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The Studio Boat - Perspectives No. 375

The Studio Boat

Perspectives No. 375

La Barque-Atelier, 1876, Claude Monet
La Barque-Atelier               1876               Claude Monet

   Among our very favorite paintings Claude Monet created while living in Giverny, are the series of views of the Epte and Seine rivers. Some of these views were clearly painted from a position in a boat on the river, not from the shore. We have always admired that Monet had a special purpose-built painting boat (his “bateau-atelier”, or studio boat) constructed just so he could get a vantage point on the water. That floating studio allowed him to row onto the Epte and even the larger Seine to paint subjects otherwise not viewable from land.

   Guest artists were occasionally invited to paint with Monet. The list includes Renoir, Pissarro, Manet and more. Manet chose to paint Monet himself working in the boat alongside his wife, Camille.

Monet Painting in His Studio Boat, 1874, Edouard Manet
Monet Painting in His Studio Boat          1874          Edouard Manet

   Monet also invited a young artist-to-be, Abel Lauvray, to paint from the boat. The wealthy Lauvray family (of notaries) lived nearby and was instrumental in helping Monet with legal matters. After studying law, Abel Lauvray went on to become a painter. Monet later gave his floating studio to him. Sadly, Monet’s original boat is no more, but a replica of it has been created near Giverny. It is surprising how large and heavy a boat it is. We can’t imagine the strength required to row such a large craft on the Seine.

   Monet’s studio boat was not the first of its kind. It is thought he may have been inspired by Charles-François Daubigny who painted from his boat, the Botin, more than a decade earlier on the Seine and Oise Rivers. Daubigny published a book with illustrations done from his boat painting travels.

Night Voyage, 1861, Charles-Francois Daubigny, plate from boo
Night Voyage          1861          Charles-François Daubigny

   The boundless inspiration bestowed on us by the forested pond nearby has inspired us to christen our own “bateau-atelier”. While we can’t afford to have a custom-built boat made for us, there are many good used boats available which can be adapted. We found an old flat-bottom aluminum jon boat which we have now repainted in dark green with red rub-rails. We look forward to painting the shoreline planted with water iris and American lotus from our floating studio. The next addition to the boat will be a canvas roof. We’ll keep you posted on our water-borne adventures and hope you will write us about any painting adventures you may have had “en bateau”!

Le Bateau Atelier, 1876, Claude Monet
Le Bateau-Atelier          1876          Claude Monet




Copyright Hulsey Trusty Designs, L.L.C. (except where noted). All rights reserved.
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About Us

Photograph of John Hulsey and Ann Trusty in Glacier National Park
We are artists, authors and teachers with over 40 years of experience in painting the world's beautiful places. We created The Artist's Road in order to share our knowledge and experiences with you, and create a community of like-minded individuals.  You can learn more about us and see our original paintings by clicking on the links below.
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We are also regular contributors to the Plein Air blog at Artist Daily.

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