Claude Monet
The Argenteuil Bridge

The Argenteuil Bridge
Claude Monet (1840-1926)
The Argenteuil Bridge
1874
Oil on canvas
H. 60.5; W. 80 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Le Pont d'Argenteuil [The Argenteuil Bridge]


In 1874, the year of the first Impressionist exhibition, Claude Monet painted the Argenteuil Bridge seven times, and the railway bridge which spans the Seine upstream from the village, four times. This shows how attached the artist was to the motif, using the flowing river as a counterpoint for the geometrical mass of the bridge and its piles reflected in the water.
Here the foreground is filled with sailboats at their mooring. The effects of light on the masts and on the roofs of the houses on the bank in the background are an opportunity for the play of complementary colours (orange and blue) which accentuate the glittering light. The Argenteuil Bridge exhibits great variety in treatment: the still firm outlines of the solid or structured elements, such as the sailboats and the bridge, a smooth, even texture for the water in the foreground, and choppy brushstrokes capturing the reflections in the middle ground.


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