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Claude Monet, The Museum at Le Havre

Key facts
Full title The Museum at Le Havre
Artist Claude Monet
Artist dates 1840 - 1926
Date made 1873
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 75 × 100 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Helena and Kenneth Levy, 1990
Inventory number NG6527
Location Room 41
Collection Main Collection
The Museum at Le Havre
Claude Monet

During the 1870s when he was living at Argenteuil, on the outskirts of Paris, Monet made several trips back to Le Havre, where he had grown up. The city was a thriving commercial and industrial centre, and France’s most important transatlantic port, with a series of harbours and busy docks. For this picture Monet positioned himself on the wall on the inner harbour facing the city’s museum of fine arts and public library, an impressive building that had been erected in 1845.

Despite the fact that it is relatively large, the picture has the sketchy quality of Monet’s smaller canvases. Broken brushwork conveys the gentle movement of rippling water and the fragmented reflections of boats; the sails that almost obscure the architecture are hastily brushed in. A muted palette, consisting mostly of greyish blues and browns, relieved by touches of warmer orange, conjures up the atmosphere of a northern port under an overcast sky.

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