Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Monet's First Wife's Influence on His Paintings

monet and camille

camille Doncieux
Camille Donceaux in the Green Dress,
 Monet's first portrait of her 1875

Camille as Monet's fashionable model
 in The Strollers

Camille Reading

Camille holding her pet dog
Camille at the Beach

Camille in the Garden

Camille on her deathbed

 The Influence of the Popular Media - Drawings,
 Photography,and  Fashion Illustrations. 
For their full-body portraits of women, progressive painters
 such as Monet, Manet and Renoir were
 inspired by the popular pictorial world of their times. 

Already in the nineteenth century, Paris was the center
 of the international fashion world which became particularly  inspiring for many painters. Around the middle of the century, the first large department stores were opened - true consumption temples of fashion - 
and, for the first  time, outstanding tailors were 
celebrated as brilliant  designers. 

Numerous illustrated fashion magazines were
 launched. In them, young artists found idealized figures
 in intriguing poses which served to effectively show the 
fashionable silhouettes of the dresses they were wearing.

By  the 1860s, photographic portraits in the small carte 
de  visite format were very popular. Even for them, full-body  representations were characteristic. Photography was still  young in those days, and the painters were greatly interested in it; but, on the other hand, photographers also  took over presentations, poses and attributes from 

The purpose of all of these media was to present fashionable  clothes.

Soon after Monet, Renoir and Carolus Duran had exhibited  portraits of their friends in the Salon, they received orders for representative paintings from the bourgeoisie.
 Now they had to bring their artistic ambitions in line with
 the ideas of their clients.
The three artists dealt with this task quite differently: in his
 Portrait of Madame Gaudibert, Monet did paint a
 representative interior, but he showed only a lost profile 
of his model, so her face can hardly be recognized. That
 way, he refused to go along with the main purpose of 
bourgeois reminiscent paintings.
 He soon gave up painting  portraits altogether and became
 a pure landscape painter.
Renoir, on the other hand, tried to balance his liberal artistic
 style and the representative purpose of a portrait. In the
 late 1870s, he created several paintings ordered by 
collectors and intellectuals.

Carolus-Duran came closest to meeting the expectations 
of his clients. His Portrait of Madame Feydeau is an 
adaptation of Monet's Camille to the taste of a broad
 public: his model turns her face towards the viewer, and 
its individual lines have carefully been worked out. Even
 her pose and the way her clothes are painted comply 
with her representative demands. Hence, Carolus-Duran 
became the favorite portraitist of the Parisian upper 
middle classes.

8) Small-Format Variations - A Fashionable Genre in an 
Impressionist Style
Full-body portraits of women were not only done in large
 formats. Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Monet's close friend, transferred 
the motif into smaller formats in the 1870s and incorporated
 it in genre-type situations such as strolling, reading, or 
taking care of pets. The compositions and the narrative
 style of his paintings thus verged upon the popular 
single-figure genre. At the same time, however, 
he transformed this genre into an Impressionist style.
Here, too, the lines between genre and portrait are indistinct:
 the painting Camille Monet Reading is an individual portrait,
 but it shows the model in her domestic environment, doing  something quite normal.

Despite his early success with Camille in the Green
Dress, Monet and  his friends later kept being rejected 
by the conservative jury of the Salon. 1874 was the first year in which they  organised an independent exhibition
to show their works.
 Here, Monet's painting Impression was also
 shown, which made a critic disparagingly call the artists

 Although they differed greatly in style,
 the Impressionists were all interested in motifs taken
from modern life, and they all had a free, individual techniques. Today, the 1870s are considered the
prime years of Impressionism.

Camille acted as tireless model for Monet and many of
his friends, immortalized in these beautiful works. 

(I love the brave Impressionists. Text from the 2006 exibition catalog-BBL)

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