Dose of Art #78: Claude Monet – Impression, Sunrise (1872)

The title of this painting gave the name to the Impressionist art movement, and they have a critic, Louis Leroy, to thank for it. He wrote an article in the newspaper Le Charivari called ‘The Exhibition of the Impressionists’. He found that Monet’s painting was at most, a sketch, and that could hardly be termed a finished work.:

“Impression—I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it … and what freedom, what ease of workmanship! Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape.”

Monet had visited Le Havre (a city in the North-West of France) and painted six canvases depicting the port “during dawn, day, dusk, and dark and from varying viewpoints, some from the water itself and others from a hotel room looking down over the port”.

Impression, sunrise ended up the most famous of them. The sunrise is part clear, but what was Monet’s reason for using Impression in the title?

“They asked me for a title for the catalogue, it couldn’t really be taken for a view of Le Havre, and I said: ‘Put Impression.'”