Claude Monet was indirectly responsible for the term ‘Impressionism’, since it was in relation to his harbour scene Impression. soleil levant that an art critic sneeringly coined the term. The adverse criticism did not stop him ending his days as a celebrated artist, living at his rural retreat in Giverny. There, in his luxuriant garden, he could paint blossoming trees reflected in ponds and channels crossed by Japanese-style footbridges to his heart’s content.
This almost abstract painting of wisteria in Monet’s garden at Giverny is dominated by its blue background, along the top edge of which curling brushstrokes form an arch of what appear from the colours to be tangled blossoms. The paint is applied in superimposed layers and the individual brushstrokes are recognisable only in the top layer. At bottom right, the arch shape is repeated upside-down. The variation in sharpness or focus creates a sense of depth despite the virtually abstract nature of the image.
Source: J. Sillevis, ‘De tijd van het impressionisme’, in T.M. Eliëns, J. van Es (eds.), Kunst is keuze, Den Haag, Zwolle 2007.