View at Rouelles, Le Havre, 1858 by Claude Monet
Claude Monet spent his childhood growing up in Le Havre, Normandy, where he was, by his own account, an 'unruly' child, who nevertheless exhibited an early talent for drawing. His mother died in 1857 and young Monet went to live with his aunt, Marie-Jeanne, herself an artist and the friend of a painter Amand Gautier, both of whom encouraged Monet in his artistic pursuits.
The following year the young artist was persuaded by Eugene Boudin (1824-98) to travel with him to Rouelles, north-east of Le Havre, for a painting exursion. Here, under the influence of Boudin, Monet produced his first-known painting, View at Rouelles, La Havre, later exhibited at the Le Havre municipal exhibition in August and September 1858.
It is an extraordinarily accomplished work for the artist, who had only just started using oil paints, and already reveals his interest in the depiction of light and his skill as a colourist.