You can find out more about the artists and paintings featured in our jigsaw range below, offering a taste of the picturesque illustrations we have to offer.
Claude Monet was born in the 9th Arrondissement of Paris on 14th November 1840. An important early influence was the painter Eugene Boudin, who mentored the young Monet and taught him oil painting techniques. Vitally, he also introduced the young artist to ‘en plein air’ or the practise of painting out of doors. Monet is best known as one of the founders of impressionism and some of his most iconic images were created at Giverny in Normandy where he planted a large garden that he painted consistently until his death in December 1926 at the age of 86.
Monet paintings always create excitement at the top auction houses and headlines in the world’s press. In 2008, ‘Le Basin au Nympheas’ from the famous water lilies series sold at Christie’s for £36.5 million. This was one of the highest prices achieved by a painting at the time. The Muse’e Marmottan Monet in the 16th Arrondissement of Paris houses the largest collection of Monet’s work.
Oil on Canvas. Wild Poppies Near Argenteuil 1873
This much loved painting is an example of Monet’s ‘en plein air’ approach, which allowed him to capture the atmosphere and rural beauty around his home in Argenteuil. The summer countryside is perfectly evoked through vibrant colours and intricate dynamic brushwork. The young woman with a sunshade and the child in the foreground are probably the artist’s wife Camille and their son Jean.
‘Wild Poppies Near Argenteuil’ was exhibited at the first impressionist exhibition, held in a disused photographic studio in 1874. It now hangs in the Musee d’Orsay, Paris.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born on 25th February, 1841, in Limoges, France. He began as an apprentice to a porcelain painter and studied drawing in his free time. After years of struggle, Renoir helped launch the movement known as impressionism in the 1870’s, eventually becoming one of the most highly regarded artists of his time. He died in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, in 1919 at the age of 78.
Oil on Canvas. Luncheon Of The Boating Party 1880-1881
The famous ‘Luncheon of the Boating Party’ displays a great richness of form, fluidity of brush stroke and an abundance of soft glowing light. The painting depicts a group of Renoir’s friends relaxing on a balcony at the Mainson Fournase by the River Seine at Chatou, France. Seated to the lower right is painter and art patron, Gustave Calliebotte, while Renoir’s future wife, Aline Victorine Charigot is in the foreground playing with a small dog. Charigot and the three sons that she had with Renoir would feature in many compositions by the artist.
This work was purchased from Renoir by the dealor-patron Paul Durrand-Ruel.
In 1923, Duncan Phillips bought the painting from Ruel’s son for $125, 000.
A truly innovative artist, Georges-Pierre Seurat was born on 2nd December, 1859, in Paris. A leading Post-impressionist and brilliant draftsman, in the mid-1880’s Seurat developed a style of painting that became known as Pointillism. Fascinated by scientific advances in colour, optical effects and perception, his pioneering career was cut short when he died on March 29th 1891 at just 32.
Since his death, Seurat’s reputation as an artist and innovator has ensured that his works are extremely highly prized. In 2008, a conte’ crayon and gouache on paper sold for more than 4.9 million euros at Sotheby’s in Paris.
Oil on Canvas. Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte 1884 – 1886
The shimmering luminous quality of the painting can be attributed to Seurat’s Pointillist technique, where rather than mixing colours on his palette, the artist dabbed tiny ‘points’ of pure colour onto the canvas. Colours placed side by side would appear to blend when viewed from a distance, creating an effect called ‘optical mixing’. Concentrating on colour, light and form, Seurat painted the landscape of the park with meticulous attention to these elements, reworking the original as well as creating numerous sketches of the figures. The island of La Grande Jette is situated on the river Seine between Neuilly and Levallois-Pettet, where today you will find La Defense business district. In Seurat’s time the island was a peaceful refuge from the urban clamour of Paris.
Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jette was purchased on the advice of the Art Institute of Chicago’s curatorial staff in 1924 for $24, 000 where it is still housed today.
The British Romantic landscape painter, water-colourist and printmaker Joseph Mallord William Turner was born in Covent Garden, London, (it is thought on 23rd April 1775). Turner’s earliest drawings were exhibited in his father’s shop window and were sometimes sold for a few shillings. A controversial figure during his long career, Turner is today revered as the artist who transformed landscape painting. Sometimes called the ‘painter of light’, Turner’s often luminous and highly atmospheric work is viewed as a Romantic precursor to impressionism. Some of his later paintings can almost be viewed as abstract, a movement that emerged half a century after his death in 1851.
Turner’s legacy cannot be underestimated. In recent decades, auction prices for his work have reached extraordinary heights. On July 7th 2010, Turner’s last painting of Rome, ‘Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino’ dating from 1839 was purchased by the J. Paul Getty Museum for $44.9 million.
Oil on Canvas. The Fighting Temeraire 1838
This work’s full title is ‘The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up’. It was completed by Turner in 1838 and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1839. The painting depicts the 98-gun HMS Temeraire, a ship that played a significant role in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, being towed by a steam tug to her final berth in Rotherhithe, South East London, where the great ship was broken up for scrap in 1838. Unusually, the main focus of the painting’s composition, the old warship, is well to the left of centre and appears almost ghostly behind the blackened tug and its dirty plume of smoke. The subject of the demise of heroic strength is conveyed symbolically and emotively.
It was voted the Nations best loved painting in a poll organised by the BBC in 2005, and is housed in The National Gallery, London.
Vincent Van Gogh was born on 30th March 1853 in the village of Groot-Zundert in the souther Netherlands. He was a clear influence on German Expressionism, The Fauves, the Abstract Expressionists and much of 20th Century art. Most of what was know about Van Gogh’s complicated and short life comes from the correspondence between the artist and his younger brother Theo, who was an art dealer. Van Gogh died aged just 37 from what were almost certainly self-inflicted gunshot wounds, although no weapon was ever found.
The artist’s posthumous fame has grown steadily over the years, with major memorial exhibitions from the early 20th Century onwards. Today one of the world’s most admired and recognised painters, his works sell for record breaking sums. ‘Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear’ achieved between $80- £90 million in a private sale during the late 1990’s. The largest collection of Van Gogh’s work is at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, where 200 paintings, 400 drawings and 700 letters are housed.
Oil on Canvas. The Starry Night 1889
Painted in June 1889, ‘The Starry Night’ contains Van Gogh’s typically powerful sinuous brushwork, rich bold colours and potent symbolism. It depicts the view from his santorium window in Saint Remy-de-Provence and although a richly nocturnal composition, it was in fact completed during daylight hours from memory. The whirling galaxy-like form, brooking cypress tree and some of the lower hills mark this out as a landscape of vision and not just representation.
Since 1941 ‘The Starry Night’ has been in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
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