The River Scene Contact Information Claude Monet

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Peppered with sand

Lots of sand, grass blade and dirt is found in our paintings. As we mentioned before, they were once taken down from the stretchers, and piled with other canvases. Damages, caused by folding, bear witness to an ungentle treatment. They were folded when the paint still had not dried. Click on the pictures to see them larger.

Detail of hat showing piece of grass.

Detail of dress showing grains of sand.

Detail Showing outline-drawing and impression from another canvas.

Impressions in the paint surface can bee seen in many places. For a pleasant comparison, please read this: “The Beach at Trouville, macro detail of flattened paint, showing canvas impression”, and this: “…is the quintessential plein-air painting – so much so the surface of the painting is peppered with grains of real sand…”

Sand grains
and canvas impression on The Beach at Trouville
(ill. from 'art in the making')

The final texture effects found in Impressionist paintings are the unusual, singular ones, unique to particular paintings. Accidental occurrences like the sand grains on The Beach at Trouville add a pleasing anecdotal element to our view of the making of the painting.” in ‘Art in the making: Impressionism’ The National Gallery, London, 1990.

Accidental ” – that´s the question!? Perhaps it was no accident at all! What we learnt by now from Monet´s paintings is that they certainly are not created by accident, on the contrary, the least little detail was carefully calculated . What we also know is that Monet always enforced that he was painting out of doors, ’en plein air’. What would be more natural than to prove that the painting was executed ’on the spot and from nature’ by adding some grains of sand etc? ”Accidently”…

Another example of such an ’accident’ is the Nymphéas from 1907 in the Göteborg Art Museum. Here a little brown leaf is attached to the paint surface and it really seems like it is fixed there, on purpose, with a small daub of paint! It is likely that if such ’souvenirs’ once existed, most of them have disappeared when the pantings were cleaned by restorers. Just like what happened to the sandgrains in 'the Beach at Trouville', "Until recent cleaning, the full extent of the sand was not appreciated, because much of it had been discreetly retouched during a previous restoration", Art in the Making Impressionism, p.130.

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