The ponds, trees, and famous lily pads of his home have, over the years, nearly become synonymous with his name.
However, several of his most beautiful masterpieces were created during the time spent at his home in the town of Argenteuil, located on the banks of the Seine, about 11 kilometres from Paris.
Claude Monet and his wife Camille moved to the house in Argenteuil in 1871 and remained until 1878. During the years spent living in Argenteuil, the artist created some of his best known works; many of which that portray his usual themes of flowers and his natural surroundings, but also many paintings that were of a more personal nature. Several of these pieces painted during his Argenteuil years depict quiet, domestic scenes of his friends and family.
The scene shown here in this painting, Camille Monet and a Child in the Artist's Garden in Argenteuil, is a colourful depiction of a serene moment where Camille, Claude Monet's first wife, is spending time with their child in the garden of the couple's home.
Painted in 1875, this image of Camille Monet, as with other works by Claude Monet, create the sense of an environment that is full of life. The bright and lively shades of red, pink, white, green, and blue all work together harmoniously to capture the warmth and brilliance of a sunny day in France.
These colours, applied with countless small brushstrokes of oil on the canvas, recreate the textures of not only the hair and garments worn by Camille and the child, but also of the flowers and grasses. So much so that they are almost animated. It is easy to imagine one need only to listen closely to hear the soft susurration of the summer breeze moving through the grasses and shrubbery.
The years that Claude Monet spent in Argenteuil was a time of happy productivity for the artist. His days were occupied with not only blissful domesticity with his child and first wife, who, much like the trees, water, and other plant life surrounding his home, became his muse.
He worked in his garden, either tending to his plants, or busy at his easel, analysing and reproducing the ever-changing light; the natural interplay between the sunlight and his surroundings. While the couple lived in poverty throughout the majority of this time, this is hardly evident with such idyllic portraits of their daily life.
This painting of Camille Monet and a Child in the Artist's Garden in Argenteuil gives us a poignant glimpse into the world of Claude Monet and shows us his greatest loves: the garden which was his workshop, a place of social gathering with friends and fellow artists, as well as a place for the family to spend their leisure time, and his family. Sadly, Camille Monet would become ill from tuberculosis the following year, later succumbing to cancer 1879.