Canvas

Canvas

The canvas Monet used for this painting was a commercially prepared canvas, purchased from the Paris-based supplier Alexis Ottoz.

At the time of Monet’s training, instruction manuals for artists still included directions for cutting to size, preparing and stretching canvas. However by the 1840s it made economic sense for artists in France to buy commercially prepared and stretched canvases to paint on. The supplier’s mark of Alexis Ottoz has been stencilled on to the reverse of the canvas Monet used for this painting. The Ottoz family were well-established artist suppliers in Paris who later became art dealers, selling the paintings of many Impressionist artists.

The canvas measures (668 x 540 mm) which was the standard size “15” available at this time. In his early career Monet regularly used this size of canvas which was easily transportable for painting outdoors on location. The number 15 indicates the cost of the canvas in French sous.

Photograph © National Museum of Ireland

The canvas is an extremely finely woven fabric. It has been identified as linen, according to fibre analysis carried out at the National Museum of Ireland. It is possible for conservators to assess the quality and density of a canvas by determining its thread count. The thread count in this case is very high (28 threads x 28 threads per cm²). This type of canvas was aesthetically superior and conveniently light weight for use when working outdoors.  Monet was conscious of using high grade materials.