MONET MADE USE OF SKETCHBOOKS from his early years in Le Havre through his final period of activity at Giverny. The pages of these small albums offered him private spaces in which to jot down visual ideas as he contemplated subjects to paint. With few exceptions, Monet's sketchbook drawings relate to the earliest rather than the latest stages of his creative process. The artist evidently considered these studies to be of strictly utilitarian significance, neither exhibiting nor selling them during his lifetime.
The primary evidence for this aspect of Monet's working method consists of eight bound sketchbooks that were left to his son, Michel, who in turn bequeathed them to the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris in 1966. The complete contents of these books—some three hundred drawings—have been newly photographed for inclusion in the accompanying interactive application. This digital presentation of Monet's sketchbooks gives unprecedented public access to works that are among his least refined yet some of his most intimate artistic utterances.