The Museum at Le Havre (1873) by Claude MonetThe National Gallery, London
An in-painting tour from the National Gallery, London
Monet grew up in the city of Le Havre on the Normandy coast. Although he was living in the Parisian suburb of Argenteuil at the time of this painting, he often returned to his hometown to paint scenes such as this busy harbour.
It was in this harbour that he painted his famous ‘Impression: Sunrise’ (now in the Musée Marmottan, Paris), which is where the term ‘Impressionism’ comes from.
This view from the inner harbour looks across the water to the Musée des Beaux-Arts. This classical building was destroyed during the Second World War.
The Impressionists often experimented with complementary colours (hues that are opposite each other on the colour wheel). Here, Monet contrasts the complementary colours of the red and green boats.
You can also see complementary colours orange and blue in the reflections of the boats in the sea.
Monet uses short, horizontal brushstrokes to give the impression of the water’s movement.
Monet was fascinated by atmosphere and here he uses the technique of scumbling (painting translucent colours over dried paint) to give a sense of Normandy’s changeable, cloudy sky.