Though Claude Monet is credited with founding the Impressionist movement, the name was unintentional. Challenged by the collection of paintings that constituted the so-called "exhibition of rejects" in 1874, critics later borrowed the name from Monet's now-famous "Impression, Sunrise," completed in 1872 and exhibited at the exhibition. Although the term was not new, it served as a banner for artists who broke away from traditional visual art forms and styles. In this work, Monet abandoned clarity and detail to capture a fleeting moment at the port of Le Havre. This quality came to characterize the Impressionist movement as a whole. Monet's treatment of luminance, the depiction and play of light, throughout the painting is particularly important in the work as well as to Impressionists generally.
Questions to Consider
- How does the painting attempt to engage with memory? Is it capturing a memory or is it depicting one?
- How does this painting change from one viewing to the next?
- How do you interpret the meaning of the background?