Art Sunday: Claude Monet – Camille Monet on a Garden Bench

Camille Monet on a Garden Bench is the most enigmatic of Monet’s rare genre pictures. Numerous interpretations have been offered, yet nothing has been found in the literature or theater of Monet’s time that corresponds to this scene. The most telling clue may be biographical: the death of Camille’s father in September 1873. Camille was an impassive model, but here she telegraphs sadness, while holding a note in her gloved hand. Later, Monet identified the gentleman as a neighbor – perhaps one who had called to offer his condolences and a consoling bouquet.