During the summer of 1867, Claude Oscar Monet went to Le Coteaux to visit his cousin Paul-Eugene Lecadre – owner of the Le Coteaux. This was quite near Monet’s childhood town, in which he would visit often. The artist was inspired by the new view and concluded many oil paintings of the landscape. His Impressionistic take on the sunlight reflecting the vibrant colors of nature makes Jeanne Marguerite Lecadre In The Garden one of the most valuable paintings produced at Le Coteaux – which portrays the wife of Lecadre.
The Impressionists mainly worked outside, or in French en plein air, concerned with observing the sunlight’s effect on the landscape. The portrayal of light was essential for these modern painters, something that could not be observed by working in the studio – even though Monet would often finish his en plein air paintings in his studio. The incoming cultural influences of the Orient caused an impact on the Impressionist’s production, mainly because of the Ukiyo-e woodcut prints of the Japanese artists that arrived in Europe. Even though primarily these artworks had little or no value on the art market, the Impressionists collected many prints and studied their themes and aesthetic values.
In the landscape Jeanne Marguerite Lecadre In The Garden, Monet depicts a beautiful garden drenched in golden sunlight. The Impressionist creates an unusual composition, positioning Jeanne in the forefront on the far-left corner of the canvas. She is elegantly dressed in a long white gown and holding a white parasol. The artist used soft yellow to highlight her dress and blue for the shade. She is facing a blooming tree with white flowers, also in the forefront, standing in the middle of the canvas, on a red flower patch. The sunlight creates a diagonal shadow on the green grass.
The background is filled with tall, dark trees and bushes that lay against the sun – thus forming a beautiful contrast with the two main figures of the painting: Jeanne and the central flower patch. Behind this, another smaller illuminated tree was painted with tonalities of green and yellow. The far background is dark, and Monet featured light and contrasting bundles of pink and red flowers. Jeanne Marguerite Lecadre In The Garden is one of Monet’s many masterpieces, made from his love of nature and sunlight.
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