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Claude Monet, The Petit Bras of the Seine at Argenteuil

Key facts
Full title The Petit Bras of the Seine at Argenteuil
Artist Claude Monet
Artist dates 1840 - 1926
Date made 1872
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 52.6 × 71.8 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Sir Robert Hart Bt, 1971
Inventory number NG6395
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Petit Bras of the Seine at Argenteuil
Claude Monet

In 1871 Monet settled in Argenteuil, a small suburban town on the Seine just nine kilometres and a fifteen-minute train journey from Paris. Already partially industrialised, Argenteuil was also famous as a centre for pleasure boating, and Monet was particularly attracted by its regattas and sailing boats.

However, it is not modern life in Argenteuil that is the focus of this picture. Here we see the Petit Bras, a small tributary of the river separated from the Seine by the Ile Marante, a mile downstream from the town. The little island had been a retreat for Parisians from the eighteenth century onward. With only a few scattered buildings, it had an intimacy and tranquillity that were quite different from the bustle of Argenteuil itself. This quiet aspect of life by the river was most appealing to Monet during the early years he spent in the town; later on he concentrated more on the tourist areas.

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