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The Pointe de la Hève at low tide
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Group: Modern Life Modern Vision

Artist: Claude MONET
Birth/Death: 1840–1926

Title: The Pointe de la Hève at low tide
Date Made: 1865

Lender: Kimbell Art Museum, Forth Worth, Texas

In 1864, when he was 23 years old, and still an art-student, Monet began painting The Pointe de La Hève at low tide. It was exhibited in the 1865 Paris Salon - the only place where an artist could make a reputation.

Monet needed to have a success so he painted a relatively conventional work. The subject-matter was traditional - a fisherman, peasants gathering seaweed. Not a hint of the modern world such as the steam ships that constantly passed this headland. For the beach, land and sky, Monet used darker tones - browns, greys, dull greens, blues and ochres. They contrast with the paler tones of the ocean, surf and clouds to create a powerful impression of the light that signals an impending storm.

The paint is quite abstract — For example the long ripples on the shore are painted with the same definition as the pebbly beach and distant forms are as sharp as close ones. This has the effect of flattening depth into a surface pattern. These effects may well have been influenced by similar qualities in Japanese prints.

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