An Ephemeral Moment in Time: Clapp’s Impressionist Perspective in "Chézy, Valley of the Marne"

Text by Anna Orton-Hatzis
Anna Orton-Hatzis, 2018

In 1906, Clapp spent almost a year at Chezy-sur-Marne creating “his first body of Impressionist canvases” (Duval, 72). The location proved an idyllic location for his studies of light. At first sight, Chézy, Valley of the Marne recalls works like Les Meules à Giverny from Claude Monet’s iconic series of wheatstacks in palette and subject matter. Like Monet, Clapp sought to capture more than the effervescent quality of sunlight; both artists allude to the passage of time in their respective series. The shadow in Chézy, Valley of the Marne, which slowly encroaches from the bottom of the picture plane, serves as a reminder of the movement of the sun over the field. Like a shadow on a sundial, Chézy, Valley of the Marne captures an ephemeral moment in time.