Claude Oscar Monet concluded a series of boating paintings while living in Argenteuil – starting in 1872 – a semi-rural area that was only eleven kilometers by rail from Paris, yet offered 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 Impressionist painted Yachts At Argenteuil – Les Bateaux Rouges in French – in 1875. With vibrant colors, Monet represents his passion for the aesthetic of his surroundings in this oil painting. He highlights a central red boat that faces forward. There are many other white, blue, and black boats, which don’t grab the viewer’s attention as much as the red one. On the left side of the artwork, a couple stands on the wooden dock. The man wears blue pants and jacket, while the woman wears a long white dress, and both have hats on. Behind them, Monet painted light green vegetation and tall, dark trees. There are also some orange and brown houses behind the trees. All of these figures and colors reflect on the river water.
On the far background, the artist painted the city on the horizon with blue and white pigments. The right side of the canvas shows a part of a construction in which the white boat on the forefront is docked. It appears to be made of wood, in yellow and brown, as well as green details. The forefront also has bundles of green aquatic vegetation floating on the water. The sky varies in shades of blue and has some clouds scattered. Monet painted other similar paintings of the Seine river while living in Argenteuil, that composed his grand series, like The Red Boats, Argenteuil (Red Boats), and The Bridge at Argenteuil. These artworks reflect the significant influence that the Japanese art had on the artist, as well as other Impressionists, as many woodcut prints were arriving in Europe at the time.
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