Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood
If not one of the Impressionists, Sargent was certainly an adherent of the movement. The derision aroused by his portrait of Madame Gautreau when exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1884 interrupted what might have been a close connection with French art and led him to make London his headquarters as a portrait painter. But he contributed to the establishment of an insular offshoot of Impressionism in the New English Art Club, of which he was one of the founder members in 1886, and sought to arouse interest in Monet's work for America. He had the greatest admiration for Monet and was influenced in his own style by the French master. At the time he painted this portrait he had recently bought one of Monet's paintings, Rock at Tréport.
The portrait was painted in the spring of 1888 at Giverny where Monet had gone to live not long before. The wife of his former patron, Mme Ernest Hoschedé, whom Monet had befriended and who was to become his second wife, appears at the right of the picture. Sargent had not attempted the translation of light and shade into terms of pure color in the essentially Impressionist fashion but indicates the splashes of sunlight through the trees with his own vivacity, and his capacity for the brilliant sketch is well exemplified in the figures.
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