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Monet: Autumn Effect at Argenteuil

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The tall point which shows above the rooftops in the distance is a chimney from one of the new factories that appeared at Argenteuil. But it could be mistaken for a church spire. Although Monet was stimulated by the rapid social changes happening around him, he often edited out ugly buildings if they spoiled his intended effect. He has remained truthful, but softened the truth for the sake of his art.

I see the narrow band of blue that underlines the houses as a strong visual focus, acting as a sort of bridge tying the two groups of trees together. If you look closely at the paint texture here you can see how Monet has worked and reworked the surface, weaving different textures and colours together to give the effect of objects dissolving in an envelope of light.

The paint on the tree on the right has been scratched with the sharp end of a brush. The effect is to lighten the density of the paint and create the elusive impression of wind rippling through the autumn foliage.

The bank of trees on the left has been rendered in warm gold to suggest autumn leaves. Into this Monet has worked in touches of green, blue and yellow. This is one of the first works where Monet fully embraced the pure rainbow palette that was to become a hallmark of Impressionist painting.

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