France 1840 – 1926
Study of a figure outdoors: woman with a sunshade turned to the right
[Essai de figure en plein-air: femme à l'ombrelle tournée vers la droite] 1886
oil on canvas
canvas 131.0 (h) x 88.0 (w) cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris , Gift of Michel Monet, the artist's son 1927
© RMN (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
In his study of a figure outdoors, Claude Monet recreates the balminess of summer where a warm breeze envelops a woman standing on a hill. He creates a dynamic sense of movement in this painting by encouraging our eye in a circular direction following the breeze.
The model was Suzanne Hoschedé, the daughter of the artist’s partner. One day while sitting in his boat at Giverny, Monet observed Suzanne in silhouette standing on an embankment. This experience inspired his painting of a figure in the outdoors viewed from a low vantage point.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2009
From audio tour Masterpieces from Paris: Van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin and beyond Post-Impressionism from the Musée d'Orsay