During the summer of 1870, on the eve of the Franco-Prussian war, Claude Monet was staying in Trouville with his young wife, Camille, whom he had married on 28 June. Like many canvases by Eugène Boudin, who had a strong influence on young Monet, L'Hôtel des roches noires. Trouville depicts a fashionable seaside resort during the Second Empire. But the work also reveals the originality of Monet's approach and is a magnificent example of his bold technique.

The quick, allusive touch creates the impression of fluttering flags and animates a sky crossed by wispy clouds. The tall format further accentuates the contrast between the stability of the figures, placed in the lower part of the canvas, and the movement of the elements subject to the wind in the upper part. The flag in the foreground is particularly striking because of its red and white stripes, painted with very free brushstrokes.

Proust is often mentioned in connection with this painting, but the society depicted by Monet is at least a generation earlier than that described by the novelist, even if the Hôtel des roches noires was one of the models for the Balbec hotel.


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