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By Brian Petrie.

Claude Monet: the 1st of the Impressionists

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Were revolutionaries. However, Monet's only known political stand of an) note concerns his support for Dreyfus in the notorious affaire o\~ 45 the when he admired Zola's public He did become a friend of Georges 1890s, protest. Clemenceau, but there seems to have been no political significance in his association with the great Radical. Monet among In his relative detachment, from the attitude prevailing differed the Neo-Impressionists, who tended to associate progressive social attitudes with a scientific In approach to art.

K. Huysmans. Huysmans, who had earlier been of the positivist frame of mind that could attribute growing the the attractive little tendency painting in in Monet's art simul- taneously to stress the atmospheric 'envelope', was to and to function in a decorative manner. The decorative qualities could work in unison with the atmospheric, and both contributed to an embrace, an as he call it, emotional involvement. Arsene Houssaye, the critic who had purchased the memorable Camille of 1 866, wrote of Monet and Renoir as representatives of the school of 'Nature for Nature's Sake', as from 'Art for Art's Sake' with its normative and primarily figure-based ideal of distinct 50 took a first step colour vision to pathoophthalmic states, spoke in 1882 not only of the Truth in Monet's marine paintings but also of the 'intense melancholy' induced by his ice-floes.

Art has its brave soldiers,' commented the observer. ' In 1890 he was looking forward to the arrival of the snow so that some of his Haystacks might be painted under its cover. He promised his dealer excellent results (Plate 56). ' These scenes 'playing on a themselves single note'. were In his far from Snow at Monet showed the down, as the Dutch seventeenth-century painters had occasionally done before. With its broadly brushed and Argenteuil (Plate 43) feathery flakes drifting 44. Train in the almost, but not quite undifferentiated sky and soft snowfall, the painting seems almost as evocative of silence as it is of the purely visual Snow (Plate 44) afforded Monet the aspect of the scene.

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