After Being Postponed for 120 Years, Monet’s ‘Thames’ Paintings Will Finally Exhibit in London

Clause Monet’s “Thames” Works to Be Displayed in London

“Houses of Parliament, London,” by Claude Monet, circa 1900-1903. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

The French painter Claude Monet is widely credited for kicking off the Impressionist movement in 1872 with his painting Impression: Sunrise, depicting the Port of Le Havre on the coast of Brittany, France. Colors blend and figures bend in a soft rendition of a morning scene. Monet would continue to develop this new style of painting, joined by many of his contemporaries. His famous works include the lilies of his backyard pond at Giverny and idyllic views of the Seine as it winds its way through the heart of Paris. Less commonly associated with the French artist is the series of works he completed while in England, may depicting iconic views of London's Thames River.

Back in 1899, Monet made his first of three visits to London over the course of the next two years. By 1901, he had captured the banks of the Thames in a whopping 94 works. Looming behind Monet's blended cotton-candy colors lurks the shadows of piers, bridges, boats, and the Houses of Parliament. While according to Christie's Monet enjoyed these trips to England and the tea and Yorkshire Pudding he encountered there, his earliest visit to the city in 1870 was less productive. At that time, the then quite young artist had yet to develop his signature style of Impressionist painting. He was reportedly depressed as he waited out the Franco-Prussian war in London before returning to France in 1871. Called back by his own desire later in life, his evolved style of painting was ideal to capture the fogs of misty London. “It’s the fog that gives London its marvelous breadth. Regular blocks become grandiose in this mysterious cloak,” the artist opined.

Even his contemporaries appreciated Monet's works. Thirty-seven works featuring the Thames were exhibited in Paris in 1904 to much celebration, although Monet—always self-critical—was unsure. He began to plan a London exhibit in 1905, but in the last months decided his works were not up to par. In the end, the works depicting London were never exhibited in that fabled city. But that changes in 2024, over 120 years since the idea was born. Nineteen of the 37 works shown in Paris will be displayed at the The Courtauld Gallery, which sits right by The Savoy where Monet often painted from a balcony. The exhibit will run in the fall into early 2025, at last fulfilling the wishes of an artist, whose own doubts of his masterpieces may now have been soothed by a hundred years of approbation.

The exhibit, aptly titled Monet and London: Views of the Thames, will be on view from September 27, 2024 to January 19, 2025.

Claude Monet, the Impressionist famous for his renditions of French waterlilies and other beautiful scenes, will have his paintings of London's Thames displayed in that city for the first time.

Clause Monet’s “Thames” Works to Be Displayed in London

London, Houses of Parliament. The Sun Shining through the Fog, by Claude Monet, 1904. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

Clause Monet’s “Thames” Works to Be Displayed in London

Charing Cross Bridge, by Claude Monet, 1899. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

Clause Monet’s “Thames” Works to Be Displayed in London

Charing Cross Bridge, by Claude Monet, 1903. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

h/t: [Smithsonian Magazine]

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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