Early Monet work to go on show this week

An early painting by Claude Monet, leading light of the Impressionist movement, is to go on display at Duff House in Aberdeenshire from Friday 4 October.

A Seascape, Shipping by Moonlight is the latest painting from National Galleries of Scotland to go on display at the Georgian mansion in Banff as part of the annual Masterpiece series.

Painted ten years before the first landmark Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1874, the dramatic moonlit scene depicts the harbour at Honfleur, close to the artist’s childhood home of Le Havre, on the Normandy coast. Monet later commented on his admiration for moonlight scenes, but also on the difficulties involved in painting nature at night.

The painting will be on display until Sunday 22 March 2020 alongside the permanent collections at Duff House, which include paintings by leading Scottish artists such as Allan Ramsay and Henry Raeburn, as well as significant works by international artists such as El Greco.

Corinna Leenen, Duff House Collections Manager, said: ‘The annual Masterpiece loan is always a highlight of the season here at Duff House, and we were pleased this year to open it up to a public vote on social media.

‘As the vote showed, Impressionist artists remain ever-popular with the public, and this is a great opportunity for art lovers in the north East to see a striking and evocative work by perhaps the movement’s best-loved exponent.’

Claude Monet was born in Paris in 1840 and moved to Normandy as a child. It was here that he spent much of his life and created his magnificent gardens at Giverny, where he lived for 43 years until his death in 1926. In 1874 he exhibited Impression, Sunrise, a hazy view of the port at Le Havre in the early morning light, which was to inspire the name of the Impressionist movement. His interest in capturing the effect of changing light at different times of the day, weathers and seasons continued throughout his long and prolific career.

Professor Frances Fowle, Senior Curator of French Art at National Galleries of Scotland, said:’This dark, moonlit seascape is highly unusual in Monet’s oeuvre and very far from the sun-drenched meadows we usually associate with the artist. Produced on the Normandy coast, where Monet spent his childhood, it shows him facing the challenges of painting out of doors at night.’

Christopher Breward, Director of Collections and Research at National Galleries of Scotland, said: ‘We are delighted that a major work by Claude Monet – one of the most popular works in the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection – will be seen by audiences at Duff House. Monet’s dramatic subject matter has great resonance with the striking coastal landscape of Banff.’

Monet’s A Seascape, Shipping by Moonlight will be on display in the Marble Lobby at Duff House from Friday 4 October to Sunday 22 March 2020. Entry to view the painting is included in the Duff House admission price, and is free for members.