During the 300 years that yachting has officially existed as a form of leisure, it has attracted a variety of people. Aristocrats and sportsmen, rich men and enthusiasts, writers and artists were fond of sailing ships. This article is about the trail that yachting left in the work of such famous impressionist painters as Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir and Gustave Caillebotte. Claude Monet and his Argenteuil [...]
During the 300 years that yachting has officially existed as a form of leisure, it has attracted a variety of people. Aristocrats and sportsmen, rich people and enthusiasts, writers and artists were fond of sailing ships. This article is about the trail that yachting left in the work of such famous impressionist painters as Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir and Gustave Caillebotte.
Claude Monet and his Argenteuil
Argenteuil - a small town on the banks of the Seine, in fact, a suburb of Paris. It was made famous all over the world by the impressionist painters - Monet, Renoir, Caillebotte - who worked here in the last quarter of the 19th century.
Most people know one of the "ideologues" of Impressionism, Claude Monet, thanks to his famous series of haystacks. But Monet had other facets as well. In many of his works, reservoirs, boats and sailing ships appear.
The theme of yachting penetrated so deeply into the artist's work that his famous colleague Edouard Manet even called Monet "Raphael of the Water".
December 1871 Claude Monet together with his family he moved to Argenteuil. The town is popular with lovers of yachting and rowing, and the proximity to Paris (Argenteuil is connected to the capital by train) make it convenient in terms of logistics. For the next 10-15 years Argenteuil will become a kind of "creative hub" of the emerging impressionism, and thus will forever secure its place in the history of world art. Monet will spend 7 years in this city, which he will later remember as happy and serene time.
With the money received after the successful sale of one of the paintings, Claude Monet buys a boat and builds a hut on it, thus making something like an impromptu workshop. As he himself said, "there was just enough space to put the easel."
Boat work helps him to better understand the play of sunlight on the water. For 5 years, Claude Monet has been creating his famous series "Boats at Argenteuil", among which there will be works that reflect the very essence of the artist's creative manner.
Perhaps the most frequently cited work will be "Red boats at Argenteuil" (or simply "Argenteuil"). It is unlikely that in reality these sailboats were really red, although who knows? Monet is not an academic artist who reflects reality with the precision of a photographer. Like other representatives of this new movement in art, Monet works with emotions and contrasts, and the name itself impressionnisme comes from the word impression, "impression"... Hence the experimentation with colors, broken strokes, light and shadow. And the surface of the river covered with duckweed, through which the blueness of water and sky appears - Monet's paintings are extremely "physiological" and textural. It is as if you are not just looking at them, but touching them with a glance. Today, one painting is in the Orangerie Museum, Paris, France, and the other is in the Harvard Art Museum.
Another famous yacht painting by Monet - "Regatta at Argenteuil"... On the canvas are yachts frozen before the start of the competition with sails raised. There is a calm on the river, the silhouettes of boats are reflected in the water surface. The landscape seems transparent and serene, so that in a few minutes it will explode with sports excitement.
And in the next picture with the same name, the regatta is shown in dynamics. The boats cut across the surface of the water, which is already devoid of calm, and the darker tones convey the competitive drama of the race. Both paintings are in the collection of the Musée d'Orsay.
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Auguste Renoir. Friends at the pier
In the early 70s of the XIX century, another famous artist spent a lot of time in Argenteuil, Pierre Auguste Renoir - friend and "colleague" of Claude Monet. Friends often worked together, and the theme of sailing boats on the Seine was thoroughly settled in their work this period.
Renoir painting "Seine at Argenteuil" full of serenity and grace - these feelings permeate most of the works of the great impressionists of the "Argenteus period".
As if the proximity to the water and sailing ships brought them back to real life, far from the bustle and intrigue of the capital.
Paris is just an hour away by train - and seems to be in another dimension. In the early 70s of the XIX century, when Monet and Renoir paint most of their yacht paintings, the Impressionists are far from being "masters". The path of this new movement in art is just beginning, and the artists are not recognized by the academic community. Friends are often interrupted by odd jobs, rejoicing when at least some of their paintings are for sale. Glory is still a long way off. But later art critics will talk about this period in art as "The era of impressionism", and paintings will cost tens of millions of dollars and will be snapped up in eminent museums and private collections. And if anyone will remember the "academics" who criticized impressionism, then only in connection with the impressionists.
In another picture "Seine at Argenteuil" (or "Sailboats at Argenteuil") - completion of the working day. A man after clean work in the "office" of that time (this can be seen from the suit) came to chat with the fisherman. The boat's sails are not lowered, but Renoir can be forgiven for such a "technical inaccuracy" - otherwise, how would he convey this soft creamy color of the fabric?
And here is the Renoir's vision of the regatta in Argenteuil. The picture is not painted with lines, but with color spots and the yachts are more likely to be guessed along the contour of the sails than visible. Fast, wide strokes capture the moment, capturing dynamics of nature and race... The painting is in the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
In love with yachts. Gustave Caillebotte
Gustave Caillebotte was, in a sense, an exception in the bohemian artistic get-together. Belonging to the upper strata of French society, he inherited a decent fortune from his parents, which allowed him to create without worrying about selling his paintings. Moreover, he even supported his artist friends, the same Claude Monet or Auguste Renoir, buying their works. He also spent money on his hobbies, one of which was yachting.
Caillebotte not only drew boats - he also built them and participated in regattas.
Since 1879 he won regattas on the Seinedrawing public attention to their innovative and graceful racing yachts. In 1881, he bought an estate in Petit-Gennevilliers on the banks of the Seine near Arjateu, where he was yacht club Cercle de la Voile de Paris... In a few years, this house will become the permanent residence of the artist, and yachting will sound with special force in his work.
Of course, Caillebotte was influenced by the manner and views of his friends, Monet and Renoir, who began to "develop" the theme of yachting in Argenteuil several years earlier.
In 1888 he created a painting "Sailboats at Argenteuil"... Critics then considered it somewhat "irrelevant" against the background of the already existing works of Monet, Renoir and Sisley. But in fact, the piece is extremely successful in terms of composition and balance. The picture is structured by a combination of horizontal and vertical lines, bridges and masts. We see a whole flotilla of pleasure yachts, two of which are sailing with the mainsail and staysail raised, asking the picture rhythm and dynamics - as if it was written in hot pursuit (as it may have been). Today this painting is in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.
For a long time, Caillebotte the artist was in the shadow of his image as a connoisseur of art and a patron of the arts - the artistic reassessment of his works will begin 70 years after his death, and at the beginning of this century, the value of his works will amount to tens of millions of dollars.
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