Monday, April 4, 2011

Monet's Water Lilies

The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford  is currently exhibiting a collection of paintings by Claude Monet of Water Lilies. The exhibition started on February 17 and runs until June 12, 2011. Monet began painting water lilies in the late 1800s when he purchased a piece of land adjacent to his current home and built a water garden and Japonese bridge using the existing pond.  He continued to paint the pond with the bridge and the water lilies until the time of his death in 1926. His style changed during this period, partly because of a cataract operation that helped to clear his vision. As a result, the colors that he used in his paintings became stronger and richer.  Most interesting to me were the strong, definitive brush strokes and vibrant colors of his later works that you can’t see when looking at a photo in a book or magazine. 

I attended a lecture held at the museum last week and found it quite lacking in information and rather strange. Charles Stuckey, a Monet scholar and curator for several art institutions, gave the lecture. His approach was to compare Monet’s work with other modern artists during his time, which I thought was a bit farfetched. Instead, it would have been more interesting to hear about Monet’s methods and professional progression as an artist through the years.  The exhibit is definitely worth seeing, though I must admit that I wish that there were more paintings. I read that Monet painted over 300 water lily paintings, which is astounding.