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The Harbour at Argenteuil, Oil by Claude Monet (1840-1926, France)
"My only merit," Monet wrote later in life, "lies in having painted directly in front of nature, seeking to render my impressions before the most fleeting moments." This is one of seventy-five works Monet painted of the Seine River in Argenteuil, a yachting center west of Paris. It combines two favorite Impressionist themes: fashionable, leisurely figures strolling, boating, and bathing, and an industrial backdrop of bridge and smokestack. Monet lived and painted in Argenteuil for several years; today the town is best known for his images of it.