The Japanese Footbridge, 1899
In 1883 Monet moved his household, his two sons along with Alice Hoschedé and their children to the rural community of Giverny where he rented a house which he was able to buy seven years later. In early 1893, he acquired a swampy area above the tracks that bordered his property. He asked the village council for permission to divert a small stream into it. It was only until the end of that decade that he turned to this garden that he had created there as a rich source of artistic inspiration.
In 1899 Monet painted 12 works from a single point of view, focusing on the arching blue-green bridge and the microcosm of his water garden. Among the 12 works was the National Gallery's Japanese pedestrian bridge. Monet designed and created the landscape that appears in his paintings - from the bridge to the pond and its shape, to the water lilies and the other plants. The artist, who is regarded as a leader of the Impressionists for the spontaneity of directly observed works, who also gains the fleeting effects of light and color, had subjected a nature in these later pictures that he recreated for the long term.
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington