Houses of Parliament (Monet series)

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Claude Monet painted a series of impressionist oil paintings of the Palace of Westminster, home of the British Parliament, in the autumn of 1899 and the early months of 1900 and 1901 during stays in London.[1] All of the series' paintings share the same viewpoint from Monet's window or a terrace at St Thomas' Hospital overlooking the Thames and the approximate canvas size of 81 cm × 92 cm (32 in × 36 3/8 in).[2][3] They are, however, painted during different times of the day and weather conditions.

By the time of the Houses of Parliament series, Monet had abandoned his earlier practice of completing a painting on the spot in front of the motif. He carried on refining the images back home in Giverny, France and sent to London for photographs to help in this. This caused some adverse reaction, but Monet's reply was that his means of creating a work was his own business and it was up to the viewer to judge the final result.

Gallery[edit]

Some of the 19 known paintings in the Houses of Parliament series:[4]

Context[edit]

Under exile during the Franco-Prussian War, Monet travelled to London for the first time in 1870.[5] Monet became enthralled with the city, and vowed to return to it someday. Monet's fascination with London lay primarily in its fogs,[6] a byproduct of the Industrial Revolution. But writers hypothesize that Monet was also inspired by contemporaries J. M. W. Turner and James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who were similarly fascinated by London's atmosphere and atmospheric effects in general.[7][8] Thus, in 1899, Monet returned to London and rented a room in the Savoy Hotel, which offered an extensive viewpoint from which to begin his series of the city.[9]

Between 1899 and 1905 Monet periodically travelled to London to paint.[10] In addition to the Houses of Parliament paintings, Monet created other paintings of the city's sights, including the Charing Cross Bridge series and Waterloo Bridge series. While Monet began all of the paintings in London, he completed many of them in his studio in Giverny. As a result, some critics question whether the paintings are completely accurate.[11] On the other hand, recent analyses of solar positioning report that Monet's paintings "contain elements of accurate observation and may potentially be considered as a proxy indicator for the Victorian smogs and atmospheric states they depict."[12]

Public display[edit]

Impressionists in London[edit]

In 2018 the Tate Britain in London exhibited six paintings of the series, together in a single room, for the duration of a temporary exhibition titled Impressionists in London, French artists in exile (1870–1904), devoted to the temporary exile of French and impressionist artists in London during the Franco-Prussian War. This was a rare occurrence because no museum owns or exhibits more than two in a permanent collection.[13][14]

The paintings were also shown at the Petit Palais when the temporary exhibition travelled from London to Paris.[15]

The six paintings were the examples from the following collections:

Monet & Architecture[edit]

Again in 2018 the National Gallery in London exhibited three paintings of the series, together in a single room, for the duration of a temporary exhibition titled Monet & Architecture, devoted to Claude Monet's use of architecture as a means to structure and enliven his art. This was a rare occurrence because no museum owns or exhibits more than two in a permanent collection.[17][18]

The three paintings exhibited were the examples from the following collections:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Claude Monet: The Houses of Parliament (Effect of Fog) (56.135.6) In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (December 2010)".
  2. ^ "Monet, Claude: Houses of Parliament, London".
  3. ^ "'Hospital view. Experts decipher where Monet was standing', James Randerson, Wednesday 9 August 2006, Guardian Unlimited".
  4. ^ "'Monet's view of London parliament for auction', Michael Parsons, 2 May 2015, The Irish Times".
  5. ^ Khan, Soraya; Thornes, John E.; Baker, Jacob; Olson, Donald W.; Doescher, Russell L. (2010). "Monet at the Savoy". Area. 42 (2): 208–216. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4762.2009.00913.x. ISSN 1475-4762.
  6. ^ House, John, 1945-2012. (1991). Monet. Monet, Claude, 1840–1926. (3rd ed.). London: Phaidon. ISBN 0-7148-2723-1. OCLC 28061909.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Sweetman, John (2019-05-23). The Artist and the Bridge 1700–1920. doi:10.4324/9780429440083. ISBN 9780429440083.
  8. ^ House, John, 1945-2012. (1991). Monet. Monet, Claude, 1840-1926. (3rd ed.). London: Phaidon. ISBN 0-7148-2723-1. OCLC 28061909.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Khan, Soraya; Thornes, John E.; Baker, Jacob; Olson, Donald W.; Doescher, Russell L. (2010). "Monet at the Savoy". Area. 42 (2): 208–216. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4762.2009.00913.x. ISSN 1475-4762.
  10. ^ Khan, Soraya; Thornes, John E.; Baker, Jacob; Olson, Donald W.; Doescher, Russell L. (2010). "Monet at the Savoy". Area. 42 (2): 208–216. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4762.2009.00913.x. ISSN 1475-4762.
  11. ^ Baker, Jacob; Thornes, John E (2006-12-08). "Solar position within Monet's Houses of Parliament". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 462 (2076): 3775–3788. Bibcode:2006RSPSA.462.3775B. doi:10.1098/rspa.2006.1754. S2CID 129004829.
  12. ^ Baker, Jacob; Thornes, John E (2006-12-08). "Solar position within Monet's Houses of Parliament". Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences. 462 (2076): 3775–3788. Bibcode:2006RSPSA.462.3775B. doi:10.1098/rspa.2006.1754. S2CID 129004829.
  13. ^ Brown, Mark (18 July 2017). "Monet's UK parliament paintings to feature in Tate Britain exhibition". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  14. ^ Sooke, Alastair (30 October 2017). "Not very impressionistic, but beautiful all the same – Impressionists in London Tate Britain, review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  15. ^ Palais, Petit (1 January 2018). "Impressionists in London". Petit Palais. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  16. ^ Krefeld, Kuntsmuseen (1 January 2018). "Art Before 1945". Kunstmuseen Krefeld. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Monet & Architecture". National Gallery, London. April 2018. Archived from the original on 20 December 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  18. ^ Cumming, Laura (8 April 2018). "Monet & Architecture". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 December 2018.

Further reading[edit]