Title of Artwork: “Houses on the Achterzaan”
Artwork by Claude Monet
Year Created 1871
Summary of Houses on the Achterzaan
It is one of twenty-four landscapes Monet painted outside in the open air while visiting the Netherlands in 1871. Near the town of Zaandam, the river Achterzaan serves as the foreground of this picture, while windmills and factories stand in the distance. A white sailboat reflects the colourful homes and willow trees that surround the riverbank. On the left, a willow tree frames a scene in which a woman in a white, flowy gown stands and looks out over the river.
All About Houses on the Achterzaan
Monet paints this scene with atmospheric texture and palpable light using a decidedly blonde colour palette reminiscent of that utilised by landscape painter Corot. While in Holland, Monet would have been exposed to a variety of artistic styles, including the pastoral idyll and easy elegance of the seventeenth-century Dutch masters.
It was during Monet’s time in Holland that he experimented with a more modern colour palette, depiction of leisurely hobbies, and attention to the surface of the canvas, all of which were crucial to the evolution of his painting style.
Monet marked the canvas with the date a year after he painted it, at his studio. The fact that Monet kept the canvas for so long after he finished it helps to explain why it is still in such excellent condition, without any traces of varnish or lining.