Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)
Oil on canvas
38 5/8 x 51 1/8 in. (98.1 x 129.9 cm)
Signed (lower right): Claude Monet
Purchase, special contributions and funds given or bequeathed by friends of the Museum, 1967 (67.241)
Monet painted this canvas in the summer of 1867 in a Sainte-Adresse garden with a view of Honfleur at the horizon. The models were probably Monet's father Adolphe, in the foreground; Monet's cousin Jeanne Marguérite Lecadre, at the garden fence; Dr. Adolphe Lecadre, her father; and perhaps Lecadre's other daughter, Sophie, the woman seated in the foreground with her back to the viewer. Although this scene projects affluent domesticity, it is by no means a family portrait. Monet's relations with his father were tense that summer, owing to family disapproval of the young artist's liaison with his companion, Camille Doncieux.
Monet called this work "the Chinese painting in which there are flags"; Renoir referred to it as "the Japanese painting with little flags." In the 1860s, the composition's flat horizontal bands of color would have reminded sophisticated viewers of Japanese color woodblock prints, which were avidly collected by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Whistler, and others in their circle. The print by the Japanese artist Hokusai that may have inspired this picture remains today at Monet's house at Giverny.