Camille Monet et un enfant au jardin
64.7 x 55.3 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA
Camille, Monet's first wife, is shown with a child in the garden of their house in Argenteuil, near Paris, where they lived between 1872 and 1877. Today, Claude Monet is primarily known as a landscape painter, but in the beginning of his artistic career, he used to concentrate on portraits. No one else appeares in Monet's paintings as often as Camille. In those year, portraits of women were mostly ordered by bourgeois clients, but among progressive painters, the artistic structure became more important than the identity of the portrayed person. The masterly style, the lack of details, and the plainness of the colours led to a completely new directness of expression, independent of the facial gestures of the depicted person. In this picture, the shimmering reds, blues, greens, and white that capture the brilliance of a sun-drenched day are applied with many small brushstrokes, whose varied shapes create the different textures of flowers, grass, and clothing. Meanwhile, the features of the woman are completely indistinct.