Claude Monet (1840-1926) is one of the best-known and most beloved painters in the history of art, with myriad publications and exhibitions devoted to his oeuvre. And yet there remains a previously undiscovered aspect of his career: his surprisingly significant role as a draftsman. This book is the first to focus on Monet's pastels, drawings, and sketchbooks, offering a revolutionary new interpretation of the artist's life and work.
Monet has long been seen as an anti-draftsman, an artist who painted his subjects directly and whose rarely seen graphic works were marginal to his artistic process. In an effort to develop his public image, Monet denied the role of drawing in his working method. In actuality, Monet began his career as a caricaturist and as a teenager developed a passion for drawing that was never extinguished. He went on to master the medium of pastel and included seven in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874.
Citing recently discovered, unpublished documents that overturn the accepted image of the artist, The Unknown Monet reveals an extensive group of graphic works created over the course of the artist's career, many of which are unknown to the general public and to scholars: beautiful pastels, stunning black chalk drawings, and fascinating sketchbooks, which include pencil studies that relate to many of his paintings. The book also shows how Monet exploited the print media to promote his art.
The most important publication on Monet to appear in a generation, this illuminating volume is essential to anyone interested in his work, Impressionism, and nineteenth-century French culture.
James A. Ganz is Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. He is the coauthor of The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings and Goltzius and the Third Dimension, also available from Yale University Press.