Early in 1866, it became clear to Claude Monet that he would not be able to finish his large-scale painting Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe in time to exhibit it at the Paris Salon. He therefore decided to paint, in only a short time, his girlfriend, Camille, who would later become his wife, in a full-length figure portrait—this meant breaking with a taboo because this type of portraiture had until then been reserved for kings and the aristocracy. Camille’s pose and clothing were inspired by contemporary fashion illustrations and carte-de-visite photographs of the time. Monet shows his lover from the back, her downward gaze cast to one side, in a black-and-green striped silk dress and fur-trimmed velvet jacket, standing before a curtain. Her individuality is not so much portrayed as a certain type of elegant Parisian woman of the day. In a review by Emile Zola, with whom Monet had not yet become acquainted, the painting received lavish praise for its fresh style. It also met with tremendous acclaim at the Salon, where Monet was never to be successful again. Since some contemporaries considered the painting to be the work of Edouard Manet, who had been involved in numerous scandals at the time, the following caption accompanying a caricature read: “Monet or Manet?—But it is Manet whom we must thank for this Monet; bravo Monet, thank you Manet!”


  • Title: Camille
  • Creator: Claude Monet
  • Date Created: 1866
  • Physical Dimensions: 231.0 x 151.0 cm
  • Type: painting
  • Rights: Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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