Claude Monet (1840-1926) was a pioneer of French Impressionist painting. Impressionism was characterised by visible brush strokes and an emphasis on the specific effects of light and weather on realistic landscapes. These paintings portrayed overall visual effects instead of details, the name of the movement itself deriving from Monet’s works, Impression, Soleil Levant. Monet’s source of inspiration for a number of his paintings came from the nature surrounding him, he was once quoted, “I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”
Despite being known for his innovative paintings of the countryside, gardens and coast of his native France, Monet consistently used architecture as a means to structure and enliven his art. This often-overlooked feature is one that we took great interest in; the way in which Monet draws inspiration from buildings for their architectural structure and subsequent reflections of light and changing colours mirrors the creative inspiration behind many of our own designs.
We had a look at Monet & Architecture at The National Gallery, the first exhibition of its kind: a retrospective that looks at Monet’s career through the buildings he painted. Spanning across Normandy, Rouen, Paris, London and Venice, there are buildings from villages by the coast to some of Europe’s most famous monuments which contribute to a collection of more than 75 paintings that offer a new way of looking at Monet’s work.
The exhibition has been extremely popular, with certain days entirely sold out. Upon entry it is easy to see why. Monet’s sublime paintings make for a truly impressive exhibition, featuring hazy sunsets, reflections on water and moments captured in time, such as a jubilant street celebration. Recently, Christie’s held an auction of David Rockefeller’s private art collection, among which there was a painting by Monet from his water garden series that sold for a record $84.7m, a new world auction record for the artist. If this sounds as if it would be a little over budget, we have brought together a few pieces inspired by the delicate palette and nature-inspired adornments used in Monet’s work.
The Gulangyu Island Boat House Print uses soft, muted colours and features an architectural scene, albeit a little further away. The surrounding lake and forest give it a beautiful nature-inspired feel.
Our Vallauris Cushion Collection was inspired by 1950s pottery from a French town of the same name. The vibrant pink and teal designs are reminiscent of the colours used to paint the water reflections so often featured in Monet’s works.
Our ornate Capital Storm Lantern features a weathered concrete base with a scrolling design which wouldn’t look out of place in some of the grander architectural buildings featured in Monet’s paintings.
Bring together some of these key features to add a little bit of Monet-inspired magic to your scheme.
Monet & Architecture ran from 9 April to 29 July 2018 at the National Gallery, London.