Friday, January 21, 2011

Connecting Monet and the Still Life

Monet did his famous Haystack paintings from 1890 to 1891.  He had moved to his Giverny home several years before after his years in poverty.  From 1890 he concentrated on series of pictures in which he painted the same subject at different times of the day in different lights.  It is said that he began to see nuances in the effect of light on his subject to the point where he started a new canvas each time the light effect changed.  He was known to have as many as 100 canvases of the same motif on the go all at once.  The Haystacks and the Rouen Cathedral (1891-1895) are the best known, but there are many others.  (see These are very different from his early work from concept to brushwork.

Have a look at a few of the Haystack images.

Haystack - Pink and Blue

Haystack - Sun in the Mist

Haystack - Sunset

Haystack - Frost Effect

Haystack - Morning Effect

When you take these apart, you find that some were underpainted with a brilliant green.  Now, recall this.....

Block Studies

The block studies were conceived by Hawthorne and Hensche.  They were in pursuit of finding a way of getting one's eye to see what Monet saw.  You can see the connection.   Cezanne said of Monet "he is only an eye, but what an eye".  Of course Cezanne was going in a totally different direction from Monet.