Claude Monet, a founder of French Impressionism and one of the most recognizable names in art history, eschewed the comforts and traditions of the studio in favor of painting outside in the open air, or “en plein air.” Painted after they married in June 1870, Camille assise sur la plage à Trouville (1870-1871) depicts Monet’s wife Camille at the beach in Trouville, France. Camille is seen clutching a parasol as the sun shines down; the wind powering sails in the background. “In painting Camille on the beach,” art historian Robert Herbert wrote in Impressionism: Art, Leisure, and Parisian Society, “Monet was celebrating her as a fashionable vacationer, the kind of offering an impecunious artist can make to his bride.”
Despite the idyllic scenery and the thrill of being newly married, Camille assise sur la plage à Trouville was painted on the precipice of the Franco-Prussian War. Later that summer, Claude, Camille, and their young son Jean, would flee to London, where they remained throughout the war.