Claude Oscar Monet traveled to North-western France in 1882, in the small town of Pourville, where he stayed for a couple of months. During his stay, the Impressionist painted the seascape Cliffs And Sailboats At Pourville. He also painted his masterpiece entitled The Cliff Walk Pourville during the same year.
The artist was very enthusiastic about this new landscape and was eager to portray it. At the time, he was with his mistress and future wife, Alice Hoschedé. There was a significant artistic influence from the Japanese woodcut prints coming to Europe at the time, as they featured vibrant colors, unusual compositions, and themes of the daily life – like going to visit the beach with family. Monet creates many intimate and welcoming paintings by portraying modern subjects.
As an Impressionist, Monet valued working en plein air – meaning he worked outside to capture the optical effect light had on the landscape and its figures. This seascape is a perfect example of this representation of light through pigments of color. The painting Cliffs And Sailboats At Pourville portrays a seascape with many sailboats in the distances and hills painted in shades of blue, purple, green, and brown. The sea was painted with many shades of blue and green, as well as darker pigments in swift brushstrokes to depict waves. A small area of the shore can be seen on the left side of the canvas, as Monet painted the sand with fantastical shades of pink.
Monet’s vivid and Impressionistic brush strokes enabled him to capture the essence of this windy and sunny day. The sky is light blue and holds some pink and white clouds in loose strokes. The colors used in this seascape create an inviting and warm scene – even though the artist used blue as a predominant color. The brightest spots on the canvas are the white sails of the distancing boats, which reflect on the glimmering surface of the ocean. With simple brushstrokes and pure colors, Monet represents his vision upon the effects of sunlight over this seascape, having different effects on different surfaces. The artist exaggerated this effect by using extremely expressive brushstrokes and vibrant colors in The Cliff Walk Pourville – creating a scene with an intense amount of sunlight and movement.
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