Skip Navigation

Claude Monet

Skip Side Navigation

European Art

riverbank in town lavacourt, oil on canvas



Claude Monet

France, 1840-1926

La Berge à la Lavacourt (Riverbank at Lavacourt), 1879

Oil on canvas

23 1/2 x 35 1/4 in.

Aaron M. and Clara Weitzenhoffer Bequest, 2000

In 1878, Monet moved from Argenteuil, a weekend riverside resort and fast-changing suburb of Paris, to Vétheuil, a small rural village further downriver on the Seine. Vetheuil seemed untouched by industrialism and the modern age, even though Paris was only sixty kilometers to the south. Monet and his family lived there until 1881. Unlike the paintings of Monet's Argenteuil period (1871-78), which depict the fusion of nature with modern life, the paintings of the Vetheuil period are agrarian, representing a countryside that had remained unchanged for centuries. Often painting en plein air (outdoors), Monet scrutinized a concentrated area surrounding the town in various seasons and weather.


One of Monet's favorite subjects during this time was quaint Lavacourt, a hamlet on the left bank of the Seine opposite from Vétheuil. In the present work, Monet has painted the towpath along the river at Lavacourt.


Monet's Vétheuil period was among the most productive in his career, but it was a difficult time for him personally. The artist suffered financial hardship and felt discouraged about his work, which critics attacked for its lack of finish. Above all, during 1879 (the year of the present work), his wife Camille was bedridden with an illness, probably cancer, and she died in September, at age 32.