With Manet's assistance, Monet found lodging in suburban Argenteuil in late 1871, a move that initiated one of the most fertile phases of his career. Impressionism evolved in the late 1860s from a desire to create full–scale, multi–figure depictions of ordinary people in casual outdoor situations. At its purest, impressionism was attuned to landscape painting, a subject Monet favored. In Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son, his skill as a figure painter is equally evident. Contrary to the artificial conventions of academic portraiture, Monet delineated the features of his sitters as freely as their surroundings. The spontaneity and naturalness of the resulting image were praised when it appeared in the second impressionist exhibition in 1876.

Woman with a Parasol was painted outdoors, probably in a single session of several hours' duration. The artist intended the work to convey the feeling of a casual family outing rather than a formal portrait, and used pose and placement to suggest that his wife and son interrupted their stroll while he captured their likenesses. The brevity of the moment portrayed here is conveyed by a repertory of animated brushstrokes of vibrant color, hallmarks of the style Monet was instrumental in forming. Bright sunlight shines from behind Camille to whiten the top of her parasol and the flowing cloth at her back, while colored reflections from the wildflowers below touch her front with yellow.


  • Title: Woman with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son
  • Date Created: 1875
  • Physical Dimensions: w81 x h100 cm (overall)
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon
  • External Link: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Theme: portrait, family
  • School: French
  • Provenance: From the artist in 1876 to Dr. Georges de Bellio [1828-1894], Paris; by inheritance to M and Mme [she née Victorine de Bellio, b. 1863] Ernest Donop de Monchy, Paris, until at least 1897.[1] Possibly (Paul Rosenberg and Co., London, New York, and Paris). Georges Menier, Paris, by 1924; [2] (Menier sale, Palais Galliera, Paris, 15 June 1965, no. 121); purchased by (Hector Brame, Paris) for Mr. Paul Mellon, Upperville, VA; gift 1983 to NGA. [1]Cited as no. 86 in unpublished inventory of the de Bellio collection by Remus Niculescu, "Georges de Bellio, l'Ami des Impressionists (I)," Paragone 247, September 1970. See also letter from Niculescu to Paul Mellon dated 12 April 1970, in NGA curatorial files. []2Lent by Menier to the Première exposition de collectionneurs au profit de la Société des Amis du Luxembourg, Paris, 1924.
  • Artist: Claude Monet

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