Sunday, 24 June 2012

Artists at Étretat, France - part 2

Étretat is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Haute-Normandie region in northern France. It’s best known for its cliffs which have famous natural arches formed into them. These cliffs and the associated resort beach attracted artists including Eugène Delacroix (1798 – 1863), Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877), Eugène Boudin (1824 – 1898) and Claude Monet (1840 – 1926), and were featured prominently in the 1909 Arsène Lupin novel The Hollow Needle by Maurice Leblanc.

Part 1 of this post features the Étretat works of Delacroix, Corbet, and Boudin. Part 2 features the Étretat works of Monet.


Claude Monet

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) was the original founder and practitioner of the French Impressionist movement in painting. Some of his best-known works include Impression, Sunrise (for which the movement was named), the Water Lilies series, and the Haystacks series.

During the 1880s, Monet rediscovered the Normandy coast and made repeated visits there to draw by the sea. Étretat had already been painted by both Delacroix and Courbet; Monet in fact owned a Delacroix watercolour of the area. The Courbet retrospective at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1882 featured a group of Étretat seascapes. Monet visited Étretat in 1883 with plans to create his own Normandy seascapes: “I reckon on doing a big canvas on the cliff of Étretat, although it’s terribly audacious of me to do that after Courbet who did it so well, but I’ll try to do it differently.” The region had become a fashionable holiday destination for Parisians, which may have encouraged Monet to create paintings for a growing market.

In the 1890s, Monet began producing his series paintings: multiple images of the same subject done at different times of day and captured in different kinds of light. In the 1880s, Monet painted and drew the coast north of Le Havre at Étretat repeatedly, and the body of work he produced shows that he was already thinking in terms of repeated representations of the same subject. Some of the pieces shown here are in pastel, a medium that enabled Monet to note down ideas for composition and colour with speed.


1873 The Porte d'Amont, Étretat 
oil on canvas

1883 Étretat, Rough Sea 
oil on canvas

1883 Étretat, Sunset 
oil on canvas

1883 The Cliff at Étretat
oil on canvas

1883 The Manneport, Étretat 
oil on canvas

1883 The Manneport, Seen from Below 
oil on canvas 72 x 91 cm

1883 The Needle of Étretat, Low Tide 
oil on canvas 60 x 81 cm

1885 Étretat, the Aval Cliff, the Effect of the Sun 
oil on canvas 60 x 73 cm

1885 Étretat, the Porte d'Aval 
oil on canvas 60 x 81 cm

1885 The Manneport at High Tide 
oil on canvas 165.1 x 205.7 cm

1885 The Manneport Seen from the East 
oil on canvas 166.4 x 206.5 cm

1885 The Rock Needle and the Porte d'Aval 
oil on canvas 165.1 x 81 cm

1885 The Rock Needle Seen through the Porte d'Aumont 
oil on canvas 185.4 x 152.4 cm

1885-86 Étretat in the Rain 
oil on canvas 142.2 x 209.6 cm

1885-86 The Rock Needle Seen through the Porte d'Aval 
oil on canvas 73 x 92 cm

c1885 Étretat, the Port d'Aval, Fishing Boats leaving the Harbour
 oil on wood

1885c Étretat, The Arch, and the Aval Cliff 
pastel 21 x 37 cm cm

c1885 Étretat, the Manneporte at Low Tide 
pastel 23 x 33 cm

c1885 Étretat, the Needle Rock and Porte d'Aval 
pastel 40 x 23.5 cm

Étretat, Beach and Falaise d'Aval
oil on canvas

Étretat, The End of the Day
oil on canvas

Étretat, the Manneporte Reflected on Water
oil on canvas

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