguishing individuality? Harmon Siegel reveals how Monet explored problems like these in concrete, practical ways while painting alongside his teachers, Eugène Boudin and Johan Barthold Jongkind; his friends, Frédéric Bazille and Pierre-Auguste Renoir; and his hero, Édouard Manet. At a time of major cultural upheavals, these artists asked how we can know reality beyond our personal perception. Siegel provides new insights into the aesthetic, philosophical, and ethical stakes for these painters as they responded to a rapidly changing society.

Beautifully illustrated, Painting with Monet sheds critical light on how Monet and his fellow impressionists, painting side by side, professed their capacity to know the world and affirmed their belief in what Siegel calls the reality of others.