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Fun Facts: Monet in Argenteuil


Claude Monet is perhaps best known for his time in Giverny. But in the 1870s he spent nearly seven years in the Parisian suburb of Argenteuil. While living there, he painted about 180 canvases, including the work pictured above. The Artist's House at Argenteuil is a visitor favorite and here are seven facts you might not know about this Impressionist masterpiece.

- Monet lived in this particular house for two and a half years. The house was probably recommended to Monet by Édouard Manet, who knew its owner, Mme Emilie Jeanne Aubry.

- As many of us do, Monet commuted from the suburbs to the city. The train station in Argenteuil was just a short distance from this house and his studio was situated near Paris’s Gare Saint-Lazare.

The focal point of the painting is Jean Monet, Claude’s son, who is playing with a wooden hoop. We know it was painted prior to August 8, 1873 (Jean’s sixth birthday) since he has not yet graduated from unisex dress to short pants.

- In this home, Monet entertained artist friends, including Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Gustave Caillebotte, Eugène Boudin, and Manet.

- Monet knew this painting would appeal to the Parisian public, as it depicted a lush, idyllic version of suburban life. 

- In an earlier version of the painting, Monet painted Jean facing the viewer and in a seated or crouching position.

- Conservators believe that there was originally another pot on the left side of the painting, just to the left of the existing pot. If you look at the painting closely, you can still see strokes of blue and white paint.

Image Credit: Claude Monet. The Artist's House at Argenteuil, 1873. Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection.