Thursday, September 14, 2023

Claude Monet's floating studio

French painter Claude Monet had numerous garden studios, including an absolute whopper that he built at Giverny for his waterlily work which he later felt was rather unsightly. By some distance the most charming was his floating studio boat.


Bought in 1872 following a successful sale of his work, Monet used the pale green boat fishing boat during the years he lived in Argenteuil, a few miles north west of Paris. He had a partly-enclosed wooden cabin built on it and the boat gave him access to vantage points unavailable form land. It was fully equipped with necessary supplies so he could spent the day painting on the water, whether on the move or anchored, though these were short trips rather than major excursions. The Regatta (Régates à Argenteuil, 1872), one of his most famous works and now in the Musee D’Orsay, was painted from this studio boat.  


Monet also included the boat in a number of his paintings, either drifting down the Seine or moored. His The Studio Boat (1876, pictured above) provides a view of it on the river from the back, looking a little like a small shepherd’s hut on top of a rowing boat, its twin back doors opened, a blurred figure sitting quietly inside either Monet himself or perhaps his wife Camille reading.


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