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Boulevard des Capucines
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Group: Modern Life Modern Vision

Artist: Claude MONET
Birth/Death: 1840–1926

Title: Boulevard des Capucines
Date Made: 1873

Lender: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
Credit Line: Acquired through the Kenneth A. and Helen F. Spencer Acquisition Fund

There are two paintings of this view from the studio of the photographer, Nadar. This one shows that Monet used the Japanese mobile viewpoint to embody the fragmentary, yet dynamic modern experiences of space as the eye plunges into the deep channel of the crowded street, and seeks to disentangle the clues to the complex visual experiences given by a myriad detached brushstrokes. Fragmentation is also created by the double perspective thrust formed by the apartment blocks on the left and by the line of wintry trees and snow-topped cabs in the middle of the composition. This unusual off-centre perspective could owe something to another Hiroshige print in Monet’s collection,Sudden shower over Ohashi Bridge and Atake, where the bridge, seen from above, cuts across the river in strong counterpoint to the tree-covered distant shore. The cool tone given by the rain drenching the pedestrians is similar to the icy atmosphere in the Boulevard des Capucines. Monet has also isolated his figures on the snow-covered pavements, but his brushstrokes fuse them into groups, just as a crowd melds the movements of many individuals.

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