Claude Monet, French, 1840-1925, Waterloo Bridge, Effet de Soleil, 1903. Oil on canvas,
65.1 x 100 cm. Gift of Herman Levy Esq., O.B.E.;1984.007.0043. Photography by John Tamblyn. Lent by: McMaster Museum of Art, McMaster University, Hamilton
Claude Monet, known as the leader of the Impressionist group of artists, often visited London, staying at the fashionable Savoy Hotel, located on the Victoria Embankment on the north side of the Thames. From his fifth-floor balcony, he had an excellent view of Waterloo Bridge on the left and Charing Cross Bridge on the right. In total, Monet's time in London yielded over 100 canvases of this famous river resulting in one of his most well-known series of painting, Views of the Thames, which featured the two main bridges and the Houses of Parliament. In this view of the bridge in fog, he allows the atmospheric elements of the day and season to envelop the entire scene. In the winter months in London, the combination of sunlight, cool fog and the heavy smoke from industrial coal furnaces (their towering stacks visible in the distance) created a dazzling palette of muted pinks, purples, and greys missed with flashes of red and blue. The brushwork is even, applied quickly in short strokes, while deposits of impasto emphasize the activity and character of the bridge's roadway and massive vault supports.