Claude Monet (artist)|
French, 1840 - 1926
Waterloo Bridge, Gray Day, 1903
oil on canvas
overall: 65.1 x 100 cm (25 5/8 x 39 3/8 in.) framed: 84.4 x 120 cm (33 1/4 x 47 1/4 in.)
Chester Dale Collection
Object 6 of 7
With their smokestacks, barge traffic, and busy bridges, Monet's London paintings were emphatically urban—the only urban subjects he painted after the 1870s. After returning to France following the Franco-Prussian War, he moved from Paris, preferring to live nearer the countryside. His interest in London and its light-filtering fog may have been spurred by admiration for the English artist J. M. W. Turner. Turner's luminous views challenged many traditional ideas of landscape painting. By the 1890s, paintings of the London fog were an established and popular subject among artists including American expatriate James McNeill Whistler (whose Grey and Silver: Chelsea Wharf is in the National Gallery of Art collection).
Like Whistler, most artists used a subdued palette and a limited range of colors to reproduce the grayness of the city. Monet's London paintings are quite different. Even in these subjects dulled by fog and coal dust, he perceived color in every form. Drifting mists are painted with delicate shades of lilac and pink, and the sky is tinged with pale olive. The shaded arches of the bridge are darkened with blues, not black, and its traffic is highlighted with brilliant flecks of scarlet.
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