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Paintings for the Soul

Light, shadow and reflection: be enchanted by Claude Monet’s magic at the Fondation Beyeler.

By Shirley L. Kearney

CLAUDE MONET, LE PARLEMENT, CIEL ORAGEUX, 1904 / HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT, STORMY SKY - Oil on canvas, 81 x 92 cm Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, legs de Maurice Masson, 1949 Photo: © RMN-Grand Palais / René-Gabriel Ojéda

As a 20th anniversary gift to itself and the public, the Fondation Beyeler has 62 works by Claude Monet hanging on its walls. Thanks to its honoured and trusted reputation in the art world, some paintings at the Fondation are on loan from 15 private collections, others from leading museums in Europe, the USA and Japan.  Many of the works are on public display for the first time. Director Sam Keller said that upon their arrival it was like unwrapping Christmas gifts; but more than that it was a dream come true.

Oscar-Claude Monet was born in Paris on 14 November 1840 and died on 5 December 1926 in Giverny, where he had made his home and gardens for 40 years. His travels were extensive and he visited numerous artists. His life overflowed with emotions; he changed the way we look at nature and our everyday surroundings.

The exhibition presents more than the Monet of water lilies and subdued country scenes. For example, wild coastal scenes appear to portray expressionism or severely strong impressionism. One such example is “La Cabane du Douanier”, 1882 (The Customs Officer’s Home) from the Harvard Art Museum / The Fogg Museum, with the custom house perched on a knoll looking down on the strong and wide waves. There is also the featured painting “In the Bark” (En Norvégienne, 1887), on loan from the Musée d’Orsay, in which we see his three stepdaughters calmly fishing.

CLAUDE MONET, EN NORVÉGIENNE, 1887 / IN THE “NORVEGIENNE” - Oil on canvas, 97,5 x 130,5 cm Musée d’Orsay, Paris, legacy of Princesse Edmond de Polignac, 1947 Photo: © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

The hanging is thematic. Backlight; Trees; The Seine; The Customs Officer’s Home; The Coast and the Sea; Morning on the Seine; London; and the Water Lilies / Nymphaea. Information about this exhibition is also available in English, on the Fondation’s website.

Light, Shadow and Reflection
Claude Monet at the Fondation Beyeler
22 January – 28 May 2017

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