The Red Kerchief, also known as Madame Monet or The Red Cape, is a painting by Claude Monet depicting his first wife, Camille. In the painting, Camille can be seen passing outside their home in Argenteuil wearing a red cape that draws the viewer’s attention through the glass and into a swift exchange of glances. The painting is uncharacteristically muted in color for Monet but was inspired by contemporary fashion illustrations and photographs.
Camille was the subject of many paintings by Monet, as well as other artists. The couple married on June 28, 1870, and had two sons together. However, sadly Camille’s health rapidly declined after childbirth and she passed away at the young age of 32 years old due to ovarian cancer. Monet painted a picture of his dying wife titled ‘Camille Monet On Her Death Bed.’
Monet kept The Red Kerchief with him until his death and it is now part of the collection at Musée d’Orsay in Paris. In this particular portrait, Monet shows Camille from behind dressed in a black-and-green striped silk dress and fur-trimmed velvet jacket. It remains one of his most notable works portraying his personal life during difficult times such as illness which gave viewers insight into his emotional connection with art.