Claude Monet

Life and Art

Paul Hayes Tucker

View Inside Price: $58.00


April 26, 1995
260 pages, 9 1/4 x 11
50 b/w + 140 color illus.
ISBN: 9780300062984
Cloth

Also Available in:
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Out of Print

The quintessential Impressionist, Claude Monet, created more than 2,500 paintings, drawings, and pastels, radically altering the way art was made and understood. This beautiful book is a comprehensive—and accessible—study of Monet's achievement that sets his rich legacy into the context of his life and times.

Instead of reading Monet's work as engaged only with the beauties of nature, Paul Hayes Tucker offers strikingly new interpretations based on a close examination of individual paintings, Monet's biography, and the multiple forces that shaped his aesthetic. Tucker sees the artist's oeuvre as an evolving enterprise that was intricately linked to such cataclysmic events as the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune insurrection of 1870-71, the Dreyfus Affair of 1898, and the First World War. Tucker also explores the demands that Monet placed upon himself, his responses to market pressures, and his steadfast belief in the power of art to express ideas. Combining documentary material with a thorough analysis of the public's reaction to his work, Tucker convincingly demonstrates how Monet was able to achieve enormous success during his lifetime. He argues that Monet was fully aware of his talents, that he consciously chose sites and subjects that were layered with meaning, and that he was intent on becoming one of France's greatest artists, an honor he was accorded by the end of the nineteenth century--much earlier than is generally assumed.

Fiercely competitive but immensely sensitive, astonishingly inventive though rarely satisfied, Monet was a far more complicated figure than has been acknowledged. He emerges in this lavishly illustrated book as an individual of vision and virtuosity. His art was the product of deeply felt experience and continues to hold significance for us today.

Paul Tucker is professor of art at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is the author of Monet in the '90s and Monet at Argenteuil, both published by Yale University Press, and has been the curator of two internationally acclaimed Monet exhibitions. 

A selection of Readers’ Subscription

"A solid account of the artist's life and work."—Kirkus Reviews

"Paul Tucker's monograph is an eloquent example of how our understanding of Impressionism has been deepened in recent years."—Richard Thomson, Times Literary Supplement

"The stunning illustrations here make that clear enough; in demonstrating the enormous technical and symbolic self-consciousness of what we're accustomed to seeing as ingenuous artistic snapshots. Tucker's commentary merely enhances their interest and importance."—Michael Kerrigan, Scotsman

"A visual delight."—Atlantic Monthly

"Distinguished Monet scholar Paul Hayes Tucker . . . [provides] critical examination of the work and reputation of the master of Giverny. Combining an analysis of the social context in which Monet worked with close examinations of the paintings, Mr. Tucker . . . challenges the long-standing formalist interpretation of Monet's work."—Mignon Nixon, New York Times Book Review

"Tucker, is a detailed and disciplined biography of the most influential and popular Impressionist painter. Examination of the work is secondary to the life. . . . This scrupulous book should keep company with those many that are mere adulation."—Brian Sewell, Daily Telegraph

"Offers fresh insights into the life of one of history's most talented and complicated artists. The elegant and useful book is supplemented by a worthwhile bibliography of the writings about Monet."—Virginia Quarterly Review

"Tucker is most interested . . . in the realistic life story of the supremely original artist, and this approach carries unexpected rewards. . . . The author's basic honesty, sincerity, and persistent objectivity make this book of value and interest, and attractive to students."—C. Pascoe, Choice

"Tucker succeeds in creating a most pleasing balance between the biographical content and analysis of the works themselves. What is especially impressive is Tucker's ability to treat this enormously complex personality with such consistent fairness and sympathy. The huge amount of extant literature on the artist notwithstanding, this arguably becomes the most comprehensive single-volume study of Monet in the English language."—Robert Jay, Nineteenth-Century French Studies

"Tucker's superb Claude Monet is typical in that extensive new research confidently enables the author to extirpate popular myths while reminding us of Monet's quality. Tucker is devoted to his subject, though not starry-eyed, and the combination of Monet's foibles—chiefly meanness and mythmaking—with his selfless generosity of spirit and action—his promotion of the dead Manet, for example—conjures a real person whose oddities of character ring true."—David Lee, Financial Times

"Literate and instructive, it is the best account of its subject and is incisive about the paintings as well as demystifying about the life. . . . If you want to know about Monet this is the book to read. You will come to the end understanding the artist's work better than before while having been reminded what, at his best, a great painter he was."—Art Review

"[Tucker] presents a no-nonsense, straightforward look at the artist, his work and his life. A very readable study now published in a more affordable format."—Art Times

"A most readable, beautifully produced, comprehensive study of the life and achievement of the great Impressionists, setting his inspiring works within their historical context."—Byron Ireland, Day by Day