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Haystack at Giverny

Claude Monet • Painting, 1889, 64.5×87 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Landscape
Style of art: Impressionism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1889
Size: 64.5×87 cm
Artwork in selections: 49 selections
Audio guide

Description of the artwork «Haystack at Giverny»

The series with haystacks is one of the most famous and iconic of Monet`s works. While working on it, the artist applied a new system of plein air painting for the first time.

During these years, his stepdaughter Blanche became the closest person to "father Monet", his angel, the only one from his own and adopted children who expressed interest and achieved significant results in painting. These two left the house early in the morning seeking motifs. Blanche was pushing the cart with started canvases. It was Monet who came up with the idea of working on different paintings at different times of the day. He was finally successful, and able to buy the house and hire a gardener, but only then he realized that he found a terribly difficult, but the only sure way to catch a "fleeting changeability of light, covering all the greenery". In his cart there were: a six-hour morning stack, an eight-hour and an afternoon stack, then a three-hour and a sunset stack, and in addition, stacks in fog and cloudy weather. Sometimes he rummaged in his sketches to find quickly the canvas matching the necessary lighting (these moments lasted no more than 15-30 minutes), grabbed something similar, sketched changes fast, then sketched more changes and then painted it almost anew. And accidentally discovered that very canvas, which could never be found when it was needed. He was working on 25 canvases daily.

This only picture of the haystack, which can be seen in Moscow, was painted at the very beginning of Monet's field battle. He boldly added purple and blue shadows to the midday landscape, but it is still possible to identify clearly the field, the trees and the haystack itself. Two years later, under the artist's brush began to appear almost abstract red, blue and translucent stacks with the conventional sky in the background.

When Paul Durand-Ruel presented a series of haystacks at the exhibition in his gallery, they caused a storm of Platonic admiration among the French and real commercial interest among the Americans.
Camille Pissarro then wrote to his son: "People want nothing but Monets, apparently he can't paint enough pictures to meet the demand. Worst of all they all want Sheaves in the Setting Sun!.. Everything he does goes to America at prices of four, five and six thousand francs."

Four years after the boom at Durand-Ruel, the Impressionist exhibition would be held in Moscow. A successful lawyer, who had recently received an invitation to teach law at the university, would come to see the pictures of the French artists. He would stop in bewilderment and excitement in front of a picture, created later than this one. It was totally unclear what was represented on it but this something made him experience deep emotions. He came up closer to read the title of the painting. Haystack. A successful 30-year-old lawyer would give up the professorial career to go to Munich to study painting instead. And after 15 years he would create the first abstract watercolour painting and develop a theory that colour and form are the true subject of the fine arts. The lawyer's name was Wassily Kandinsky.

By the way, in 2016, one painting from the haystack series was sold for a record-breaking price as for Monet`s works and became the most expensive of them. "Haystack" was sold at Christie's auction for $ 81 million.