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Les Pochades

These paintings must be looked upon as ‘esquisses’ or ‘pochades’ (pochade = preliminary sketch).

Ref. to John House ‘Monet – Nature into Art’, …the two versions of ‘La Grenoullière’ are those two paintings that Monet himself talked about as ‘bad pochades’. House writes: “Many of the less highly finished canvases, mostly dating from the 1880s and 1890s, that Monet signed and sold late in his life were probably originally kept as esquisses, paintings which were a comparative success in Monet’s own terms, but which he did not regard as sufficiently finished for him to put on the market at the date of execution.”

Monet also used the term pochade frequently to characterise his rapid sketches of particularly fleeting effects, sometimes painted on smaller canvases than normal, and thus conceived from the start as pochades. His earliest recorded use of pochade refers to his paintings of La Grenouillère: “I have a dream, a tableau of the bathing place of La Grenouillère, for which I’ve done some bad pochades, but it is a dream.” He showed his loyalty to his quickest and most direct notations of nature by exhibiting canvases with the subtitle impression or esquisse, (House chapter 9, p.161).


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