Denver Art Museum.
October 21, 2019 to February 2, 2020
Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany
February 29 to June 1, 2020
The Museum Barberini and the Denver Art Museum are currently collaborating on a large-scale Monet retrospective, exploring the role of the places that inspired the artist as well as his approach to rendering their specific topography, atmosphere, and light.
Denver's presentation of Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature will uncover Claude Monet's (1840– 1926) continuous dialogue with nature and its places through a thematic and chronological arrangement, from the first examples of artworks still indebted to the landscape tradition to the revolutionary compositions and series of his late years.
From February 29 to June 1, 2020, the Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany, will present the co-organized exhibition with the title Monet: Places.
Featuring key loans, the exhibition, at Denver and Potsdam, explores Monet's approach towards the depiction of sites and topographies that influenced his stylistic development, including Paris and London, the Seine villages of Argenteuil, Vétheuil and Giverny, the coasts of Normandy and Brittany as well as Southern travel destinations such as Bordighera, Venice and Antibes. Amongst the show’s many highlights are numerous depictions of Monet’s garden and pond in Giverny, including several variations of his world-famous waterlilies.
[Also on view this year, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (opening Feb. 16) and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth will show Monet: The Late Years, the first exhibition in more than 20 years dedicated to the final phase of Monet’s career.]
In the second half of the nineteenth century, the rise of Impressionism dramatically changed the evolution of European landscape painting. One of the movement’s most influential practitioners was Claude Monet, whose exceptionally prolific career spanned more than six decades. Although he was a highly versatile artist, Monet’s key interest lay on depictions of the natural world, characterized by a relentlessly experimental exploration of color, movement, and light. Inspired by the artistic exchange with his colleagues Eugène Boudin and Johan Barthold Jongkind, Monet’s early Impressionist compositions radicalized the practice of plein-air painting, as he largely rejected the studio in favor of working in open nature and directly in front of the motif.
More than any of his fellow Impressionists, he was deeply attracted to exploring the character of specific sites and locations in situ, from the sundrenched Riviera or the wind-swept, rugged coastline of the Belle-Île in Brittany to the picturesque banks of the river Seine. At the very heart of Monet’s artistic practice lay a keen interest in capturing the impression of a fleeting moment, as he tried to translate the most evanescent effects of the atmosphere into the material structure of paint.
“For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment”, Monet explained in 1891. “But its surroundings bring it to life – the air and light, which vary continually (…). For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives objects their real value.”
From his very first documented composition through to the late depictions of his farmhouse and water-garden in Giverny, the show Monet: Places offers a rich overview of his entire career, demonstrating his unique place within the French avantgarde of his time. The show engages with some of the major questions that were already touched upon by the museum’s opening exhibition Impressionism: The Art of Landscape, which attracted over 320,000 visitors in its three-month run in 2017.
Daniel Zamani, curator at the Museum Barberini, explains: “Monet’s career has been the subject of intense scholarly scrutiny, but our focus on the places that inspired him offers new insights into his artistic interests and methods. Our aim is to demonstrate just how significant specific topographies were at key junctures in Monet’s career and to look more deeply into how and why these places influenced his development as a painter.”
“Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge” (1899),
“The Parc Monceau” (1878),
“Path in the Wheat Fields at Pourville (Chemin dans les blés à Pourville)” (1882) and
“The Canoe on the Epte” (1890).
Monet traveled more extensively than any other impressionist artist in search of new motifs. His journeys to varied places including the rugged Normandy coast, the sunny Mediterranean, London, the Netherlands and Norway inspired artworks that will be featured in the presentation.
The exhibition will uncover Monet's continuous dialogue with nature and its places through a thematic and chronological arrangement, from the first examples of artworks still indebted to the landscape tradition to the revolutionary compositions and series of his late years.
"We're thrilled to organize and present this monumental exhibition, which will provide a new perspective on such a beloved artist," said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. "Visitors will gain a better understanding of Monet's creative process and how he distanced himself from conventions associated with the traditional landscape genre of painting."
Drawn from major institutions and collections from across the globe, Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature will include works as early as
Claude Monet, View from Rouelles, 1858-61. Oil paint on canvas; 18-1/2 x 25-5/8 in. Marunuma Art Park.View from Rouelles (Marunuma Art Park, Japan), the first painting Monet exhibited in 1858 when he was 18 years old,
and as late as The House Seen through the Roses (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam), a 1926 work completed in Giverny only a few months before Monet’s death.
Other highlights include the Boulevard des Capucines (1873-74) from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art,
Under the Poplars (1887) from a private collection and
The exhibition also will include six Monet paintings from the DAM collection;
Oil paint on canvas
Funds from Helen Dill bequest, 1935.15
four of them were part of the Frederic C. Hamilton Collection bequest in 2014:
Artworks by acknowledged mentors such as Eugène Boudin and Johan Barthold Jongkind, from whom Monet learned to capture the impression of fleeting moments en plein air, will also be featured.The presentation of Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature will explore Monet’s continuous interest in capturing the quickly changing atmospheres, the reflective qualities of water and the effects of light, aspects that increasingly led him to work on multiple canvases at once. Additionally, the exhibition will examine the critical shift in Monet’s painting when he began to focus on series of the same subject, including artworks from his series of Haystacks, Poplars, Waterloo Bridge and Water Lilies.
"Throughout his career, Monet was indefatigable in his exploration of the different moods of nature, seeking to capture the spirit of a certain place and translating its truth onto the canvas," said Angelica Daneo, curator of European painting and sculpture at the DAM. "Monet's constant quest for new motifs shows the artist's appreciation for nature's ever-changing and mutable character, not only from place to place, but from moment to moment, a concept that increasingly became the focus of his art."
Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature will also delve into the artist's increasing abandonment of any human presence in the landscapes he created, a testimony to his commitment to isolate himself in nature. This creative process simultaneously established an intimacy with his subject, which culminated later in Giverny, where he created his own motif through meticulous planning, planting and nurturing of his flowers and plants, which he then translated onto the canvas
This landmark exhibition, which will fill three galleries totaling about 20,000 square feet, is organized and curated by the DAM’s Angelica Daneo, Christoph Heinrich and Alexander Penn and Museum Barberini’s Director Ortrud Westheider. Major lenders include the Musée d'Orsay, Paris; Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
A catalog accompanying the exhibition, and published by Prestel Publishing, will include essays by renowned scholars, including Marianne Mathieu, James Rubin, George T.M. Shackelford and Richard Thomson, among others. The publication will be available in The Shop at the Denver Art Museum and through the online shop. A related academic symposium will be held in Potsdam, Germany, in January 2019.
Group tickets and event reservations will go on sale December 17, 2018. Single ticket sales will be announced at a later date.