One of Monet's best works was the Three Fishing Boats. This painting technique was probably inspired by the time he spent on the Normandy Coast. One of his favorite spots here was Etretat, a fishing village located close to Le Havre. He fell in love with the spectacular landscape of the area the very first time he set foot.
Three Fishing Boats depicts the port of Le Havre on an overcast morning with three boats on their way out to the sea. The boats have the required fishing gear, meaning that everything is ready to commence fishing. The painting showcases what actually happens every morning in Etretat and many other fishing villages around the world.
Monet's method of painting was meant to capture the play of light on water. He painted rapidly with short, comma-like brushstrokes. In addition, he juxtaposed contrasting and unmixed colors, which brought life to water. This method allowed him to portray the effects of light and atmosphere.
This is a goal that he had pursued for years and later came to accomplish it. Claude wanted to achieve a perfect representation of Etretat. Therefore, he renounced the use of any spatial effects and composition. This decision later became typical of Impressionism.
The careful attention to detail that Monet gave to the depiction of the boats in his work, reflects his great comprehension of the fishing activity along the Normandy coast. Most of his coastal paintings showed deserted places, and there is nothing in this painting that shows Etretat was a popular holiday resort. Monet was barely interested in anecdotal episodes, but in the effects of color and form.
At first, the painting received a lot of criticism. Other artists condemned it for its broad brushwork and flattened picture plane. Unperturbed by this, Monet continued to work on his unique technique. With time, his style was accepted and Three Fishing Boats grew to become the world's most popular piece of art.
Claude Monet’s work inspired other artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, who implemented similar themes throughout his career (see Sunflowers and Irises). Van Gogh mainly admired Monet's use of assertive brushstrokes and vivid colors.
Other Monet’s works similar to Three Fishing Boats include Fishing Boats, Beach at Etretat, and Entrance to the Port of Trouville.
Today, representations of Three Fishing Boats are sold all over the world. Such impressions can be engraved on walls as wallpaper, furniture, smartphones, refrigerators, play stations, and many more areas. This gives art lovers a chance to enjoy Monet’s work at the comfort of their home. This just proves the massive popularity of Monet’s painting technique.