Friday, October 12, 2007

Columbus Museum of Art Presents Today In Monet's Garden: The Lure of Giverny

Columbus Museum of Art Presents Today In Monet's Garden: The Lure of Giverny

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Claude Monet, The Artist's Garden at Giverny, 1900, Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

COLUMBUS, OH.- In Monet's Garden: The Lure of Giverny, on view at the Columbus Museum of Art October 12, 2007 - January 20, 2008, explores the rich legacy of Monet's idyllic gardens and their lasting impact on the art world. In Monet's Garden builds upon a core of twelve Monet works as it traces the artist's profound influence on future generations through the works of American Impressionists, Abstract Expressionists and contemporary artists.

Third in a series of exhibitions inspired by CMA's permanent collection, this exhibition stems from two masterworks, Monet's Weeping Willow and contemporary artist Mark Tansey's Water Lilies. In Monet's Garden is organized by the Columbus Museum of Art in partnership with the Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris, which houses the world's largest single holding of works by Monet. Columbus, Ohio, and Paris, France will be the only venues for this stunning exhibition.

"Giverny is one of those amazingly special places that instill powerful creative forces," said Nannette V. Maciejunes, CMA Executive Director. "It has transcended the power of a single creative spirit and drawn people for more than a century."

Monet settled in the town of Giverny in 1883, a move that would have a dramatic impact on the development of his revolutionary painting, and as a result, on the course of twentieth-century art. By 1900, Giverny had become a haven for students and expatriate American artists. Monet's Impressionist palette and incredible technique was deeply felt by an enclave of American artists, including Theodore Robinson, Willard Metcalf, Theodore Butler, John Breck and others who worked near the French master.

Interest in Giverny as a site of artistic inspiration went almost dormant following Monet's death in 1926, and the gardens fell into disarray. During and after World War II, thousands of American soldiers came to France. Some of these soldiers became artists and some, through the G.I. Bill, attended schools in France. Ellsworth Kelly is perhaps the most famous. Kelly, who moved to Paris in 1949, became enamored with Monet's large Nympheas. When he gained access to Monet's studio in 1952, he found the artist's forgotten late paintings. The overall compositions, bold colors and multipanel formats of these late works inspired Kelly's pioneering color experiments. His elegant drawings of waterlilies, produced a decade later, pay further homage to Giverny. Joan Mitchell, a close friend of Kelly, visited Giverny numerous times beginning in the late 1940s before permanently relocating to France in 1955. Although she repeatedly disavowed Monet as an important influence upon her paintings, her vigorous and colorful paintings demonstrate a strong resonance with the abstract style that Monet pioneered in his final Giverny canvases.

With the full-scale restoration of Monet's house and garden in Giverny in the late 1980s and the creation of fellowship programs by the Lila Acheson Wallace Foundation and the Art Production Fund, exposure to Monet's works and the natural environment in which they were created was opened to a broad audience of contemporary artists. As a result, Monet's garden once again is a vital focus of creative activity for artists in the contemporary American art world. As they reinterpret Giverny through diverse Postmodern perspectives, they experience Monet's vanguard spirit, sharing in many surprising ways the same interests of their American predecessors.

Support for In Monet's Garden is provided by presenting sponsor JPMorgan Chase, lead sponsors Limited Brands and the Terra Foundation for American Art, and media sponsor The Dispatch Media Group. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

"At JPMorgan Chase we are constantly seeking opportunities to help our customers, colleagues and neighbors to 'Thrive' through exciting programs and exhibitions that contribute to our great quality of life in Columbus," said Melissa Ingwersen, Central Ohio President for JPMorgan Chase. "In just the past few years our firm has been the lead sponsor of popular exhibitions at the Columbus Museum of Art featuring the works of Grandma Moses, Georgia O'Keeffe, Alice Schille and the great American Impressionists. This Monet exhibition has the promise to be the most popular of them all."

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue published in association with Scala Publishers, Limited of New York, London, and Paris. The catalogue includes an introduction by three CMA curators, Joe Houston, M. Melissa Wolfe, and Dominique H. Vasseur, who have worked together to create this exquisite exhibition. It also features essays by noted scholars Charles Stuckey and James Yood.

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