12/19/20 Monet’s Luncheon on the Grass

If you are an art aficionado, you are doubt familiar with Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass. I was reading something that was referring to Monet’s Luncheon on the Grass. I thought it was a misspelling. I had never heard of Monet’s version. So I looked it up. Here’s what I found out.

What does a French Impressionist artist do when he is late on rent? If you are Monet, you give your landlord the original version of your rendition of Luncheon on the Grass as collateral. 

You are, no doubt, familiar with Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass. In case you’re not, it’s a woman picnicking with 2 men, stark naked [as one does]. 

It was scandalous then, probably still a little shocking now.

You probably don’t know about Monet’s version of the piece with the same title. I didn’t. And why should we? It spent most of its life rolled up in an unappreciative landlord’s closet, until Monet could afford to buy it back from him. 

It got moldy due to lack of care and when Monet retrieved it, he cut it up into three pieces. Two exist today, the other is lost.

 He included artist, Gustave Courbet at this gathering. The painting shows the light and shadow coming from the tree in the background. The people are fully clothed [I’m going to that picnic, thank you].

The reasons for this painting are speculative. Some point out the competitive nature of Monet, that he saw the attention that the painting brought Manet and painted his own as a response. Others say it was maybe to pay homage to Manet’s masterpiece. It is also said that since the names were confused too often, he did it as a means to distance himself. If we get the artists’ names confused, think about what it was like in his time.

Three fragments of Monet’s version exist. Two are kept at the Musee d’Orsey in Paris, and another piece is at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.

His includes 12 people, instead of Manet’s four.

I just thought this was a pretty interesting. 

Leave a Reply