Claude Monet’s painting of a grief, 1873


Camille Monet, (1847-1879) on a Garden Bench, oil on canvas, 1873

Claude Monet, 1840-1926, French,  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY



The artist’s wife, Camille Doncieux is seated on a bench in their garden at Argenteuil.  

This would seem to be one of the artist’s many dazzling paintings of this garden.  

This is, however, a painting of his wife’s grief.   


Her father died in 1873. 

His daughter here is in a world, not of the garden, but of her grief.  The flowers brought by a neighbor are discarded on the bench.  She pays no further attention to him.

She is carrying a note.  What it is we don’t know and it may be the note that brought her news of her father’s death.

 A woman in the left rear is admiring the flowers.  Nothing has changed for her and the world continues.




Camille Monet’s eyes stare.  Not at the middle distance and not at her husband or at the garden.  But at something not in the physical world.

Only she can see what and who it is and it has cut her off from this beautiful world which her husband created and repeatedly memorialized in his paintings. 

This is a memorable painting of grief.