Claude Monet The Colourof Time by Virginia Spate
Written by Virginia Spate, published by Thames & Hudson with over 300 illustrations, 135 in colour.

Winner of the Mitchell Prize for the History of Art.

Monet is incontestably one of the greatest Impressionists, as well as being the most popular. Yet books on this great figure have tended to be partial, concentrating either on aesthetic or social aspects of his work without attempting a synthesis. In this book, first published to enormous acclaim in 1992, Virginia Spate provides a full interpretation of Monet’s paintings, examining the various ways in which they can be read; the tension between image and reality that energises them; and the mysterious interactions between the work itself, its exhibition, promotion and sale, and its reception both in public and in private.

Based on a complete study of the artist’s work, his surviving letters (nearly 3,000 in all0 and contemporary documentary material, this is the fullest account available of a complex and influential man whose style changed and evolved considerably during his long career. His often neglected figure paintings, always of family or friends, are analysed alongside his landscapes, which ranged from a series of river scenes to steam-filled railway stations. Changes in his output in response to shifts in demand are linked to the new system of art dealers and to his financial situation. The France of Monet’s youth and maturity is covered in depth, especially the traumatic legacy of the Franco-Prussian war and the Paris Commune. His friendships with such writers as Zola, Mallarme and Mirbeau are discussed; and his famous garden at Giverny is shown to be both a personal Utopia and a vital part of his creative processes.

Virginia Spate’s treatment of this supremely important artist makes an indispensable contribution to the art history of Impressionism and the roots of modernism.

First Paperback Edition 2001

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Claude Monet The Colourof Time by Virginia Spate

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