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Towing a Boat, Honfleur

21 3/4 x 32 5/16 in. (55.2 x 82.1 cm)

Claude Monet
France (Paris, 1840 – 1926, Giverny, France)

Object Type: Painting
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Gift of Marie C. and Joseph C. Wilson
Accession Number: 1991.35
Location: Currently on view
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"All that is painted directly, at a given moment, has a force, power, and vitality which can never be duplicated in a studio." --Eugène Boudin, to his student Claude Monet

Claude Monet’s early paintings were solidly grounded in the work of the preceding generation of French landscape painters called the Barbizon school. Their insistence on painting en plein air, or out of doors, led to Monet’s passion for capturing the transience of light.

Towing a Boat, Honfleur, painted ten years before the term Impressionism was coined, captures the moment that night overtakes sunset. It is one of the earliest of Monet’s many seascapes. As an experiment in reproducing the changing effects of light under different atmospheric conditions, the painting shows his process of abstracting nature into simplified forms and exaggerated color contrasts.

[Label copy from Monet: Vision and Process exhibition, 2018]

Backing board. Back of canvas not seen 7/08.

Gift of the artist? to his brother, Léon Monet, Rouen; Carcano, Paris; Mayer, Switzerland; Wildenstein Gallery, New York, 1970; purchased from them by Marie C. and Joseph C. Wilson, Rochester, New York; their gift to the Gallery in 1991

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Art Alive: Towing a Boat, Honfleur Using MAG's Learning to Look/Looking to Learn philosophy, guide students' looking and use open-ended questions to elicit personal responses. Includes many suggestions for classroom activities and connections to reinforce ELA skills.
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