Claude Monet (b. 1840–d. 1926) is the artist most closely associated with the term “Impressionism.” His paintings are among the most frequently viewed on the Internet, ranking fourth after Picasso, van Gogh, and Leonardo. Monet’s paintings command high prices at auction and his works are continuously featured in exhibitions around the world. Despite the international currency of Monet’s work, the scholarly literature since the mid-20th century is characterized by significant differences in interpretation from formalism to social history, feminism to psychoanalysis. It is not possible to include every worthy item here, but the annotated entries will orient the reader to the most significant trends. The point of view espoused with regard to these divergent perspectives is that they all enrich the literature on the artist because “the interminable reinterpretations to which [the work of art] is legitimately susceptible change it only into itself” (p. 139, The Merleau-Ponty Aesthetics Reader: Philosophy and Painting, ed. Galen A. Johnson and trans. Michael B. Smith. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1993). Monet began his career during the Second French Empire as a Realist painter under the influence of the older artists Courbet and Manet whose common goal was the representation of modern life. Monet achieved modest success at the principal art venue of the era, the Salon exhibition, with a pair of seascapes in 1865 and a large-scale portrait of a woman of fashion in 1866. However, Monet failed to complete for the Salon in 1866 or to have accepted in 1867 his attempts to achieve monumental representations of modern women and men engaged in public and private recreation. Such failures at the Salon may have encouraged Monet to organize in 1874 an independent exhibition along with his colleagues Pissarro, Degas, Cézanne, Renoir, and Morisot that has come to be known as the first Impressionist exhibition. It was during this nascent stage of the Third French Republic that Monet incurred the ridicule of the critics for his now-iconic painting, Impression, Sunrise, which gave the movement its name. The group held seven more independent exhibitions between 1876 and 1886, but by then Monet was already moving away from group exhibitions toward the solo presentation of ensembles of works at commercial galleries in Paris between 1888 and 1909, such as the Grainstacks, Cathedrals, and series of London and Venice. The dispersed monumentality of Monet’s series paintings eventually coalesced after World War I in the mural decorations of Water Lilies, posthumously installed at the Orangerie, now one of the most visited museums in Paris. The refurbishment of his home and gardens at Giverny and the exhibition of his final sketches and paintings at the Musée Marmottan Monet have made of these places shrines of art and tourism that attract thousands of visitors each year.
The laborious work of compiling the complete catalogue of Monet’s painted and graphic oeuvre of some two thousand items was first consolidated in the five largely black-and-white volumes Wildenstein 1974–1991 and then corrected and updated in the four full-color volumes Wildenstein 1996. Both editions are essential to obtain the most complete documentation and reproduction of Monet’s art. The massive documentation of the biography of the artist, the public exhibition and criticism of his works, and the worldwide acquisition of his canvases by collections both public and private necessitated the formidable resources of the Wildenstein Institute, the research arm of the Parisian gallery that employed a large team of historians and archivists. Essays in the celebratory catalogue Claude Monet (1840–1926): A Tribute to Daniel Wildenstein and Katia Granoff reveal behind-the-scenes elements of the production of the catalogue raisonné. The financial stake of the Wildensteins, first Daniel and more recently his son Guy, in determining the authenticity of Monet’s paintings should also be borne in mind, and some attributions and rejected attributions remain controversial (see Adam 2016). Pissarro 2010 clarifies the attribution to a little-known Swiss artist of a presumed self-portrait of the painter. Also listed here for its large catalogue of reproductions is the Flickr website Claude Monet.
Adam, Georgina. “Owner of Purported Monet Loses Case in French Court: Work Featured on BBC’s Fake or Fortune Programme in 2011.” Art Newspaper (7 January 2016).
Brief reference to controversy among Monet experts regarding the attribution of a painting, The Banks of the Seine at Argenteuil, not accepted by the Wildenstein Institute.
Compiled by Petrus Agricola, valuable collection of nearly 1,700 photographs of Monet’s paintings, many of high quality, with Wildenstein numbers and other pertinent elements of documentation.
Claude Monet (1840–1926): A Tribute to Daniel Wildenstein and Katia Granoff. New York: Wildenstein, 2007.
Celebration of Wildenstein’s contributions to Monet scholarship, with essays by Joseph Baillio on the collaborative making of the catalogue raisonné, by Charles F. Stuckey on the attribution of the 1884 portrait of Monet in his studio to John Leslie Breck, by Paul Hayes Tucker on Monet’s gridded compositional strategies, by Eric Zafran on collecting and exhibiting Monet in America, etc. Reviewed by Richard Kendall, The Burlington Magazine 149.1252 (July 2007): 510–511.
Pissarro, Joachim. “Monet’s Portraitist Unmasked.” Art Newspaper 219 (December 2010): 29.
Identification of the recently discovered portrait of Monet in his studio at Giverny, painted in 1885 not by the artist himself, pace Wildenstein (W891a), but by the little-known Swiss artist Charles-Alexandre Giron (b. 1850–d. 1914).
Wildenstein, Daniel, ed. Claude Monet: Biographie et catalogue raisonné. 5 vols. Lausanne, Switzerland, and Paris: La Bibliothèque des Arts, 1974–1991.
With the collaboration of Rodolphe Walter, Sylvie Crussard, France Daguet, Madeleine Manigler, Michèle Paret, et al. The very model of a catalogue of a major modern artist, massive in its biographical documentation and meticulous in enumeration of paintings, drawings, pastels, letters, and supporting pieces of historical evidence from published and unpublished sources. Reviewed by John House, The Burlington Magazine 120.907 (October 1978): 678–681, and 135.1086 (September 1993): 642. Volumes were originally published separately as Vol. 1: 1840–1881, Vol. 2: 1882–1886, Vol. 3: 1887–1898, Vol. 4: 1899–1926, Vol. 5: supplement and index.
Wildenstein, Daniel. Monet ou le triomphe de l’impressionnisme: Catalogue raisonné, Werkverzeichnis. 4 vols. Cologne: Taschen, 1996.
Unfortunately stripped of its scholarly apparatus of footnotes, letters, and supporting documentation, a full-color trilingual revised edition of the catalogue of paintings, minus drawings and pastels, with updated lists of bibliography, exhibitions, public and private collections, and pictorial subjects. Reviewed by Anthea Callen, Art History 22.5 (December 1999): 756–760. Catalogue consists of Vol. 1: biography; Vol. 2: 1858–1885, nos. 1–968; Vol. 3: 1885–1901, nos. 969–1595; Vol. 4: 1901–1926, nos. 1596–1983.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
- Activist and Socially Engaged Art
- Adornment, Dress, and African Arts of the Body
- Ancient Egyptian Art
- Ancient Pueblo (Anasazi) Art
- Angkor and Environs
- Art and Architecture in the Medieval Kingdom of Hungary
- Art and Propaganda
- Art of Medieval Iberia
- Art of the Crusader Period in the Levant
- Art of the Dogon
- Art of the Mamluks
- Art of the Plains Peoples
- Artemisia Gentileschi
- Arts of Senegambia
- Arts of the Pacific Islands
- Assyrian Art and Architecture
- Australian Aboriginal Art
- Aztec Empire, Art of the
- Babylonian Art and Architecture
- Bamana Arts and Mande Traditions
- Barbizon Painting
- Bartolomeo Ammannati
- Bernini, Gian Lorenzo
- Bohemia and Moravia, Renaissance and Rudolphine Art of
- Borromini, Francesco
- Brazilian Art and Architecture, Post-independence
- Burkina Art and Performance
- Byzantine Art and Architecture
- Caravaggio, Michelangelo Merisi da
- Carracci, Annibale
- Chaco Canyon and Other Early Art in the North American Sou...
- Chicana/o Art
- Chimú Art and Architecture
- Colonial Art of New Granada (Colombia)
- Conceptual Art and Conceptualism
- Contemporary Art
- Courbet, Gustave
- Czech Modern and Contemporary Art
- Daumier, Honoré
- David, Jacques-Louis
- Delacroix, Eugène
- Design, Garden and Landscape
- Destruction in Art
- Dürer, Albrecht
- Early Christian Art
- Early Medieval Architecture in Western Europe
- Eighteenth-Century Europe
- Ephemeral Art and Performance in Africa
- Ethiopia, Art History of
- European Art, Historiography of
- European Medieval Art, Otherness in
- Eyck, Jan van
- Festivals in West Africa
- French Impressionism
- Gender and Art in the Middle Ages
- Gender and Art in the Renaissance
- Gender and Art in the 17th Century
- Giotto di Bondone
- Gothic Architecture
- Gothic Art in Italy
- Goya y Lucientes, Francisco José
- Great Zimbabwe and its Legacy
- Greek Art and Architecture
- Greenberg, Clement
- Géricault, Théodore
- Iconography in the Western World
- Installation Art
- Islamic Art and Architecture in North Africa and the Iberi...
- Japanese Architecture
- Japanese Ceramics
- Japanese Literati Painting and Calligraphy
- Jewish Art, Ancient
- Jewish Art, Medieval to Early Modern
- Jewish Art, Modern and Contemporary
- Jones, Inigo
- Kahlo, Frida
- Katsushika Hokusai
- Lastman, Pieter
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Luca della Robbia (or the Della Robbia Family)
- Luisa Roldán
- Markets and Auctions, Art
- Marxism and Art
- Maya Art
- Medieval Art and Liturgy (recent approaches)
- Medieval Art and the Cult of Saints
- Medieval Art in Scandinavia, 400-800
- Medieval Textiles
- Meiji Painting
- Merovingian Period Art
- Moche Art
- Modern Sculpture
- Monet, Claude
- Māori Art and Architecture
- Museums in Australia
- Museums of Art in the West
- Nasca Art
- Native North American Art, Pre-Contact
- Nazi Looting of Art
- New Media Art
- New Spain, Art and Architecture
- Olmec Art
- Pacific Art, Contemporary
- Palladio, Andrea
- Parthenon, The
- Performance Art
- Perspective from the Renaissance to Post-Modernism, Histor...
- Peter Paul Rubens
- Philip II and El Escorial
- Photography, History of
- Pollock, Jackson
- Polychrome Sculpture in Early Modern Spain
- Postmodern Architecture
- Pre-Hispanic Art of Columbia
- Psychoanalysis, Art and
- Qing Dynasty Painting
- Rembrandt van Rijn
- Renaissance and Renascences
- Rivera, Diego
- Rodin, Auguste
- Roman Art
- Science and Conteporary Art
- Sculpture: Method, Practice, Theory
- South Asia and Allied Textile Traditions, Wall Painting of
- South Asia, Modern and Contemporary Art of
- South Asia, Photography in
- South Asian Architecture and Sculpture, 13th to 18th Centu...
- South Asian Art, Historiography of
- The Art of Medieval Sicily and Southern Italy through the ...
- The Art of Southern Italy and Sicily under Angevin and Cat...
- Theory in Europe to 1800, Art
- Timurid Art and Architecture
- Turner, Joseph Mallord William
- van Gogh, Vincent
- Viking Art
- Warburg, Aby
- Warhol, Andy
- Wari (Huari) Art and Architecture
- Wittelsbach Patronage from the late Middle Ages to the Thi...
- Women, Art, and Art History: Gender and Feminist Analyses
- Yuan Dynasty Art