Fine Art Tuesday

Autumn Effect at Argenteuil, Claude Monet, 1873

Mrs. Freeholder and I have had the rare experience of enjoying fall together this year. The last years when we were both working, autumn was a solitary affair. We each enjoyed what we could while driving to and from work, perhaps at work and when working at our various tasks around the home. It was different when the kids were younger and we were at the “river place” every autumn weekend. We had ample opportunity then to get out and enjoy the glory. The last few years since I retired I could take the opportunity of enjoying autumn as I went about my daily activities, savoring the season in a way she, still working, could not.

Today we were out running various errands, and on the drive we remarked at how beautiful this autumn has been. The reds, yellows and occasional oranges are a treat for the eyes.

Impressionist painter Claude Monet must have enjoyed autumn. I don’t believe he could have created a work such as Autumn Effect at Argenteuil if he didn’t. The use of color along with his extra efforts such as scratching the paint with the handle of his brush to create extra texture, speak to the effort he put into capturing the scene that he witnessed in his neighborhood.

Exhibited in London during the 1880s, the work was praised for its use of color. I think the symmetry of the colorful trees and their colorful reflections is something noteworthy as well. I also note that while nature is carefully mirrored, the works of man are mere smudges. Was Monet making a statement? Perhaps something about the difficulty in knowing what is real and what is illusion? That the works of man are illusory and transitory, while Nature is real and endures?

Or perhaps I simply read too much into a beautiful rendition of an impressive autumn scene long gone.

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