In 1872, Monet travelled to his native Havre. The purpose of the trip was to prepare new works for the forthcoming exhibition. The present picture is one of the four paintings produced during his stay in Havre. Not without prompting from Japanese woodcuts, Monet "carved" his compositional structure. With this forest of masts and smokestacks, and the piles of barrels and bales of goods in the foreground, he conveys the sense of an extremely busy port, with ships departing for the ends of the earth as well as for Caen, the main city of the neighbouring département of Calvados. The juxtaposition of tall smokestacks of the ships in front with the masts of the fishing vessels behind reveals the onset of the industrial age, in spite of Monet’s residual Romanticism. The picture shows a sunny day. Unfortunately, the weather changed and the painting remained not quite finished – the artist evidently did not want to spoil it by trying to complete it without consulting nature.
[Oil on canvas, 61 x 81 cm]
Tagged: , paintings , art , Claude Monet