In 1877, settling in the Nouvelle Athènes area, Claude Monet asked for permission to work in the Gare Saint-Lazare that marked its boundary on one side. Indeed, this was an ideal setting for someone who sought the changing effects of light, movement, clouds of steam and a radically modern motif. From there followed a series of paintings with different viewpoints including views of the vast hall. In spite of the apparent geometry of the metallic frame, what prevails here is really the effects of colour and light rather than a concern for describing machines or travellers in detail. Certain zones, true pieces of pure painting, achieve an almost abstract vision.
“You can hear the trains rumbling in, see the smoke billow up under the huge roofs….That is where painting is today….Our artists have to find the poetry in train stations, the way their fathers found the poetry in forests and rivers” - Emile Zola about Monet’s paintings.