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Monet: The Restless Vision

by Jackie Wullschläger

Hardback £35
Published 12th October 2023
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The Art Book of the Year, The Times

A Telegraph, Sunday Times, Financial Times, Economist, Tablet and Evening Standard Book of the Year

A magnificent new biography of the founder of Impressionism

In the course of a long and exceptionally creative life, Claude Monet revolutionized painting and made some of the most iconic images in western art. Misunderstood and mocked at the beginning of his career, he risked everything to pursue his original vision. Although close to starvation when he invented impressionism on the banks of the Seine in the 1860s-70s, in the following decades he emerged as the powerful leader of the new painting in Paris at one of its most exciting cultural moments. His symphonic series Haystacks, Poplars, and Rouen Cathedral brought wealth and renown. Then he withdrew to paint only the pond in his garden. The late Water Lilies, ignored during his lifetime, are now celebrated as pioneers of twentieth century modernism.

Behind this great and famous artist is a volatile, voracious, nervous yet reckless man, largely unknown. Jackie Wullschläger’s enthralling biography, based on thousands of never-before translated letters and unpublished sources, is the first account of Monet’s turbulent private life and how it determined his expressive, sensuous, sensational painting. He was as obsessional in his love affairs as in his love of nature, and changed his art decisively three times when the woman at the centre of his life changed. Enduring devastating bereavements, he pushed the frontier of painting inward, to evoke memory and the passing of time. His work also responded intensely to outside cataclysms - the Dreyfus Affair, the First World War. Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau was his closest friend. Rich intellectual currents connected him to writers from Zola to Proust; affection and rivalry to Renoir, Pissarro and Manet.

Monet said he was driven ‘wild with the need to put down what I experience’. This rich and moving biography immerses us in that passionate experience, transforming our understanding of the man, his paintings and the fullness of his achievement.


Monet: The Restless Vision
by Jackie Wullschläger


Penguin Books Ltd


Publication date
Oct. 12, 2023

24.0cm x 16.2cm x 4.0cm