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Claude Monet, The Beach at Trouville

Key facts
Full title The Beach at Trouville
Artist Claude Monet
Artist dates 1840 - 1926
Date made 1870
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 38 × 46.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, Courtauld Fund, 1924
Inventory number NG3951
Location Room 44
Collection Main Collection
The Beach at Trouville
Claude Monet

Monet’s earlier paintings of the Normandy coast had emphasised it as a working seascape, peopled with fishermen who had to contend with a cold climate, choppy seas and stormy skies. But this painting and the eight others he made in the summer of 1870 show it as a holiday destination, with wide sandy beaches, bracing air and impressive seaside architecture. Monet painted it during the weeks he spent at Trouville with his wife Camille and their son Jean.

Camille and a female companion are shown in close-up, their figures apparently casually arranged and cropped by the picture frame, rather like a snapshot. Grains of sand embedded in the paint reveal that the canvas was painted at least partly on the spot. Facial features and costume details are dashed in briefly with flat strokes of paint: the main focus here is on the play of light and shade. Bright sunlight is conveyed in bold strokes of brilliant white, and the women shade their faces with parasols.

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