French, 1840 ‑ 1926
The Church at Varengeville, Grey Weather, 1882
Oil on canvas
25 5/8 × 32 in. (65.1 × 81.3 cm.)
Bequest of Mrs. Blakemore Wheeler 1964.31.20
The Lure of the Sea
For Monet, the sea offered both artistic inspiration and subject matter guaranteed to appeal to Parisian collectors. He made frequent trips to the Normandy coast in the north of France during the 1880s, painting rocky shorelines and breathtaking vistas in the popular tourist towns of Dieppe, Étretat, and Pourville. In nearby Varengeville, Monet spotted this mariners’ church perched atop a steep cliff overlooking the English Channel. Positioning his easel on a hillside opposite the church, he painted three versions of this scene at various times of day and under different atmospheric conditions, a practice that anticipates his haystacks and Rouen Cathedral series of the 1890s.