The Pont Neuf
Claude Monet ( French, 1840 - 1926 )
Claude Monet returned to Paris in November 1871 after more than a year of wartime exile in England and Holland. He found a city ravaged by the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) and the violent suppression of the Paris Commune in May 1871. This is one of the very few paintings Monet made of Paris following his return to France, and its somber mood seems to reflect the traumas the city had endured over the previous year.
Unlike Monet's earlier paintings of Paris as a city alive with movement and color, The Pont Neuf is essentially a grisaille, or monochrome, study. With a few deft strokes, Monet was able to capture the silhouettes of pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages as they hurry across the bridge, their reflections casting faint patterns along the damp pavement. Smoke from the tugboats passing under the bridge rises in clouds that add another note to Monet's exploration of an austere gray palette.
Heather MacDonald, DMA label copy, 2015.