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William Thornley, after Claude Monet, Grainstacks, Last Sunrays, c. 1894. Transfer lithograph printed in orange on off-white chine appliqué. Bibliothèque de l'Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art, Paris. Collections Jacques Doucet
THE RISE OF MONET'S CELEBRITY from his debut at the Salon in 1865 through his participation in the Impressionist exhibitions and a series of one-man shows from 1880 onward was chronicled and promoted in the popular press. His career coincided with the birth of the mass media and a dramatic upsurge in illustrated art journalism. Before photography could capture the nuances of his canvases, Monet played an active role in publishing his work by producing black-and-white drawings after his paintings that were suitable for reproduction in letterpress. It was through the circulation of these specialized drawings that the artist's paintings were introduced to an even broader public. At the same time, while shunning hands-on practice as a printmaker, he took part in the fin-de-siècle vogue for lithography by entering into a venture to market the first limited-edition lithographic portfolio based on his paintings.
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