Monet’s Minutes is a revelatory account charting the relationship between the works of Claude Monet (1840–1926)—founder of French Impressionism and one of the world’s best-known painters—and the modern experience of time. André Dombrowski illuminates Monet’s celebration of instantaneity in the context of the late nineteenth-century time technologies that underwrote it.
Monet’s version of Impressionism demonstrated an acute awareness of the particularly modern pressures of time, but until now scholars have not examined the histories and technologies of time and timekeeping that informed Impressionism’s major stylistic shifts. Arguing that the fascination with instantaneity rejected the dulling cultures of newly routinized and standardized time, Monet’s Minutes traces the evolution of Monet’s art to what were then seismic shifts in the shape of time itself.
In each chapter, Dombrowski focuses on the connections between a set of Monet’s works and a specific technology or experience of time, while providing the voices of period critics responding to Impressionism. Grounded in exceptional research and analyses, this book offers new interpretations of key paintings by Monet and a fresh perspective on late nineteenth-century art, society, and modern temporality.
“Monet’s Minutes is unrelievedly and impressively original. It should be hailed as a milestone in both Monet and Impressionist studies, and it will be admired as a new form of ‘contextualist’ art history, not to mention histories of urban modernity. Even for non-art historians, Dombrowski’s discussions will be consumed with gusto and admiration.”—Hollis Clayson, Northwestern University
“This is a genuinely important and original study. While easily being the most perceptive recent monograph on Monet’s art, it also makes a very significant contribution to understandings of Impressionism and of late nineteenth-century art more generally. Particularly valuable are the new insights it offers into the impact that changing conceptions and measures of time had on the distinctive temporalities shaping Impressionist art and early critical responses to it.”—Alex Potts, University of Michigan