Chemin de halage à Argenteuil (Towpath at Argenteuil, Winter), 1875–76
Oil on canvas
23 5/8 x 39 3/8 inches (60 x 100 cm)
Gift of Charles Clifton, 1919
Claude Monet was the quintessential Impressionist painter, aspiring to capture the fleeting qualities of light, color, and atmosphere of a specific moment in time. Here he presents a late winter scene, with snow giving way to the ground underneath, and warm pinks and yellows punctuating the clouds. Strollers walk along the tow-path, which was created to allow horses to pull boats along the slower sections of the Seine River.
The setting is the Paris suburb of Argenteuil, where Monet and his family lived from 1872 to 1876. It was one of the places Parisians favored for weekend getaways, especially for summer regattas on the river. When he first moved to Argenteuil there was some industry, as seen in the distant factories discernable only by their towers. The factories reflect so gently in the river that many people take them for trees. When Monet left Argenteuil in 1876, however, the town had changed considerably—more industry had moved in, the river was no longer as clean, and the population was increasing by more than five hundred people per year.
Related Lesson Plan
Painting an Impression (For Grades 5–12)
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