National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Houses of Parliament, Sunset Claude Monet (artist)
French, 1840 - 1926
The Houses of Parliament, Sunset, 1903
oil on canvas
overall: 81.3 x 92.5 cm (32 x 36 7/16 in.) framed: 107 x 117.5 x 8.8 cm (42 1/8 x 46 1/4 x 3 7/16 in.)
Chester Dale Collection
1963.10.48
On View
From the Tour: Claude Monet: The Series Paintings
Object 5 of 7

Monet and his family lived in England briefly, seeking refuge there during the Franco-Prussian war (1870–1871), and returned in the late 1880s, staying with his artist friends James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent, expatriate Americans who acted as his guides and translators. He also spent time studying the Thames River.

Between 1899 and 1901, Monet made three trips to London specifically to paint. He went in winter, when the city was clouded with fog and the smoke of coal fires. "Without fog," Monet said, "London would not be a beautiful city. It is the fog that gives it its magnificent breadth." From his rooms on the sixth floor of the Savoy Hotel, Monet's view up and down the Thames provided him subject matter for several series pictures. He could see Waterloo Bridge, Charing Cross Bridge, and the Houses of Parliament. In all he completed more than one hundred Thames paintings. Most, like this one, render the city's famous landmarks as darkened silhouettes cloaked in the misty sky. He worked at prescribed times of day to capture this backlit effect, often complaining about the rapidity with which conditions changed.

In 1904, Monet exhibited thirty-seven London pictures, including this one and Waterloo Bridge, Gray Day at the gallery of his Paris dealer.

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