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Houses of Parliament, Sunlight Effect (Le Parlement, effet de soleil)

Claude Monet

European Art

At the turn of the twentieth century, Monet embarked on trips to London and Venice, where his mature Impressionist style expanded to embrace new cityscapes. His paintings of the Houses of Parliament in London and the Doge’s Palace in Venice elaborated upon the interest in atmospheric effects that shaped his artistic vision. Here, Monet mutes the architectural details of these two iconic buildings, focusing instead on rendering cascading sunlight and shimmering water in loose, overlapping strokes of color.

His activity in these two cultural capitals also testifies to Monet’s interest in the built environment. But although these works coincide with the boom in local tourism aided by railways and guidebooks, he curiously overlooks that aspect of these urban sites, largely omitting any indication of human presence.

Stationing himself on the balcony of Saint Thomas’ Hospital, across the river from his subject, Monet painted nineteen versions of the Houses of Parliament in changing weather and light conditions. He captured the Doge’s Palace in Venice in three canvases from his seat in a gondola across the Grand Canal.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: Europe
  • DATES 1903
    DIMENSIONS 32 x 36 1/4 in. (81.3 x 92.1 cm) Frame: 41 1/4 x 45 1/2 x 3 3/8 in. (104.8 x 115.6 x 8.6 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed and dated lower left: "Claude Monet 1903"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Bequest of Grace Underwood Barton
    PROVENANCE May 11, 1904, purchased from the artist by Durand-Ruel, Paris, France; January 1905, purchased from Durand-Ruel by Arthur A. Crosby of New York, NY; between January 1905 and February 1906, provenance not yet documented; February 1906, purchased from Durand-Ruel, New York, NY by Arthur Brewster Emmons of Newport, RI; January 14, 1920, purchased from Arthur B. Emmons at American Art Galleries, New York, "Highly Valuable Paintings of Sterling Artistic Distinction" lot 36 by Knoedler & Co. for Cornelius Vanderbilt Barton of New York, NY; July 14, 1942, inherited from Cornelius Vanderbilt Barton by Grace Underwood Barton of Brooklyn, NY; 1968, bequeathed by Grace Underwood Barton to the Brooklyn Museum.
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    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926). Houses of Parliament, Sunlight Effect (Le Parlement, effet de soleil), 1903. Oil on canvas, 32 x 36 1/4 in. (81.3 x 92.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Grace Underwood Barton, 68.48.1 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 68.48.1_colorcorrected_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 68.48.1_colorcorrected_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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