Thursday, May 29, 2014


Édouard Manet (French, 1832-83)
The Railway
Signed and dated lower right: Manet 1873
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Gift of Horace Havemeyer in memory of his mother, Louisine W. Havemeyer, 1951.10.1 
Can you hear the thundering train approaching?  Is the train blowing off steam?  Where is the train?
Are we disrupting the woman in her reading?  The puppy does not seem to mind the noise.

Manet did this picture in the backyard of a friend's house.
You can see the windows of his studio in the upper left corner.
He painted this picture with quick, single brushstrokes.  The contrasts are sharp.  If he did not like something, he wiped the wet paint off with a cloth.  Zoom and you will see the raw canvas in some areas.

Manet was not an Impressionist!  He was friends with the Impressionists and they influenced each other. Manet and Monet were not related.
Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926)
The Saint-Lazare Station
Signed and dated lower right: 1877 Claude Monet
Oil on canvas, 75 x 105 cm
Pairs, Musée d'Orsay, Gustave Caillebotte Bequest, 1894
Monet was an Impressionist.
He sat inside the Saint-Lazare train station with his canvas and painted what he saw on the spot (en plein air).  How fast did he have to paint?  He was not interested in small details.  His picture is all about atmosphere, colors, light and the steam.  There are no hard edges and the colors blend.  
He painted this train station twelve times in different light and from various angles:

The First Class Carriage-1864
Watercolor, ink wash and charcoal on wove paper
20.5 x 30 cm
The Second Class Carriage-1864
20.5 x 30.1 cm
Watercolor, ink wash and charcoal on wove paper
The Third Class Carriage-1864
Watercolor, ink wash and charcoal laid paper
20.3 x 29.5 cm
All three Daumier watercolors:
Commissioned from the artist by William T. Walters;
Walters Art Museum, Baltimore MD, Henry Walters Bequest
Daumier liked to make fun of people.
What kind of mood are these passengers in?  Are they rich or poor?
In which carriage would you travel?

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