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The Port at Touques, c. 1864. Black chalk on off-white laid paper. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts
IN THE EARLY 1860s Monet experimented with many different drawing techniques. Now based in Paris, he briefly submitted to life as an art student but rebelled against the teaching of drawing from the human figure. Monet was already determined to become a landscape painter and often escaped to the countryside or the coast to make rapid studies from nature. As his ambitions grew, he worked on large paintings for public exhibitions, sometimes planning them in pencil, chalk, or pastel drawings. His fresh, confident draftsmanship is also apparent in a group of black-chalk studies of Normandy, perhaps made for sale or as designs for prints. Monet's lack of conventional training led to some practical problems, but it also liberated him to work directly on canvas.

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