Project Two – Research point: landscape in serie

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) ‘Haystacks’ or ‘Wheatstacks’ 1888-1891 in Giverny.

The serie is taking the same scene and object to reflect the different light and weather conditions over the time of a day and over different seasons. At his time it was very new and modern to put such a simple object as a haystack as the point of interest. The painting approach was to modukate with light and color to reflect on time and season of the year. Vasily Kandinsky got inspired by one of the haystack paintings as a turing point in his life: He decided to become a painter.

Claude Monet - Serie of haystacks , 1890/1 -

Claude Monet – Serie of haystacks , 1890/1 –

Ref.: Monet, Claude [online images]. Chicago, USA: Art Institute of Chicago. Available from: [accessed 04 May 2015]

Edvard Munch (1863- 1944) ‘Stairy night’

Munch made quite some series, especially about his well known motifs (Madonna, Scream, Sick Girl etc.) Some followed Munch his entire life. Many of them not only in oil, but also as a print. One of the landscape motif is ‘Stairy Night’. First painted in 1893 Munch came back to it in 1922. At that time it indicated Munch retreat from social life and his reflection on the meaning of life. The painting have a quite symbolic meaning. Slight adjustments in color and shapes between the two of 1922/4. Interesting the changes of the two foreground people and their cast shadows.

Edvard Munch - Serie Stairy Night - 1893 - 1924

Edvard Munch – Serie Stairy Night – 1893 – 1924

– ‘Stjernenatt (Stairy night)’, 1893 [online image]. Los Angeles: Paul J Getty Museum. Available from:
– ‘Stjernenatt (Stairy night)’, 1922/4 (2x) [online images]. Oslo: Munch Museet. Available from:  and  [accessed 04 May 2015]

Peter Doig (b. 1959) a scottish born painter from Edinburgh who moved to Trinidad. As reference for his works he draws upon photographic, film, and cultural images. He is influenced by some of the works of E. Munch what is easy to recognize in some of his paintings (see below). Key motifs are wintersports and frozen ponds. It is not easy to see how Doig paints in series. I think it is less a specific scene as Monet’s ‘Haystacks’ rather than some key subjects and thoughts: a canoe, lake, lonely man, or frozen water. In this context I can see again some links to E Munch’s approach of making a serie.

One of Doig’s serie refers back to the horror movie ‘Friday 13th’ from Sean Cunningham (1980). After the initial painting ‘Friday the 13th’, 1987 he continued in the following years with ‘White canoe’, 1990, ‘Swamped’, 1990, ‘Canoe Lake’, 1999 and ‘Echo Lake‘, 1998. The paintings are showing similar compositions: horizontal format with a lake and trees in the background splitting the picture into half, a canoe or a man, reflections. The colors used make the pictures quite unnatural and weird. The reflections in the lake keep the observer’s imagination active. Overall, the serie of painting is a narrative about the lake and the story behind.

Peter Doig - Serie Canoe and lake - 1990-1998

Peter Doig – Serie Canoe and lake – 1990-1998

– ‘Swamped’, 1990 [online image]. private collecton. Available from:
–  ‘White Canoe’, 1990/1 and ‘Canoe Lake’, 1997/8  [online images]. Saatchi Gallery. Available from: and
– ‘Echo Lake’, 1998 [online image]. London: Tate Gallery. Available from:
all [Accessed 04 May 2015]

Nicholas Herbert (b.?) an english painter from St. Alban created an extended serie of ‘Chiltern Hills’ in 2013 and 2014.

Herbert explores in this serie the chalky upland landscapes as a kind of personal experience. He works with mixed media on small scale (around 18 x 13 cm;  white paper with graphite, colour pencil, soluble crayon and acrylic). The viewpoints are different as the light and weather conditions. The works convey a rather mystic expression, not very detailed, rather indicative, conveying the mood and atmosphere Herbert experienced on site. Very much in the tradition of the works from C Monet (see above) but with a contemporary approach.

Nicholas Herbert - Serie Chiltern Hills - 2013/4

Nicholas Herbert – Serie Chiltern Hills – 2013/4

– ‘The chiltern hills’ [online images]. Collection of the artist. Available from:    [Accessed 04 May 2015]

John Virtue (b. 1947) and his series on Norfolk coast: see my earlier research here


  • Making a serie of a landscape can give a much more intimate approach and experience. The variety of nature with different light and colors are hard to get in just one picture.
  • A serie can make an impression and a concept more complete than just one picture.
  • Making a serie can last dayy, month and even years over the lifespan of an artist
  • There are several reasons to make a landscape in serie:
    – as a narrative (e.g. Peter Doig)
    – to reflect different time of the day and year with its variety of light, shadow and color (e.g. Claude Monet)
    – as a personal note taking of feelings, moods and atmosphere (e.g. Nicholas Herbert)
    – as a reflection of different mental states (e.g. Edvard Munch)


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