Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Studio Boat #3 and Monet painting poplars on the Epte

The Studio Boat (1875) by Claude Monet
oil on canvas / private collection

Claude Monet made a number of paintings of his studio boat.  This is the second painting - with one more to come.  In 1875 Monet was painting on the River Seine near Argenteuil.

I used to spend ages trying to work out how Monet painted some of his paintings - until I went to see the Manet to Picasso exhibition at the National Gallery in 2007, got the audio guide and heard how his habit was to use a studio boat on the River Epte - which is how I got interested in paintings of his studio boat.  (Click the link to see the location of the River Epte near Monet's house at Giverny)

Below is a sketch I did (see Sketching at the National Gallery: "Manet to Picasso") plus an extract from what I noted at the time.

Copies of National Gallery paintings from Claud Monet's "Poplars on the Epte" series
oil on canvas
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
I started with two of my favourite paintings from Monet's Poplars on the Epte series. This time I got the audio guide and learned that:
  • there are 24 paintings in the series depicting the poplars at different times of the day and in different weath
  • Monet painted them from a flat bottomed boat borrowed from his friend Caillebotte which had been specially adapted so that it could take canvases of different sizes. ( The painting from a boat habit reminded me of John Singer Sargent who used to sketch in Venice while sat in a gondola - I'm beginning to think about devising a boating expedition!)
  • He had to buy the land that the poplars stood on to avoid them being cut down before he had completed the series!
The one on the left does not compare well to the original due to lack of the right colours in my tiny pencil case. The one on the right worked rather better - but I could have done with my big sketchbook!

Given the dates of the paintings I'm guessing Monet's habit of using a studio boat must have started much earlier when he first started living next to rivers.

For earlier posts about Monet and studio boats see:
For more about Monet see Claude Monet - Resources for Art Lovers


vivien said...

a boating expedition in Cornwall would be good!

SKIZO said...


Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

Thanks Katherine...suh great info and yes, wouldn't a boating expedition be geat?

Caroline Peña Bray said...

One of my favourite tales from the history or art and indeed some of my favourite works. I'm delighted to see you've written about it and made your own lovely interpretations. This makes for a great blog - informative as well as creative. Wonderful!