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Monet: Impression Sunrise

National Gallery of Australia
12 June 2019

What makes this Monet exhibition different from any other Monet exhibition? This was the question at the forefront of my mind as I approached the National Gallery of Art’s exhibition Monet: Impressionism Sunrise. As one would expect, it is an exhibition about painting – colour, brushstroke, the rendering of light and dark by artists who ...

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Claude Monet as an emotive artist? Hitherto, I have viewed Monet’s painting – or at least Monet the Impressionist – as sensual but detached. Having seen Monet’s Garden at the National Gallery of Victoria, I am now of the view that the artist’s later painting (the exhibition focuses on the work made at Giverny from 1893 until the artist’s death in 1926) has a subliminal and even expressionist dimension. How else to characterise the elegiac quality of the wonderful water lily series and the late abstract-like garden paintings made with such abandon? Moreover, having learned more about Monet himself at this time, I appreciate that he was far more challenged by life experiences than I had presumed, in spite of the tremendous critical and commercial success he enjoyed in the last decades of his career.

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