Monet's Regatta At Argenteuil, painted around 1872 coincides with the artist's arrival in the village of Argenteuil, a semi-rural area that was only eleven kilometers by rail from Paris yet offered the landscapes and scenes ideal for the artist to perfect his style. Shunning city-life, Monet immersed himself in the pastoral surroundings of life beside the Seine.
In the first decades of the XIX century, boating had come fashionably in the regions along the Seine and Argenteuil became the site of a series of boat races due to the vast basin of the river in the area. The village was filled with spectators and competitors on Sundays, offering the perfect conglomeration of subjects, light, and water which would mingle to forge Monet's unique style. The painter's Regatta At Argenteuil is still a visionary reproduction of an ephemeral scene, painted only two years before the first Impressionist exhibition that would catapult its members to notoriety and fame.
Monet's Regatta At Argenteuil features the short, sharp, and fragmented brushstrokes that would become emblematic of the artist's style, capturing the movement of sun and air and the shifting impressions of the natural light, forging an intangible reproduction of the scene. The Impressionist divides the canvas about in half with the sky and the water. The sky is painted in a calm manner with soft brush strokes and a light blue similar to the river. The white sails stand out as if they were clouds and create a beautiful reflection on the water. The right side of the canvas portrays the shore with a burst of color – red and orange houses and bright green grass and trees.
Monet's time at Argenteuil was one of intense productivity, attempting to capture the movement of the Seine from many vantages and viewpoints. Monet even acquired a small boat which he turned into a studio. The variety that Monet sought was found in the ways his fragmented brush-strokes could respond to the changes in weather, sun, and shade and the different impressions of light that could remain on the canvas after the light departed. Regatta At Argenteuil is an exceptional artifact of a master craftsman at the high-water mark of his early inspiration and experiment, spurred on by the natural beauty of the world around him and the encouragement of his fellow artists who would soon become known to history as the Impressionists.
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