The Lunch, 1876-1877 by Claude Monet

The early large-scale works of Monet gave way to smaller pieces after 1870, but this work, a decorative panel entitled The Lunch, was one of the exceptions. It was exhibited in 1876 at the second Impressionist exhibition. It is possible that this work encouraged Ernest Hoschede to commission Monet to paint panels for his own estate.

The portrayal of this magnificent piece is tranquil and relaxed in its approach to everyday life. A small child (Jean Monet) sits and plays by the uncleared table in the picturesque garden. The house is partially hidden by the foliage in the garden,

The charm of the subject lies above all in the impression of spontaneity, in the simple evocation of family life, some traces of which remain. The table has not been cleared at the end of a meal. A hat, hanging on the branch of a tree, a bag and a parasol left on the bench seems to have been forgotten there. In the cool shade of the green foliage, little Jean Monet quietly plays with a few pieces of wood.