Impression, Sunrise was painted by French impressionist artist Claude Monet in 1872. Monet claimed that he titled the painting Impression, Sunrise due to his hazy painting style in his depiction of the subject. The term “Impressionism” is derived from the title of this painting, which was exhibited in 1874 in the first of the independent exhibitions mounted by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon de Paris.
Impression, Sunrise depicts the port of Le Havre at sunrise, the two small rowboats in the foreground and the red sun being the focal elements. In the middle ground, more fishing boats are included, while in the background on the left side of the painting are clipper ships with tall masts. Behind them are other misty shapes that “are not trees but smoke stacks of packboats and steamships, while on the right in the distance are other masts and chimneys silhouetted against the sky.” In order to show these features of industry, Monet eliminated existing houses on the left side of the jetty, leaving the background unobscured.
The representation of Le Havre, hometown of Monet and a center of industry and commerce, celebrates the “renewed strength and beauty of the country… Monet’s ultimate utopian statement.” Art demonstrating France’s revitalization, Monet’s depiction of Le Havre’s sunrise mirrored the renewal of France.