Claude Monet 1840-1926 BACK

The Seine at Petit Gennevilliers
oil on canvas 48x63cm
The Thornton Trust

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To most people of Monet's day who lived in Paris and the suburbs, Argenteuil was a site for weekend leisure, for strolls along the town's winding streets and riverbank or boat rides up and down its unparalleled stretch of the Seine. They could go on excursions to the outlying fields, which produced various crops, including grapes that were used to make an extremely modest wine, le vin d'Argenteuil. Asparagus grew there as well. It was hailed as the best in the region and was one of Argenteuil's most celebrated exports.

Few people would have taken the train from the Gare Saint-Lazare to Argenteuil (or walked to the town, as some hearty souls were wont to do) to see a place such as that depicted in this unusual painting. Sweetly scented air and vacation enjoyments seem far from its primary offerings. While boats bob on the water at the river's edge, they appear displaced or nonfunctional, their intended use as pleasure craft significantly compromised by other forces.
excerpt from Impressionists at Argenteuil

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