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Claude Monet: The Painter Who Stopped the Trains: 12/07/13

cover art

Claude Monet: The Painter Who Stopped the Trains by P.I. Maltbie is a picture book about Monet's series of trains painted at the Saint-Lazare Train Station.

These are images, that even if you haven't seen them in person, you'll recognize them when they are described as they have inspired (and continue to inspire) other artists. For instance, Mewsette's arrival into Paris in Gay Purr-ee (Chuck Jones, 1964) is an animated homage to Monet. More recently, Christopher Moore spends an entire chapter on their painting in Sacré Bleu

Now in Moore's version, the magical blue paint he was using allowed him to slow down the passage of time in order to paint an entire series without much disruption to the day to day traffic at Gar Saint-Lazare. In reality, Monet convinced the station master to slow the trains, claiming (rightfully as it turned out) that the paintings would be good publicity.

At the end of the book there are additional notes about Monet, as well as a bibliography. My favorite part, though, is the artist's statement. He explains how he illustrated the book and points out some Easter eggs (including a self portrait).

La gare Saint-Lazare
La gare Saint-Lazare by Claude Monet, 1877.

Five stars

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