“The instantaneity of Monet, far from being passive, requires an unusual power of generalization, of abstraction… Monet declares: here is nature, not as you or I habitually see it, but as you are able to see it, not in this or that particular effect but in others like it. The vision I propose to you is superior; my painting will change your reality.
In my typical fashion, I didn’t manage to get to the Monet exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery until just before it closed. However I am really glad I made the effort as it was fabulous (and free).
The most impressive thing about the paintings was how surprising they were – I have seen pictures of water lilies and Monet’s garden at Giverny many times before and thought I was familiar with them. However the exhibition includes private paintings by Monet, which were not meant to be shown, and provide a fresh perspective on his work.
The paintings were organised into distinct groups which make it clear that even this late in his career, when Monet was in his eighties and acclaimed as a great painter, he was still willing to experiment and his style never stood still.
As curator Paul Hayes Tucker explains in a video on the installation of the exhibition, Monet’s brush seems to be “creating a new language for painting, a new language for art.”