National Gallery of Art - EXHIBITIONS

The Impressionists at Argenteuil


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Introduction | Impressionism | Group Exhibitions | The Paris Suburbs | Impressions of Nature
Impressionist Techniques | Landscapes of Modernity | Leisure | Group Dynamics

Group Dynamics
Fig 9
One of the most unusual aspects of the impressionists' work at Argenteuil was their communal approach. On numerous occasions Monet stood alongside one of his artist friends, and both painted the same scene. Sisley was the first to visit Monet in Argenteuil in 1872, and they initiated this custom. Together they painted four different views, the earliest of which were the renderings of the Boulevard Hèloïse, one of Argenteuil's main thoroughfares. In 1873 and 1874 Monet continued this practice with Renoir, painting five pendant views, among them the paired versions of the celebrated Sailboats at Argenteuil. Such close cooperation was quite rare and gave the painters many opportunities to discuss their artistic strategies and to share information, observations, and technical innovations. When Manet visited Monet in Argenteuil in the summer of 1874, the older artist was encouraged to adopt the impressionist discipline of painting en plein air. In addition to working side by side, the artists also made portraits of one another during their stays with Monet. Renoir, for example, painted his host on four occasions, not only avoiding the expense of hiring a model but also deepening their friendship. As a group, the impressionists tried to put shared goals before individual differences, and common concerns before personal gains. Nowhere is this more apparent than in their paintings of Argenteuil.

Introduction | Impressionism | Group Exhibitions | The Paris Suburbs | Impressions of Nature
Impressionist Techniques | Landscapes of Modernity | Leisure | Group Dynamics