Claude Monet - Portrait of Pere Paul 1882

Portrait of Pere Paul 1882
Portrait of Pere Paul
1882 65x52cm oil/canvas
Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna

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From Fogg Museum of Art, Harvard University:
During his two-month residence at a hotel-restaurant in Pourville, a small fishing village in Normandy, Monet painted portraits of the inn’s proprietors, Paul-Antoine and Eugénie Graff (1819–1891). Depicted in a similar manner and on canvases of the same dimensions, the pendant portraits were complemented by a third painting, a still life of Mme Paul’s signature dish, butter cakes, which would have hung to the left of the two portraits. Both sitters look toward the cakes; only Eugénie’s pet terrier, Follette, gazes out at the viewer. Monet reserved the painting of portraits for his closest associates; the three works for the Graff family therefore represent a charming gesture of friendship. He favored this mode of portraiture in the 1880s, with its swift execution and closely cropped views of the sitters’ heads, describing it in one of his letters as a “jack in the box” type. The cursory brushwork of the background and the short, narrow strokes used in the face recall the artist’s work in pastel.