Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Made it to the Monet exhibit

This is a picture by Jacques Demarthon/Agence France-Presse, used to illustrate the critical review in the New York Times. I'm glad I didn't read the review before seeing the show for myself. It's a great review and a great show, but I'm glad I decided it was great on my own. Well, not entirely on my own since Rita also got up before the break of dawn this freezing morning to get the RER and be at the exhibit entrance at 9:00.
There was already quite a line, but since I had that Sésame card, we went in first and didn't have to stop at the cashier's desk. We got rid of our coats and went into the absolutely empty Grand Palais. They weren't empty for long; Rita and I took our time and by the time we were through the first room, the crowd had caught up with us. It wasn't a horde, though, we were able to go at our own speed and look carefully at whatever we wanted to. That brings me back to why I chose this picture; I was most impressed by the many series. 
Back in September, when we went to Rouen with Jackie and Ed, we saw the Impressionists in Rouen exhibit and, of course, the series of the Rouen cathedrale were there. Well, they finished the exhibit in Rouen just in time to make the trip to Paris. Each painting in a series belongs to a different owner -- museums for the most part -- all over the world, so you really don't get to compare the cathedrale, haystack, or parliament paintings. Here, you do. They really did get paintings from all over the world, with the exception of the Marmottan museum in Paris, which has its own Monet exhibit and doesn't want to share. So you get to see the haystacks at different times of the day with colors and shadows more or less intense, or in sunlight or under snow. I just loved the Parliament paintings from the early 1900s. 
Another thing I noticed about Monet is that he doesn't seem to have a signature brush stroke. Each painting is done differently. Reflections on the water are fantastic, but there doesn't seem to be a certain way to get that result; it's all in the color, and there doesn't seem to any right way to do that, either. Sometimes the little people in a painting are really vague tiny splotches, but with a little different color in the middle of the splotch, it's a woman's dress. On the other hand, the details in large paintings with people are exquisite and exact. 
So now, I'm back home. No library today. Anne has kindly taken the afternoon slot for today. She has to stay in town for an evening activity and just preferred staying at the library. I understand her reasoning. It's such a schlep to go back home that the mere idea of schleping back out makes you want to just crawl under the covers and not go. I've had an excellent left-over turkey lunch. It's very cold, but the sun has come out. Rita and I walked up the Champs Elysées from the Grand Palais to the RER station at Etoile and then, of course, I walked home from the Fontenay station. That added to my walk to the station should be enough for today. 
Here is the link to the exhibit again: Monet 2010 and another to the post about our trip to Rouen in September.

1 comment:

ozajacz said...

Since you tagged it I did look up the NY Times review and found this lovely quote from Proust below.

On the threshold of love we are bashful,” Proust noted. “There has to be someone who will say to us, ‘Here is what you may love: love it.’ ”

I wish I could see the exhibit but reading your blog about it is quite satisfying. Kate O (ozajacz is O'Neill/Zajaczkwoski (the husband's last name).