Monet's Places

The photographer Christoph Irrgang has documented for the Museum Barberini the places where Monet's works were created and has taken photographs at the exact locations where the artist painted.

Venice, after Monets "The Palazzo Ducale" (2016-2019), de Christoph IrrgangMuseum Barberini

The juxtaposition of Monet’s paintings with contemporary images of these same places shows the industrialization, modernization, and urban development of the last 150 years, but also astonishing parallels.

The Port of Zaandam (1871), de Claude MonetMuseum Barberini

Zaandam

In 1870, Claude Monet had escaped from the ravages of the Franco-Prussian war into exile in London. On his way back to Paris, the artist spent time in the city of Zaandam in Holland. From May to October 1871, Monet painted a dozen views showing the port and the houses along the dike at various times of the day.

Zaandam, after Monet's "The Port of Zaandam" (2016-2019), de Christoph IrrgangMuseum Barberini

The port basin from Monet’s time now no longer exists; today, we find ourselves in front of an Asian restaurant.

The Port of Le Havre, Night Effect (1872), de Claude MonetMuseum Barberini

Le Havre

Monet spent much of his childhood in Le Havre. After his return from Zaandam, he visited his family there and took lodgings at the Hôtel L’Amirauté on the Grand Quai. The row of houses is located on the outer port, the harbor basin open to the sea.

Le Havre, after Monet's "The Port of Le Havre, Night Effect" (2016-2019), de Christoph IrrgangMuseum Barberini

Severely damaged during World War II, the city in northwestern France was reconstructed from 1945 to 1954 under the direction of architect Auguste Perret. Since 2005, Le Havre has been a UNESCO World Heritage site.    

Argenteuil, Late Afternoon (1872), de Claude MonetMuseum Barberini

Argenteuil

From 1871 to 1878, Claude Monet lived in Argenteuil, an idyllic suburb on the Seine that was increasingly affected by industrialization around the capital city.

Argenteuil, after Monet's "Argenteuil, Late Afternoon" (2016-2019), de Christoph IrrgangMuseum Barberini

Today, a highway runs along the river bank and the towering factory smokestacks from Monet’s painting have disappeared.

Landscape in Ile Saint-Martin (1881), de Claude MonetMuseum Barberini

Vétheuil

After his move in 1878 to Vétheuil, a small village on the Seine about 65 kilometers north of Paris, Claude Monet's creative activity focused on the lush landscape of fields and meadows. Often he evoked human activity only indirectly, through motifs such as paths or vaguely recognizable buildings in the distance.

Vétheuil, after Monet's "Landscape in Ile Saint-Martin" (2016-2019), de Christoph IrrgangMuseum Barberini

Here, for example, the church tower of Vétheuil appears in glowing white behind the tree line, just as the photographer Christoph Irrgang also discovered it between the trees.

The Garden at Vétheuil (1881), de Claude MonetMuseum Barberini

The unstaged quality of the composition lends this painting of Monet’s garden in the Seine village of Vétheuil the character of a modern, spontaneous snapshot.

Vétheuil, after Monet's "Garden at Vétheuil" (2016-2019), de Christoph IrrgangMuseum Barberini

Today, the stairway is no longer found in the same location, and the area of the garden is now occupied by an annex, which Christoph Irrgang photographed from the garden of a neighboring private house.

Edge of the Cliff at Pourville (1882), de Claude MonetMuseum Barberini

Pourville-sur-Mer

The 1880s witnessed the height of Monet’s keen enthusiasm for traveling. Of all the places Monet visited during this period, none fascinated him more than France’s northern coasts evidenced by a string of work trips to Normandy towns and villages such as former fishing village of Pourville-sur-Mer.

Pourville, after Monet's "Edge of the Cliff" (2016-2019), de Christoph IrrgangMuseum Barberini

In Pourville-sur-Mer, Monet repeatedly painted the motif of the cliffs, at times augmenting them with an isolated figure, house, or boat. Today, the landscape below the cliff is occupied by buildings.

Low Tide at Les Petites-Dalles (1884), de Claude MonetMuseum Barberini

Les Petites-Dalles

Here, Claude Monet chose a vantage point that emphasized the cliffs' monumentality. Strong color contrasts intensify the drama of the scene, in which Monet suggested the figures of beachgoers using only a few daubs of the brush.

Petites-Dalles, after Monet's "Low Tide at Les Petites-Dalles" (2016-2019), de Christoph IrrgangMuseum Barberini

Even today, the small seaside resort of Les Petites-Dalles near Fécamp in Normandy is famous for its glowing white cliffs.

Villas at Bordighera (1884), de Claude MonetMuseum Barberini

Bordighera

In 1884 Monet spent a number of weeks in Bordighera, a city on the coast of Italy about ten kilometers from the French border.

Bordighera, after Monet's "Villas at Bordighera" (2016-2019), de Christoph IrrgangMuseum Barberini

Monet described Bordighera and its environs as "magical" and overpowering, and at first found it difficult to adequately render the intense colors of the region.

The Cliff and the Porte d’Aval (1885), de Claude MonetMuseum Barberini

Étretat

Claude Monet made multiple visits to the seaside resort of Étretat in Normandy, famous for its spectacular cliffs. For this painting, he waited for the precise moment when the sun would shine through the opening in the striking stone arch of Porte d’Aval.

Étretat, after Monets "The Cliff and the Porte d’Aval" (2016-2019), de Christoph IrrgangMuseum Barberini

The striking rock formation was not only a frequent motif of impressionist painters, but is also popular in contemporary prints and photographs.

The Fort of Antibes (1888), de Claude MonetMuseum Barberini

Antibes

Claude Monet depicted the old city of Antibes—which at that time was already an aspiring tourist destination on the French Riviera—against the silhouette of the snow-covered Alps.

Antibes, after Monets "The Fort of Antibes" (2016-2019), de Christoph IrrgangMuseum Barberini

Christoph Irrgang, too, photographed the old city from the beach; today, the bay encompasses a large port and a yacht marina.

The Rio della Salute (1908), de Claude MonetMuseum Barberini

Venice

In the autumn of 1908, Monet and his wife Alice spent a number of weeks in Venice, a city that perhaps more than any other had enchanted generations of painters before him.

Venice, after Monets "The Rio della Salute" (2016-2019), de Christoph IrrgangMuseum Barberini

For his views of the canal Rio della Salute, Monet had a gondolier row him to the same place on the water multiple times; photographer Christoph Irrgang, too, made his images from a water taxi.

The Palazzo Contarini (1908), de Claude MonetMuseum Barberini

The Palazzo Contarini is located on the south side of the Grand Canal in Venice. Monet painted his views of this palace from the Palazzo Barbaro, the residence of the American patroness Mary Young Hunter, with whom he and his wife Alice stayed during the first two weeks of their sojourn in Venice.

Venice, after Monets "The Palazzo Contarini" (2016-2019), de Christoph IrrgangMuseum Barberini

Today, the Palazzo Contarini houses the offices and Rosand Library & Study Center of the American non-profit Save Venice, an organization devoted to the study and restoration of the art and cultural heritage of Venice.

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