Culture Calendar: The First Monet Exhibition in Paris in 30 Years

If you have ever bought a box of chocolates, then you will be familiar with the work of Impressionist, Claude Monet (1840-1926)

Poppy Field, Claude Monet
Poppy Field – The Most Famous Monet of all?

Such popularist popularity, tends to belittle an artists work in the eyes of art afficiandos. Indeed, when Monet and his fellow Impressionists first put on a major exhibition in 1874, they were ridiculed by the establishment Art Elite. And yet, today, Impressionism is, beyond doubt, the single most popular art movement in history.

Which is why the first major exhibition of Monet’s works in over 30 years (Grand Palais, Paris September 22nd 2010 – January 24th 2011), is forecast to break all attendance records, as art lovers in general, and Monet “The Prince of Impressionists” groupies in particular, flock to Paris from all over the world.

Grand Palais Paris
Grand Palais Paris – Worth a Visit in its Own Right!

Some 160 examples of Monet’s art, spanning pretty much the whole of his career, have been gathered together from the four corners of the world and will be displayed in the magnificent setting of the Grand Palais, Paris.

Whether you are a fan or not, if you have a love of art, this exhibition would seem to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to feast your eyes on the real thing… the originals of some of the most famous, the most reproduced, canvasses in the history of art.

We’ll leave it to President Nicolas Sarkozy to sum it up:

“an unmistakable emblem of the international influence of French culture”

Further Exhibition Information:Official Monet 2010 Website

You can book online:Monet 2010 Ticket Office:

Visit Monet’s Famous Garden:Giverny, Official Site

Story: Chris McCready


Monet Exhibition A Grand event at the Grand Palais, Paris

Irina Ohl, an American artist living in Corrèze, Limousin writes of her visit to the Monet exhibition.

Monet Exhibition: Grand Palais, Paris September 22nd 2010 – January 24th 2011

If you are fortunate enough to be in Paris between October 2010 and January 2011, you really ought to plan a visit to the spectacular Monet exhibition at the Grande Palais.

This is the largest exhibition – 176 paintings on display – of Monet’s works ever assembled, and is certainly an overdue tribute to France’s greatest impressionist. I had the pleasure of visiting the exhibition in early October (tickets I should say had to be ordered two weeks in advance here is the website).

Once in a Lifetime
The exhibition is billed as a “once in a lifetime experience” and the immense crowds thronged outside confirm that. My overall impression was very positive. The layout has been carefully thought through and moves in loose chronological order. The exhibition leads you in with two identical Fountainbleu Forest landscapes – the deep forest known as Le Pavé de Chailly (painted twice in two different seasons using only a palette of green and brown), this scene became an essential staging point for most young landscape artists of that time.

Monet with his fellow student and friend Frédéric Bazille painted this scene together. As he often did, Monet painted the scene at least twice at different times and seasons. Monet of course spent his youth in Normandy and it was here in 1845 he met Boudin and Johan Barthold Jongkind. The three men spent much time painting the Normandy coast and nearby countryside. The Grande Palais exhibition offers ten paintings of this period. One can palpably see Boudin’s influence, particularly in one painting called The Lighthouse by the Hospice (La Phare de Hospice).

Interestingly I find when I am painting with artist friends I find that in the group one tends to try each other’s techniques and this is clearly what the three in Monet’s group were doing.

My Favourite Monet
One of my favourite paintings is La Pie or The Magpie. To me this painting must have been particularly difficult to render. It is a winter scene in sunlight so Monet had to convey a feeling of light which is at once slightly golden while also depicting the white snow. The dark twig fence gives a vivid and wonderful contrast. The shadows are a rich gray-blue-green, the sky creamy and a large barn in the background is a slightly darker tone of gold– just fabulous.

Monet painted the Seine many times. He painted many scenes more than once and a different times of the year and even at night. The variety in his work is overwhelming to a viewer, be it in the sense he conveys of his state of mind, or his moods, or when he cared to be more elusive, or in his interest in busy places like railway stations at different times of the day and year, his family scenes, his elegant promenading women and then his most unusual depictions of Rouen Cathedral in many ways and moods.

He had immense imagination. Imagine painting water lilies in so many different ways and moods as he did and always offering a new delight to the viewer.

By his death Monet had completed some 2000 canvases. He was not happy with all of them though, but there were few scenes, people, still lifes or florals that failed to inspire him. Finally of course it was his beloved garden in Giverny that kept him painting until his death – his brush indeed hardly ever stopped even if by the end it was just scribbles.

Certainly it is timely that France is addressing its prolific and renowned artist and son and paying him the homage that is due.

Reviewer: Irina Ohl
special to French News Online

Irina Ohl - click here


Irina Ohl

American artist, Irina Ohl Irina lives in Corrèze, Limousin, France where she runs water colour workshops and tours.

French News Online’s Ken Pottinger went along to her studio for a look…

Curemonte - Lot, SW France

Curemonte – Lot, SW Franc

Irina Ohl – An American Artist in the Corrèze, Limousin

Irina Ohl, born in New York City and the fourth generation of artists in her family, has been painting watercolors for more than 35 years. Inspired by John Singer Sargeant, W Russell Flint — perhaps the greatest British water colourist of the 1800s and Robert Wade — she says France offers a painter “very special light”, which for all painting is “just what you need”.

Reflecting on her recent visit to the Monet exhibition in Paris she said: “the more you paint outdoors the more you become aware of how important time is, the passing of time changes the light rapidly as you paint” she says explaining this is one of the fundamentals she attempts to convey to her students and those who come to her courses. The main thing is to get the scene down in an hour and a half with a view to finishing it in the studio. (see contact below)

This, she says again referring to her Monet visit, (see review here) is shown by him repainting the same scenes at several different times of the year, conveying just that point.

Her own style which she describes as “representational but loose, colourful and lively” has been influenced by John Singer Sergeant, an American water colourist who travelled extensively in France and elsewhere in Europe.

Turning to her own art courses offered in a converted barn in her magnificent rural Correze home perched over a valley providing views for as far as the eye can see, she says teaching in France is quite different from her experience elsewhere.

“People here shy away from water colour, it is considered to be the most challenging medium, so students seem to prefer acrylics, perhaps because they are easier. Additionally I find French students have a different idea of water colour from those trained in the US. Their subjects tend to be more ethereal, based on often unusual subjects, not necessarily representational , and sometimes lacking focus! Perhaps they need to get out with easel and paintboxes, into their own colour-filled countryside more” she says.

As the biographical notes on her website — where a wide portfolio of her work can be found and purchased — say:

Plein Air
“While living in New England in the 90’s, Irina was instrumental in forming the Vermont Watercolour Society and was the President for three years. Today less than ten years later, the Society has flourished. In 2001, Irina moved from Vermont to retire in France. All her work is now exhibited in her own gallery on her property. The property is located in the Correze near Beaulieu Sur Dordogne- four and half hours south of Paris by train.
This area, often called the Riviera of the Limousin because of its mild climate, is teeming with ancient unspoiled villages which make it imminently paintable!

“My real love is to paint out of doors or en plein air where one must work quickly to catch the moment of light and shadow and absorb the many subtle shapes. This forces you to stretch yourself as an artist and show your true expression.”

The watercolor illustration above, is of a village called Curemonte near Irina’s home – in fact you can see it from her mountaintop location. It has been used by British film makers for stories about early France, but otherwise has changed little since it was built in the 12th century. The painting was painted en plein air from a high point just above the village. This location is one of the ones Irina visits when she conducts her workshops.

Earlier Irina had conducted painting tours throughout Europe in the 90’s and discovered the beautiful Quercy for her and husband Bob’s retirement . The painting here has incredible light and there is never ending inspiration.

Story: Ken Pottinger

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