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Autumn effect at Argenteuil
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Group: Modern Life Modern Vision

Artist: Claude MONET
Birth/Death: 1840–1926

Title: Autumn effect at Argenteuil
Date Made: 1873

Lender: Courtauld Gallery, Courtauld Institute of Art

Monet probably painted Autumn effect, Argenteuil from his studio boat, which he rowed up and down the river at Argenteuil. It was shown in the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874. One can imagine the shock of seeing its colours, which were more brilliant than those in earlier French landscape painting.

The fracturing of solid form into numberless brushstrokes can be seen strikingly in Autumn effect at Argenteuil, which was exhibited in the First Impressionist Exhibition in 1874. The striking contrast between golden foliage and bright blue water is unthinkable without the example of Japanese prints. In Hiroshige’s The ‘Monkey Bridge’ in Kai Province the blue water is framed asymmetrically by gold and green planes, just as Monet hemmed the blue water between golden trees and reflections that are shadowed with green. In the print, luminous planes of iridescent orange-pinks represent autumn foliage; Monet built his from myriad touches of variegated orange-yellows. Hiroshige’s image was printed in subtly modulated yellow, green, blue and orange-pink; Monet has used two scales of colour — blues, heightened by luminous tinted whites, and orange-yellows with tinges of green.

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