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Meet Monet at a pivotal moment in his pursuit of impressions in Monet at Étretat in Seattle

Christian Fernsby |
This focused exhibition places SAM’s Monet painting, Fishing Boats at Étretat, within the larger landscape of this important painter’s artistic development.

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During the 1880s tensions in the artist’s life and increasing financial pressure to produce marketable work took Monet to the seaside town of Étretat on the Normandy Coast, well known as a destination for tourists and artists. This period of artistic frustration and self-doubt turned out to be fruitful in a way he could not imagine at the time.

In 10 paintings created by Monet and 12 works by other artists of his era, this exhibition sheds light on an oft-overlooked period of growth in Monet’s life that created the myth of a man Guy De Maupassant described as “no longer a painter but truly a hunter... in pursuit of impressions."

Quotes from Monet’s letters during his time in Étretat share his struggles to please his art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel.

Monet decided to visit Étretat in the hopes that paintings of its famous cliffs would have broad appeal. Lonely and anxious over his unresolved relationship with Alice Hoschedé, the wife of his patron and surrogate mother to his children, Monet was also financially insecure during this time. Exchanges between Hoschedé and Monet humanize this art historical figure as we see Monet working to create original work and still satisfy the market.

When: Now on view
Where: Seattle Art Museum, 1st Ave and Union St., Seattle, Wash.

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