Claude Oscar Monet painted Woman With A Parasol – also known as Figure Outdoors (Facing Left) – in 1886. The artist had stopped portraying figures in his artwork, after working this way for a while during the 1860’s. Monet saw these figures as natural elements found in the landscapes, but as we can observe in Woman With A Parasol, he now saw the figure to be of more significance than the landscape itself.
This Impressionistic portrayal of Suzanne Hoschedé, his stepdaughter, is similar to his masterpiece The Walk Woman with a Parasol, painted more than ten years earlier. Monet changed the position of the woman and the green parasol, but kept a low viewpoint, like in his previous work. The grass was painted in tonalities of orange and green. The blue sky is filled with white clouds, and Suzanne’s scarf blows gracefully in the wind.
After an extensive period of continental travel and the death of his long-term partner Camille, the wife of one of his primary patrons, Alice Hoschedé, became like a mother to Monet’s children; Jean and Michel. As Ernest worked to reestablish himself as a successful businessman, thus spending little time at home, Alice and Monet’s relationship developed into love. Eloping together, Monet decided to travel the country until he found the countryside and house that suited him, Alice, and their respective children. A few years later the pair settled on Giverny, a village about eighty kilometers from Paris. In the early 1880s, Monet settled with his new partner Alice and their children from previous partners at their family home in Giverny.
Monet worked mainly en plein air, meaning he painted outdoors. As an Impressionist, the painter was concerned in observing the natural sunlight and its optical effects on the scene. Monet and his colleagues had a passion for nature and often worked together portraying the same landscapes. In part, this was inspired by the Japanese art and their woodcut prints representing nature and ordinary themes of the daily life. The technique for these prints is called Ukiyo-e, similar to traditional woodcut, using watercolor with bright pigments, artists worked with flattened perspectives and simple figures.
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