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Famous Paintings: Haystacks Series by Monet

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Monet often painted a series of the same subject to capture the changing effects of the light, swapping canvases as the day progressed.
Famous Paintings -- Monet series paintings -- haystacks, Art Institute Chicago
Photo: © Mysticchildz/Nadia (Creative Commons Some Rights Reserved)
Monet painted many subjects again and again, but every one of his series paintings is different, whether it's a painting of a water lily or a hay stack. As Monet's paintings are scattered in collections around the world, it's usually only in special exhibitions that his series paintings are seen as a group. Fortunately the Art Institute in Chicago has several of Monet's haystacks paintings in its collection, as they make impressive viewing together:

In October 1890 Monet wrote a letter to the art critic Gustave Geffroy about the hay stacks series he was painting, saying: "I'm hard at it, working stubbornly on a series of different effects, but at this time of year the sun sets so fast that it's impossible to keep up with it ... the further I get, the more I see that a lot of work has to be done in order to render what I'm looking for: 'instantaneity', the 'envelope' above all, the same light spread over everything... I'm increasingly obsessed by the need to render what I experience, and I'm praying that I'll have a few more good years left to me because I think I may make some progress in that direction..." 1

References: 1. Monet by Himself, p172, edited by Richard Kendall, MacDonald & Co, London, 1989.

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