It’s impossible to point out the best painting of Claude Monet

It’s impossible to point out the best painting of Claude Monet

On Instagram, we asked the question who the man with the beard was. His name is Claude Monet and it’s impossible to point out the best painting of this French Impressionist painter. There are so many paintings to choose from.

Claude Monet
Claude Monet in 1899
This photo was taken by Gaspard-Félix Tournachon also known as Nadar

We all know about those wonderful paintings that use soft colours and are part of the Impressionist movement. Monet (officially Oscar-Claude Monet) didn’t start out as an Impressionist painter. He started out in the more “classic” way. He is, however, the founding father of the Impressionism. That’s because he painted Impression, Sunrise in 1872. This painting rose to fame as of 1874, when the first Impressionist exhibition was held at 35 Boulevard des Capucines in Paris. He was asked to name his painting. Until then, the painting did not have a name. He did his best to capture the port of the French city Le Havre.

The art critics weren’t mild at that time. He got a lot of bad reviews. So did Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Alfred Sisley. The exhibition showed more than two hundred paintings and was seen by over 4,000 people. Not everyone was enthusiastic about this Impressionism.

The style of Monet can be defined as hazy. It looks as if the image is somewhat blurred. Like the painter didn’t take its time to fully get into the details. That was just the way Monet felt like painting. There isn’t always a moment to capture all the details. Most certainly not the way the old school painters did. Yes, the details in other paintings of the nineteenth century still are based on the classic principles set out by many painters of previous times. To include as many details. But, according to Monet, it isn’t always about these details. Details can’t prevent the scenery or subject from changing. It’s all about capturing the right moment.

Impressionism, Sunrise
Impressionism, Sunrise / Impression, soleil levant
Source: Wikimedia Commons / Musée Marmottan Monet

Even nowadays people are still discussing the work of Monet. Long after he’s gone, he is both loved and ridiculed. That was exactly the same as when he was alive.

Not all of his paintings show the same haziness as the painting Impression, Sunrise. Some include many details. Sadly, as the years prolonged, his vision failed on him. In the later years, he wasn’t able to do what he liked best: painting. This had a great impact on the work of that period in his life.

There isn’t just one painting that can be concluded as his best painting. Yes, if it’s all about Impressionism, the 1872 painting of Le Havre is important. Important and beautiful. It cannot be compared to paintings such as Argenteuil or Mouth of the Seine at Honfleur. They have more visible details. Also very beautiful. It all shows what a gifted and talented painter Monet was.

The Mouth of the Seine
Mouth of the Seine (1865)
Part of the The Norton Simon Foundation, Pasadena, CA.
Source: Wikipedia
Pont Argenteuil
Pont Argenteuil (1874)
Source: Wikipedia


The painting Impression, Sunrise was stolen from the Musée Marmottan Monet on 27 October 1985 by five masked gunmen. They also stole other paintings. The paintings weren’t recovered until 1990. Read more about this on this website.