A massive study of the working methods, the influences, the objectives of the painter who has come to represent for many art lovers the Impressionist movement itself. There is an irony in this perception of Monet's work insofar as the painter himself abandoned in large measure the precepts of his fellow Impressionists while in mid-career. As he came to be more and more preoccupied with the effects of light and atmosphere, Monet rejected to a degree plein air painting, preferring to rework his canvases in the studio. It was in this way, he felt, he could attain the overall unity of the composition. The results are to be found in the series of ""Haystack,"" ""Cathedral"" and ""Poplar"" paintings, among others. House (Art History, University of London) does a superb job here of making this gradual transformation understandable. His discussions of what Monet described as the ""enveloppe""--the atmospheric haze that characterizes the tater works are especially revealing. House is equally informative about the influences of Japanese prints on such works as ""Terrace at Saints-Adresse."" Even the painter's working methods, as indicated from a study of the ""pentimentt"" in many of the canvases, come in for scholarly analysis. If there is one area that may be scanted in this monumental undertaking, it is the biographical details of Monet's life. Readers less than thoroughly familiar with the period and the objectives of the Impressionist movement may find themselves somewhat confused by the rivalries and alliances that marked the time, It is a small matter but one forwhich unwary readers should be prepared. All in all, however, as satisfying an art book as has come along in quite some time. An added bonus: 110 color plates plus 150 black-and-white illustrations.