Imagine Monet could not start with another painting than with the emblematic work of Monet, Impression, soleil levant (1872) and ends with the series of Water Lilies. Here we are straight away in Monet’s universe: a special atmosphere, where a feeling of serenity reigns.
The exhibition is structured in three main parts which allow visitors to immerse themselves in Monet’s luminous universe and to enter into the laboratory of the creation of his work.
The first part puts Monet and his environment in the spotlight: his family, his wives and children, his garden, the fields he observes and walks through, the flowers, water and its reflections, the landscape and nature in all their variations. His figures are real women, not allegorical models of nymphs or goddesses; they are captured in their daily social or intimate life. Monet paints outdoors – made easy by the industrial colors available in transportable tubes. He patiently watches the variations of atmosphere, water and light, in search for serenity and harmony.
The second part presents the large series undertaken by Monet: Meules, Cathédrales, Gare Saint-Lazare, the cities. These series immediately take us into the artist’s creative laboratory, who intensely attempts to capture the changing light at different times of the day. On the lookout for the changes produced by the passing of time, Monet expresses the urgency with which he wants to “touch” and hold the fleeting moment, to feel and to make feel the particular sensation caused by a light that is unique each time. The urgency of capturing his sensations forces him to quickly brush his motif, to paint in large, rapid, almost aerial strokes. Painting in series like this underlines Monet’s desire to open up to infinity.
The third part ends in apotheosis with Monet’s garden in Giverny and the great cycle of Water Lilies, his large decorations, which culminate in the masterful installation in the L’Orangerie museum. This grandiose work on which Monet worked in his later years is an artistic manifesto and a sign of the artist’s social commitment, but in his own way. After the First World War, when war memorials multiplied, the artist offered France a monument to peace, dedicated to the living. Monet abolishes the line of demarcation and takes the painting out of the frame. The viewer enters into the heart of the painting. The sparkle of the sun and the iridescence of light on the water, the flowers and the trees, the indistinction between the top and the bottom, the earth and the sky, creates an enveloping space where one is called to slip.
Monet’s work opens up to space and goes beyond the limited framework of the canvas.
Monet creates endlessly flourishing environments of light and color, which could be considered the first immersive works in the history of modern art. The Water Lilies provide striking proof of this total immersion.
Monet had a very precise intention for his project: “[…] transported along the walls, enveloping all the corners of his unit, it would have given the illusion of an endless whole, of a wave without horizon and without shore ; the nerves irritated by work would have relaxed there, according to the restful example of these stagnant waters, and, to whoever had inhabited it, this room would have offered the asylum of a peaceful meditation in the center of a flowered aquarium ”. Imagine Monet the Immersive Exhibition in Image Totale © makes Monet’s dream come true in a grand and magical way.
In the educational space, imagined by Annabelle Mauger and Androula Michael, projections (in English and in French) will introduce you to Monet’s world. The first screen will allow you to (re)discover who Monet is, his artistic technique, his fascination with water lilies and his approach towards abstraction.
The second screen will present the scenario of the immersive exhibition through the major periods that have marked Monet’s work: Monet and his environment, the series and Giverny.
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