Autumn is here, guys. There’s no way to show off in summer clothes anymore. In less than two weeks, we had to swap our light jackets for fresh evenings for down jackets, including hat and gloves. I have hardly no more arguments for winter. Well, it’s the perfect kind of weather to go to the museum, so we went to see the exhibition Monet. Beyond impressionism at the Ordrupgaard Museum, near Copenhagen.
I will spare you the 30-minutes bicycle ride to go there, the rising false-flat, the five degrees Celsius, the mobile phone in one hand to find the way, the coaster brake to manage, and the rules of the cycle lanes not to forget in any case. I’d rather tell you about this beautiful painting exhibition that we saw after we got there, red-faced, dishevelled and wet. Scandinavia’s biggest Monet exhibition, by the way.
Aside about painting
I have always enjoyed looking at paintings: the colours, the shapes and the feeling I have in front of them. But I used to wonder whether I could give an opinion about works of art, or in particular about a painting as this is what it is about. It’s true that art can be snobbish. What would be best to think of a painting, especially if it’s a masterpiece? Unless we are initiates or experts, are we really entitled to say whether a work of art is beautiful, ugly, well executed, ambitious, innovative or whatever else? What really counts?
Today, I am more experienced, but still not an expert. However, my relationship towards art has radically changed: it’s clearer.
Now when I look at a painting, what is important to me is simply what I feel. It’s the emotions that it arouses in me, the way I get carried away or whether it leaves me completely cold. What matters is how I perceive it, and not how I should because some experts analysed it that way. I don’t either say that I’m not interested in getting their viewpoint, but I don’t underestimate mine anymore. I think that appreciating art simply comes from the very intimate relationship we have with the work of art we are looking at.
So I’m going to share what I liked and what touched me in this beautiful exhibition Monet. Beyond Impressionism. No more, no less.
« Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love. »
— Claude Monet
The theme of the exhibition
Just to give the setting. This exhibition focuses on the series of paintings made by Monet, and displays some of the most famous ones: the Waterloo Bridge, the Rouen Cathedral, the Water lilies, and the Haystacks. It gathers Monet’s paintings coming from the most famous museums worldwide— The Metropolitan and MoMA in New York, The National Gallery in London, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and The National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. It’s a rare opportunity to be able to see all these paintings all together here.
What I liked
The light. Fabulous. I wonder if Monet’s paintings light up when plunged into darkness, as they are so luminous. When watching closely, we see bright colours such as green, yellow, red, and pink. Standing further back, we see dawn, dusk, haze, life, and nature that is growing. The paintings look so real that we could almost feel the cold wind sweeping along the coast of Normandy.
The Series. As said earlier, Monet worked on series of paintings. He painted up to 30-40 times the same scene at different times of the day and the year, working tirelessly on colours to recreate the light, the atmosphere, and the transience of the moment. It’s precisely in that that the exhibition is interesting and enables us to understand his work and the talent he used to accomplish it. It’s also with these series that Monet innovated from his fellow impressionists when later he worked on more abstract patterns.
« I want to paint the air around the bridge, the house, the boat. The beauty of the air where they are, and it is nothing other than impossible. »
— Claude Monet
The plus of the exhibition
The movie. A documentary projected in a small dark room next to the conservatory tells about his life, his influences, and his evolution as an artist. It puts the paintings of the exhibition back in the context of their creation and shows the different places where Monet lived and which modelled his painting—and in particular his famous house in Giverny (Normandy, France), which now houses the Fondation Claude Monet.
The children’s corner. Kids can also discover the world of the artist by exploring “Monet’s magical garden”. It’s a specially equipped room where they can climb, jump, and play with all that surrounds them. They can use all their senses, even smell by sniffing the flowers that line the magical pond…
The place. It was our first time in this museum and the place only is worth seeing. The museum is composed of old buildings (1916-1918) designed by architect Gotfred Tvede and of an extension created in 2005 by Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid. Of course, it’s probably better to go there when the weather is nice to enjoy the park spread with pieces of art and the majestic trees surrounding the museum. But I can tell you that from the café, with a hot tea and a piece of cake, we also have a nice view. ;-)
Monet. Beyond impressionism Exhibition
Until December 4th, 2016 at Ordrupgaad Museum (Charlottenlund, Denmark)