Recent Acquisitions - 1 of 12

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Caricature of a Man with a Snuff Box by Claude Monet

Since opening in 1955, the Clark has continued to acquire works of art through purchase, gift, and bequest. This section highlights some of the most important recent acquisitions.

Claude Monet
French, 1840–1926
Caricature of a Man with a Snuff Box
c. 1858–59
Charcoal heightened with white chalk on blue laid paper
23 1/8 x 13 in. (58.8 x 33 cm)
Acquired by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 2006

As a teenager in Le Havre, Claude Monet earned his first professional income as a caricaturist, inspired by the prints of Honoré Daumier (1808–1879) and Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, called Nadar (1820–1910). The most impressive of Monet’s early works comprise a series of large-format portraits-charges (literally, “loaded portraits”) in which he set exaggerated, life-sized heads on miniature bodies. They are the largest drawings in his body of work and the first to bear his youthful signature, “O[scar] Monet.” With his lifelike countenance and vivid personality, this anonymous man taking snuff—a smokeless tobacco that is inhaled or “snuffed” through the nose—demonstrates in the most striking fashion the artist’s full mastery of the genre. Monet’s precocious efforts allied him with vanguard critics of his day, such as Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867), who linked the art of caricature with modernity.