Claude Oscar Monet painted Yellow Irises With Pink Cloud during the final stage of his career, starting in 1914 and finishing in 1917. During this time, the painter was living in Giverny, as he and his wife had found a house for their many children in 1883. After many years of travel, Monet went back to his home where he stayed until his last days.
This was a delicate time in the artist’s life, for he was dealing with the death of his second wife, Alice Hoschedé, who passed away in 1911. His oldest son, Jean, son of his first late wife Camille, and who was married to Alice’s daughter, also passed away, only three years after his stepmother’s death. Jean widowed wife, Blanche, looked after Monet during this period. The artist began developing cataracts at this time and almost gave up painting altogether. The problems he established in his vision transformed his way of painting in an almost abstract manner. The artworks he produced during this period later inspired the Abstract Expressionists of the 1940s. At the end of Monet’s life, he underwent two surgeries, and afterward – with better eyes sight – he retouched some of his water lily paintings, adding more shades of blue.
In Yellow Irises With Pink Cloud, the Impressionist created a beautiful painting in a simplistic manner. The overall painting depicts a purple-blue sky with loose brushstrokes. The top left corner has a light purple and pink cloud with dark contours. There are six bright yellow and orange irises popping out of the sky in a beautiful complementary contrast. The use of complementary color palettes was mainly used by the Pointillists, and this knowledge was shared by other modern painters.
There are long, thin green stems and leaves sprouting from the ground – including one that seems to connect to the cloud. The bottom of the painting is not defined, as the expressive brush strokes fade into the white canvas, not showing the earth. This artwork clearly reflects the significant influence the Japanese art had on Monet and his visual production. The Impressionist collected woodcut prints by many Japanese artists like Hiroshige and Hokusai. These prints brought scenes of nature with vibrant colors and dark contours, characteristics that can be seen in Yellow Irises With Pink Cloud.
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