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Monet painting in Banff from tomorrow

By Alistair Whitfield

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Claude Monet's painting 'Shipping by Moonlight'
Claude Monet's painting 'Shipping by Moonlight'

BY public demand an early painting by a leading light of the Impressionist movement is going on display at Duff House from tomorrow.

'Shipping by Moonlight' by Claude Monet is the latest painting from National Galleries of Scotland to go on display at the Georgian mansion in Banff as part of the annual Masterpiece series.

Painted 10 years before the first landmark Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1874, the moonlit scene depicts the harbour at Honfleur, close to the artist’s childhood home of Le Havre, on the Normandy coast.

Monet later commented on his admiration for moonlight scenes, but also on the difficulties involved in painting nature at night.

The painting will be on display until Sunday, March 22 next year alongside the permanent collections at Duff House, which include works by leading Scottish artists such as Allan Ramsay and Henry Raeburn, as well as significant pictures by international masters such as El Greco.

Corinna Leenen, the collections manager at Duff House, said: "The annual Masterpiece loan is always a highlight of the season here at Duff House, and we were pleased this year to open it up to a public vote on social media.

"As the vote showed, Impressionist artists remain ever-popular with the public, and this is a great opportunity for art lovers in the north East to see a striking and evocative work by perhaps the movement’s best-loved exponent.”

Monet was born in Paris in 1840 and moved to Normandy as a child.

He spent much of his life here, creating his famous gardens at Giverny, where he lived for 43 years until his death in 1926.

In 1874 he exhibited 'Impression, Sunrise', a hazy view of the port at Le Havre in the early morning light, which was to inspire the name of the Impressionist movement.

'Impression, Sunrise'
'Impression, Sunrise'

Monet's interest in capturing the effect of changing light at different times of the day, weathers and seasons continued throughout his long and prolific career.

Professor Frances Fowle, senior curator of French Art at National Galleries of Scotland, said: "This dark, moonlit seascape is highly unusual in Monet’s oeuvre and very far from the sun-drenched meadows we usually associate with the artist.

"Its dramatic subject matter has great resonance with the striking coastal landscape of Banff."

Entry to view the painting is included in the Duff House admission price, and is free for members.

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