Research point: Look at artists who worked in series in the

Research point:
Look at artists who worked in series in the landscape such as Monet, Pissarro or
Cezanne. Make notes in your learning log about the challenges they faced and how
they tackled them.
Claude Monet 1870-1926
‘I slog away a lot. I am persistent, wanting to create a series of different effects’.
Quote by Monet
Monet found subjects in his immediate surroundings as he painted the people and
places which he knew best. His first wife, Camille, and his second wife, Alice,
frequently served as models. His landscapes chart journeys around the north of
France and to London, where he escaped the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71.
Returning to France at around 1880, Monet settled by the rural town of Giverny. His
homes and gardens became gathering places for friends, including Manet and
Renoir, who often painted alongside their host. Yet Monet's paintings cast a
surprisingly objective eye on these scenes, which include few signs of domestic
Monet was almost obsessed with the effects of light. He frequently worked out of
doors and would paint several versions of the same scene in different lights. He built
up the paint in thick impastos to achieve the ever changing effects suggestive of
motion which he sought. He had a fondness for painting series of works in which the
subjects were portrayed at different times of the day. Monet froze them in a swift
movement of visual perception.
Autumn at Argenteuil 1873
This impressionist painting superbly captures the effect of the sun, low in the sky, on
the gold coloured Haystacks: End of the summer 1891.
He was concerned here with painting the air and light at a given moment.
Paul Cézanne 1839 – 1906
‘Nature does not lie on the surface but hides in the depth, through colours whose
depths are revealed on the surface – they rise up from the roots of the world.’ Quote
by Cézanne.
Cézanne was disappointed with the lack of formal consideration in the work of his
impressionist contemporaries. His theory that all forms in nature are based on the
cone, the sphere and the cylinder gained him the reputation of being “the father of
modern painting”. He saw and interpreted the scene in front of him in these terms.
He worked on location in the hills around Aix-en-Provence in southern France, using
impressionist colour, but he was also influenced by Poussin and the classical
tradition in art.
Mountains in Provence 1885
The Provençal landscape provided the subject matter for hundreds of Cézanne’s
paintings and Mountains in Provence is a perfect summary of the preoccupations
and achievements of Cézanne at the beginning of his maturity. Cézanne’s concern
to give expression to the qualities of the landscape was always balanced by an equal
concern for the language of painting and harmony. His approach aimed not to
‘represent’ but to compose, to build his composition in a solid structure. He was
fascinated with structure and the way painting can tackle nature. His work can
summon up a broad range of sensations for the viewer. By using colour and space,
Cézanne obtained a superb degree of expressiveness.
Camille Pissarro 1830-1903
“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see
nothing.” Quote by Camille Pissarro
The French impressionist, Camille Pissarro, was a key figure in the history of
Impressionism. He experimented with the theories of colour devised by pointillist
Georges Seurat.
Camille Pissarro was born on July 10 on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas. After
spending his childhood in the Danish colonies in the West Indies, Pissarro ran away
to Venezuela to dedicate himself to art. In 1855, his father finally agreed for him to
train in Paris where he met the future impressionists. He then developed his own
personal style which was less interested in the changes in light and the sky than in
the geometrical structure of the landscape. He aimed to capture the sensations of
nature whilst retaining the lightness and purity of the colour.
With sons Ludovic-Rodolphe, Lucien,and Félix in
Knocke, Belgium,1894.
Country Girl Making a Fire 1887 - 1888
His long life (1830-1903) allowed him to develop his painting. During the first twentyfive years of his life, he mainly painted landscapes.
Red roofs, Corner of the Village , Effect of Winter 1877
His capacity for enthusiasm and his love of nature and bright observation around
him, Pissarro was able to paint scenes of unforgettable beauty.
To conclude, apart from working directly from the environment, Monet, Pissarro and
Cézanne’s principal revolutionary development was in their use of colour. They used
colour more purely and brightly than their predecessors. For example, they saw that
the shadows in nature are not simple the neutrals, black or grey, but blue, violet and
dark green. They were the rebels of their time and not afraid to experiment with new